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Final Draft Board, 2012

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OK folks. It's that time again. One of these years we'll be a lot less giddy about this bit.

Much, much, much more below the fold.

First, if you are not familiar with the Hoopus Score or past Hoopus Draft boards, cast your gaze over towards the left side of the page and find the links bar. There you go. Click away to your heart's delight.

I've been doing the draft board since the old site and it's moved from an unformulated paragraph of "don't take the wrong Gator" to a mish-mash of too many damn numbers that didn't really make a whole lot of sense, to what I hope will be a simplified and easy-to-understand score that will help narrow the universe of which players are deserving of a look-see at pick #18.

The Hoopus Score used to be divided into two parts: efficiency and production. This year I've scrapped that approach in favor of a single score based on pace adjusted per 40 minute data taken from Draft Express.

The unweighted formula is pretty simple: PTS+FTM+REB+AST+STL+BLK-TO-PF

Not too much to get excited about, I know.

I then take each (pace adjusted per 40) number and weigh them against how I think each individual stat will correlate to NBA success. These correlations are taken from stat message boards, site comments, posts, etc and then averaged out by both net score and relative ranking. With a bit more time and access to, say, an actual pro sports data base, I think I could really tighten up these correlations, but in the mean time, here's the basic order of what correlates to success in the NBA: Assists, blocks, rebounds, elite shooting (high 3p% with .50+ 2p), free throw shooting, turnovers, personal fouls, shooting percentage, points.

Next, I sort all of the scores into what I consider to be the three positions of the modern pro game: bigs, wing players, and lead guards.

Before we go any further, let's see if this new approach passed the smell test. Here are the top 5 players in each category (with their rounded Hoopus Score) for the past few seasons taken from DX's final mock for each year + NBA players who have made the league:

2011 Bigs Wings Lead Guards
1 Kenneth Faried (36) Orlando Johnson (31) Norris Cole (31)
2 Derrick Williams (32) Kawhi Leonard (30) Jimmer! (31)
3 Jared Sullinger (31) Alec Burks (29) Kyrie Irving (30)
4 Jon Leuer (30) Terrence Jones (29) Kemba Walker (30)
5 Mike Scott (29) Marshon Brooks (29) CJ McCollum (29)

2010 Bigs Wings Lead Guards
1 DMC (36) Evan Turner (35) Jimmer! (31)
2 Kenneth Faried (36) Landry Fields (31) Grevis Vasquez (28)
3 Hassan Whiteside (33) Al Faroq Aminu (28) Jeremy Lin (27)
4 Larry Sanders (31) Paul George (28) John Wall (26)
5 Luke Harangody (32) Luke Babbitt (28) Damian Lillard (25)

2009 Bigs Wings Lead Guards
1 Blake Griffin (41) James Harden (31) Stephen Curry (37)
2 John Bryant (40) Manny Harris (30) Ben Whiteside (32)
3 DeJuan Blair (38) Tyreke Evans (30) Eric Maynor (31)
4 Luke Harangody (35) Marcus Thornton (29) Nick Calathes (30)
5 Kenneth Faried (35) Evan Turner (29) Jeremy Lin (29)

2008 Bigs Wings Lead Guards
1 Michael Beasley (40) James Harden (29) Steph Curry (32)
2 Kevin Love (37) Courtney Lee (28) George Hill (31)
3 John Bryant (37) Sam Young (26) Nick Calathes (27)
4 Luke Harangody (34) CDR (26) Eric Maynor (26)
5 Jason Thompson (34) Lee Cummard (26) Derrick Rose (26)

I think that passes the smell test.

A few things before we get to the scores:

  1. No one in their right mind would say, for instance, that Norris Cole should be drafted ahead of Kyrie Irving. Please keep in mind that this statistic is only meant to narrow down the universe of acceptable players and things like age, athleticism, character, BBIQ, communication, etc need to be taken into account.
  2. Kenneth Faried was pretty good in college.
  3. Correctly identifying positional fit really, really matters. Where will the tweeners play in the NBA? Are they 1/2s? 2/3s? 3/4s? 4/5s? 2/3s are all put on the wing. 4/5s are all bigs. It's the 1/2s and 3/4s that are the problem.

OK, how does this year's class stack up?

