NBA Draft: Working the Numbers

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

With draft season upon us, my spreadsheets are working overtime. All of the great work vjl110 has been doing on the draft apparently couldn't take away all of the nostalgia for the MDSD. So I thought I'd provide my (tweaked) version of it and a summary of other statistics for the college players in Draft Express' top 100.

The MDSD (Madison Dan Standard Deviation) score is an ad hoc means of determining which players are "doing stuff." This year, I've changed the categories up a bit. In the past, I've given no credit to scoring volume (just efficiency, via TS%). Now I'm including it as points scored per 40 minutes times TS%. I've consolidated steals and blocks into one category that is the sum of the two. I've consolidated assists and turnovers by including the difference between them as a category. Rebounds continue to be included as its own category. (All of these are pace-adjusted per 40 minutes.)

For each category and player, I calculate: (player's stat - average for position) / standard deviation for position.

Position assignments are taken from DX. Some players (e.g., McCollum) are cross-listed. The MDSD score is simply the sum across the categories. A score of zero indicates that a player is average for his position, relative to the players included in DX's database.

This is frankly pretty dumb because it assumes that all categories carry equal weight. Still, I find it to be a useful way of finding "active" players and seeing who is good at what. (I look at each category's score, though I haven't included them here for compactness.) Note that you can't compare these to MDSD scores from past years (different data, methods, and samples), nor is it a good idea to compare across positions.

ASPM is a step up from the MDSD because it is based on "weights" derived from regressions of NBA RAPM scores on box score stats. So ASPM could be considered a predictor of NBA success if the player puts up the same stats in the NBA that he put up in college.

That's still not great, though, because they probably won't do that. That's where vjl110's work is really cool: he looks at how college stats and player characteristics relate to NBA success based on the historical relationships between the two. He also accounts for strength of schedule and age, which are missing from both MDSD and ASPM. Neat!

I've also thrown in WS/48 and PER, which are familiar (if flawed) measures of performance. To the tables!

Point Guards:

 Name Team MDSD ASPM WS/48 PER C.J. McCollum Lehigh 5.06 9.84 0.374 34.3 Nate Wolters South Dakota St 5.04 9.10 0.307 33.3 Michael Carter-Williams Syracuse 4.91 9.18 0.248 22.9 Trey Burke Michigan 4.11 12.45 0.288 30.7 Ray McCallum Detroit 3.28 6.80 0.251 26.6 Lorenzo Brown N.C. State 3.15 6.02 0.143 20.9 Pierre Jackson Baylor 2.75 7.54 0.234 23.3 Erick Green Virginia Tech 1.89 9.39 0.259 32.3 Shane Larkin Miami FL 1.65 8.52 0.240 21.0 Myck Kabongo Texas 1.60 1.31 0.086 11.5 Peyton Siva Louisville 1.05 7.33 0.220 17.9 Anthony Marshall UNLV 0.95 4.54 0.186 16.3 Phil Pressey Missouri 0.83 4.62 0.126 16.3 Matthew Dellavedova Saint Mary's 0.60 6.42 0.209 23.1 Isaiah Canaan Murray State 0.49 4.24 0.221 24.0 B.J. Young Arkansas 0.24 4.88 0.182 23.6 Elijah Johnson Kansas -1.85 2.03 0.100 10.5

McCollum, Wolters, and MCW all look better than Burke according to the MDSD score, but Burke comes out on top by ASPM. No real shockers here compared to vjl110's work: the same guys all look good.

Shooting Guards:

 Name Team MDSD ASPM WS/48 PER Victor Oladipo Indiana 6.10 14.55 0.430 31.3 Jamaal Franklin San Diego State 5.06 7.44 0.297 24.0 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Georgia 4.82 9.81 0.256 27.2 C.J. McCollum Lehigh 4.58 9.84 0.374 34.3 Carrick Felix Arizona State 3.07 5.33 0.223 21.7 Erick Green Virginia Tech 2.27 9.39 0.259 32.3 Allen Crabbe California 1.68 6.85 0.255 24.6 Khalif Wyatt Temple 1.47 6.19 0.240 24.5 Anthony Marshall UNLV 1.45 4.54 0.186 16.3 Brandon Paul Illinois 1.39 5.86 0.221 22.0 Matthew Dellavedova Saint Mary's 1.35 6.42 0.209 23.1 Ben McLemore Kansas 1.31 9.12 0.335 25.9 Isaiah Canaan Murray State 0.99 4.24 0.221 24.0 B.J. Young Arkansas 0.36 4.88 0.182 23.6 Michael Snaer Florida State -0.34 3.37 0.152 18.3 Archie Goodwin Kentucky -0.42 2.44 0.133 16.1 Tim Hardaway Jr. Michigan -0.59 5.72 0.219 19.6 Seth Curry Duke -0.99 6.85 0.226 21.4 Vander Blue Marquette -2.10 4.37 0.165 17.8

Jamaal Franklin's rebounding pushes him up the SG list. Oladipo, KCP, and McCollum all look good. McLemore and Hardaway, not so much. Though notice how ASPM sees a lot more good in McLemore than MDSD does. Is Erick Green someone we should pay more attention to?

