"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Challenge: Find ANY mock draft that was more accurate than CS based on NBA efficiency so far; Crowder ranks as 6th biggest steal of draft as Mavs are big winners

I'll start this piece by challenging anyone to show me a mock draft - public or private - that was more accurate than Cracked Sidewalks in projecting where players SHOULD have been picked in the 2012 NBA Draft based on the NBA Efficiency Rating through Summer League.

After updating the Summer League efficiency ratings, we sorted just the 52 draft choices from this year by efficiency and ranked them 1 to 52 based on their efficiency (8 draftees are not playing Summer League).  We then compared that to their draft order (Since top-pick Anthony Davis is playing in the Olympics instead, we made 2nd pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #1, and continued all the way down to 60th pick Robert Sacre being the #52 pick of draftees playing).

The draft winners are the Dallas Mavericks.  Jae Crowder was the 31st pick of these 52, and after his 20-point performance last night has the 12th best efficiency rating.  That means he was picked 19 spots too low - so he is the 6th best steal of the draft so far.  What's amazing is Crowder isn't even the Mavs biggest steal, as his teammate Bernard James was picked 30th of these 52, but has surpassed that by 25 spots to be the 5th best draftee so far and the 3rd biggest steal of the draft.  If the Mavs did this well with their two second rounders, they have to have high hopes for their first round pick Jared Cunningham, who was injured and one of the 8 not to play.

We did not rate foreign players, but the biggest steal of the draft was Tornike Shengelia, who has performed 27 spots better than his 48th selection.  Sacre has been the 26th best player - one of only three surprises to us and the second biggest steal.

Draft night CS correctly picked 10 of 14 draft steals

Another winner is our statistical model for projecting which college players will produce in the NBA (see our draft night 1st round and 2nd round rankings).  When you look at the table below and the rankings we gave each pick, we gave a C+ or better to 10 of 14 players who have turned out to be steals, and in fact gave 6 As and 3 Bs and 1 C+to players who through Summer League have shown they were drafted way too low.

The only surprises to us of the "draft steals" to date are Scare, Tyshawn Taylor and Kris Joseph who received Ds, and we had Bernard James in the middle as a "C" even though were were complementary of the pick.

Cracked Sidewalks correctly picked all but one of 13 duds

Based on the Summer League results, it appears our system will continue to red flag almost all the duds that GMs continue to draft too high despite proven warning signs.  Of the worst 15 busts through Summer League - players who are performing at least 8 spots WORSE than where they were drafted - the only player we thought was a good pick was Jeffery Taylor, and just barely with a C+.

As for the player data base, all season the biggest criticism www.valueaddbasketball.com received was from people who couldn't believe Kendall Marshall was not one of the best few players in the country.  We said he was picked way too high at 12th of these 52 (13th overall), and this summer he has been the 3rd worst performer (50th of 52nd).  We kept advising that Illinois center Meyers Leonard be taken ahead of Andre Drummond, and this summer Leonard has been the 7th best performer (doesn't quite make the list of steals because that's just a few spots higher than he was picked), while Drummond has only been the 24th best performer.

Certainly this isn't to write off either of these players, who we rank as potential NBA starters - but we believe teams gave up many future wins by picking them too high, and it is amazing to see just how close this summer's performances coincide with our projections.

The guys who are struggling are almost all the guys we gave C- or worse grades too - as Marshall, Dion Waiters, Austin Rivers, Terrence Ross, Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes and Justin Hamilton were all taken at least 10 spots too high based on their NBA Efficiency Ratings this summer.

I know there are still stat doubters out there, but those who ignore the clear NBA Indicators hidden among the stats as a major part of player evaluations are going to make mistakes in evaluating prospects.  While for most that means simply losing some bar arguments, or those making the actual selections that means throwing wins and revenue out the window when the evidence was there to make a better sports and business decision.  Here is the table of the best and worst picks so far, with the grade we gave each back on Draft Night:

Summer BustsCSEffDraftBustSummer StealsCSEffDraftSteal
1Kendall Marshall (PHX)c-501238Tornike Shengelia (BKN)na2148-27
2Maurice Harkless (PHI)c461432Robert Sacre (LAL)d2652-26
3Dion Waiters (CLE)c-34331Bernard James (DAL)c530-25
4Marquis Teague (CHI)c492623Kyle O' Quinn (ORL)a2345-22
5Austin Rivers (NOH)c-32923Tyshawn Taylor (BKN)d1738-21
6Tomas Satoransky (WAS)na472918Jae Crowder (DAL)a1231-19
7Fab Melo (BOS)c382117Kris Joseph (BOS)d2947-18
8Andre Drummond (DET)c24816Doron Lamb (MIL)c+2539-14
9Terrence Ross (TOR)c-22715Kim English (DET)b2841-13
10Khris Middleton (DET)d483612Terrence Jones (HOU)a417-13
11Harrison Barnes (GSW)d18612Miles Plumlee (IND)b1324-11
12Justin Hamilton (MIA)f524210Jared Sullinger (BOS)a1020-10
13Jeffery Taylor (CHA)c+37289John Henson (MIL)a313-10
14Festus Ezeli (GSW)c35278Mike Scott (ATL)b3040-10
15Evan Fournier (DEN)na27198Tyler Zeller (CLE)a616-10

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