I realize this will be viewed as a "homer" post, particularly as I head to Milwaukee Thursday for an 11:30 presentation (yes, those of you in Milwaukee please RSVP here and come!).
However, I ran the estimated wins created by all NBA players as calculated by ESPN's Estimated Wins Added formula and Value Add Basketball Rankings of incoming players (see details in post here). Then I broke down all 728 players who are on NBA rosters, D-League Rosters or Free Agents by their college. In a stroke of luck, the 36 colleges here are the only teams with at least five players each.
Those 36 teams breakdown nicely into six divisions similar to the NBA's actual divisional footprint. (Keep in mind, Davidson doesn't have five NBA players, to Seth Curry would not be on a team, and James went straight from high school to the NBA, so Russell Westbrook of UCLA and Kevin Durant of Texas would be the top two players from these 36 schools). Eastern Conference (NBA Alums).
While I will post a Breitbart Sports story later on all six divisions here, and you can look at standings and players in each division here, let me just focus on the six Midwestern Schools who could field a starting five:
|East - Central||W-L||GB|
Based on ESPN's Estimated Wins Added, Jimmy Butler (worth 13.3 extra wins) and Dwyane Wade (11.1) both edge out Michigan State's Draymond Green (10.9) as top players in this hypothetical Division of schools whose NBA alums would make up the "Eastern Conference, Central Division."
Even though Wesley Matthews was not at the same level post-injury, Value Add doesn't rank Henry Ellenson as a huge producer yet, and we don't know if the Bucks will bring Steve Novak back, the addition of Jae Crowder (6.1) gives MU a trio that ranks overall slightly ahead of Michigan State's balanced alumns (Denzel Valentine, Zach Randolph). Ohio State's Mike Conley and Indiana's Victor Olidipo rank in a distant tie for fourth behind the big three.
While they do not calculate as adding wins, Marquette is one of the few teams that could fill an entire roster with Vander Blue, Dwight Buycks, Matt Carlino and Lazar Hayward available in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th spots.
If the entire projection played out in a hypothetical season, MU would go into the tourament as the No. 3 seed in the East to draw No. 6 Florida, then No. 2 UConn and No. 1 Duke. At that point a prohibitive overall No. 1 Kentucky from the West would be the prohibitive favorite - actually projects and an unrealistic 80-2 on the season - but we all know what happens when a Dwyane Wade MU team plays a Kentucky team ranked No. 1.