Small Forwards:

 Name Team MDSD ASPM WS/48 PER Otto Porter Georgetown 4.82 10.50 0.334 27.3 Victor Oladipo Indiana 4.52 14.55 0.430 31.3 Elias Harris Gonzaga 3.75 7.79 0.292 27.6 James Ennis Long Beach State 2.27 6.44 0.263 26.9 Reggie Bullock North Carolina 2.18 7.70 0.270 23.9 James Southerland Syracuse 1.90 8.58 0.332 25.5 Rodney Williams Minnesota 1.27 6.20 0.221 21.3 Solomon Hill Arizona 0.71 6.68 0.232 20.7 C.J. Leslie N.C. State 0.29 3.57 0.203 21.0 Deshaun Thomas Ohio State 0.22 7.06 0.242 25.7 Will Clyburn Iowa State -0.02 4.23 0.215 21.1 Travis Releford Kansas -0.36 8.70 0.274 20.6 Tony Snell New Mexico -0.91 3.57 0.173 15.1 Adonis Thomas Memphis -0.99 0.61 0.109 15.4 Shabazz Muhammad UCLA -1.08 3.75 0.187 23.6

As expected, Porter and Oladipo top the SF list. Check out Oladipo's crazy high ASPM. WANT!

MDSD hates Muhammad, as does its creator.

Power Forwards:

 Name Team MDSD ASPM WS/48 PER D.J. Stephens Memphis 4.01 9.52 0.329 24.9 Arsalan Kazemi Oregon 2.97 10.69 0.300 24.5 Richard Howell N.C. State 2.84 7.29 0.212 25.8 Trevor Mbakwe Minnesota 2.76 7.56 0.308 26.1 Elias Harris Gonzaga 2.58 7.79 0.292 27.6 Andre Roberson Colorado 2.23 8.20 0.225 21.6 Jackie Carmichael Illinois State 1.90 6.83 0.303 28.5 Anthony Bennett UNLV 1.89 7.99 0.371 30.1 Ryan Kelly Duke 1.69 9.17 0.306 25.4 Jamelle Hagins Delaware 1.53 3.08 0.227 22.7 Erik Murphy Florida 1.49 10.64 0.416 25.9 Robert Covington Tennessee State 1.48 5.40 0.227 28.1 Laurence Bowers Missouri 1.11 6.60 0.289 25.7 Tony Mitchell (North Texas) North Texas 0.04 1.34 0.192 21.0 Kenny Kadji Miami FL -0.29 5.00 0.263 20.7 Grant Jerrett Arizona -0.56 4.92 0.168 15.2 Deshaun Thomas Ohio State -0.74 7.06 0.242 25.7 Will Clyburn Iowa State -1.18 4.23 0.215 21.1 Christian Watford Indiana -1.21 7.71 0.277 22.2 C.J. Leslie N.C. State -1.38 3.57 0.203 21.0 Amath M'Baye Oklahoma -2.52 3.42 0.217 18.3

These are some strange results. DJ Stephens is the star of the group? Bennett is mediocre? Hmmm.

Centers:

 Name Team MDSD ASPM WS/48 PER Mike Muscala Bucknell 7.66 10.88 0.436 37.1 Nerlens Noel Kentucky 5.73 10.97 0.320 26.6 Kelly Olynyk Gonzaga 4.66 11.74 0.517 37.5 Zeke Marshall Akron 4.47 9.17 0.439 30.4 Gorgui Dieng Louisville 4.04 9.32 0.407 22.9 Jeff Withey Kansas 3.79 10.20 0.361 27.5 Jack Cooley Notre Dame 3.78 7.79 0.308 30.6 Brandon Davies BYU 3.22 6.85 0.336 28.1 Trevor Mbakwe Minnesota 3.11 7.56 0.308 26.1 Steven Adams Pittsburgh 2.79 9.00 0.388 23.3 Cody Zeller Indiana 2.78 11.87 0.410 32.1 Colton Iverson Colorado State 2.51 7.31 0.362 26.7 Alex Len Maryland 2.46 6.07 0.291 25.1 Mason Plumlee Duke 2.40 8.58 0.341 26.7 DeWayne Dedmon USC 2.36 6.22 0.198 19.5

Muscala is an MDSD superstar. Noel looks very good. In perhaps the biggest departure from vjl110's work, Zeller does not look that great. (If you were wondering why I've run hot and cold on him, there you go.) Interestingly, ASPM really likes Zeller.

So there you have it, folks. I doubt I'll look into the performance versus top 100 teams as I did last year. The samples tend to be too small, and it takes some work to put it all together. I might weigh in with some case-by-case analyses, but this one seems pretty clear to me: McCollum, KCP, or Zeller at 9 (in that order?); and Muscala, Wolters, or Bullock at 26 (depends on the pick at 9).

It's a fine year to grab front court depth in the second round, with Kazemi, Mbakwe, and Roberson all looking good. DJ Stephens could be a very entertaining flyer pick. He's been compared to Hoopus favorite Jeremy Evans. Don't screw it up, Flip!

(Revision: I initially forgot to credit DSMok1 for his fine work producing the ASPM stats. I also took the PER and Win Shares values from his spreadsheet. All of this can be found here.)

Trending Discussions

forgot?

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

We'll email you a reset link.

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Canis Hoopus

You must be a member of Canis Hoopus to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Canis Hoopus. You should read them.

Join Canis Hoopus

You must be a member of Canis Hoopus to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Canis Hoopus. You should read them.