2012 Bigs Wings Lead Guards
1 Anthony Davis (33.7) Jae Crowder (28.2) Damian Lillard (31.7)
2 Thomas Robinson (32.2) Orlando Johnson (27.7) Scott Machado (25.3)
3 Mike Scott (31.6) Will Barton (27.1) J'Covan Brown (23.5)
4 Draymond Green (31.6) Terrence Jones (24.9) Tu Holloway (23)
5 Andrew Nicholson (31.5) Tony Wroten (24.5) Tyshawn Taylor (22.4)
6 Jared Sullinger (30.3) Marcus Denmon (24.3) Kendall Marshall (20)
7 Royce White (30) Dion Waiters (24.2) Marquis Teague (16)
8 Kyle O'Quinn (30) Kevin Murphy (24)
9 Tyler Zeller (30) Jeff Taylor (24)
10 Drew Gordon (29.2) Bradley Beal (23.8)
11 John Henson (28.4) Moe Harkless (23.6)
12 Kevin Jones (28.3) John Jenkins (23.1)
13 JayMychal Green (27) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (23)
14 Henry Simms (26.3) Harrison Barnes (22.8)
15 Arnett Moultrie (26.2) Jared Cunningham (22.1)
16 Bernard Jones (24.7) Jeremy Lamb (21.9)
17 Meyers Leonard (24.7) Quincy Miller (21.8)
18 Andre Drummond (23.4) Darius Johnson Odom (21.5)
19 Festus Ezel (23.1) Kris Joseph (20.5)
20 Perry Jones III (22.7) Kim English (19.3)

First of all, this year's lead guard crop is simply terrible. Lillard can really play, but beyond that it's atrocious.

Second, this isn't a very good draft near the top outside of Mr. Davis. Names like Perry Jones III, Harrison Barnes, and Austin Rivers have been percolating in the ears of draftniks for what seems like a couple of years, but now that the payoff is finally here...not so much.

As for Our Beloved Puppies, there are two main ideas to keep in mind: No matter what happens in the lotto, there is going to be a servicable backup big available to the Wolves when the 18th pick rolls around. They should also have a crack at a number of the top 5-6 wing players on this list.

In other words, they shouldn't move the pick if they don't have to. When we're talking about how the team could be upgraded by simply replacing Wes Johnson's awful minutes with less awful or even average minutes, or by handing 20 mpg at the backup 4/5 to a competent player, this is a pretty valuable pick in this particular draft. Remember, winning at a high level in the NBA is all about handing as many minutes in roster spots 1-7 to as many awesome or competent players as possible. The Wolves currently field a roster with spots 1-3 locked up, and...

Who should the Wolves be looking at?

Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Tyler Zeller 16.6 25.2 25.1 29.8
John Henson 24.6 29.2 28.4
Kyle O'Quinn 17.07 22.2 28.5 30
Jae Crowder 24.3 28.2
Will Barton 19.7 27.1
Mike Scott 20.7 24.3 29.9 31.6
Orlando Johnson 20.5 25.8 30.3 27.7

Here is their average production over that time:

Player Score
John Henson 27.4
Mike Scott 26.6
Jae Crowder 26.2
Orlando Johnson 26.1
Kyle Quinn 24.4
Tyler Zeller 24.2
Will Barton 23.4

Here are the physical profiles:

Player Height w/shoes wingspan reach hand width hand length bench age
Tyler Zeller 7'0.5" 7'0 8'8.5" 9'75" 9 16 22
John Henson 6'10.5" 7'5" 9'4" 10" 9.25" 5 21
Kyle O'Quinn NA 7'5" NA NA NA NA 22
Jae Crowder 6'6.5" 6'9.25" 8'3.5" 10.5" 9.5" 20 21
Will Barton 6'6" 6'9.75" 8'6.5" 9.5" 9" NA 21
Mike Scott 6.8.75" 6'10.75" 8'8" 9" 8.5" 14 23
Orlando Johnson 6'5.25" 6'11.25" 8.3" 9.5" 9" 13 23

Mike Scott is probably the only guy who gets knocked out due to size, and that's simply a Wolves-roster 'thang. Yeah, he has the standing reach of Tyler Zeller but the Wolves need someone who can be a tweener at the 4/5, not the 3/4 (or even a straight-up 4).

John Henson has a nearly equal (-0.5") wingspan as Anthony Davis with a 4" higher standing reach and 1.5" larger hands.

Nobody should be worried about Jae Crowder's size and/or agility at the 2/3 and Orlando Johnson has freakishly long arms.

Moving along and stepping back...

One of the things I frequently talk about on the site is the importance players doing s**t. The good 'ol stat sheet leaves a lot to the imagination and one of the things that often gets left out is BBIQ, communication, and hustle. This is where you need old fashioned scouting. However, if you were going to find these sorts of things within the box score, where would they be?

My guess is that these sorts of things end up in off-the-ball action. Rebounding, steals, and blocks suggest a player who knows angles, communicates with teammates, and hustles. If you can find these sorts of players + a high TS%, more power to you. However, those sorts of guys are few and far in between.

Anywho, here are the top weighted RSB40paceadj players:

Bigs Wings Lead Guards
Anthony Davis (17.1) Terrence Jones (11.3) Damien Lillard (5.9)
Kyle O'Quinn (14.1) Jae Crowder (10.7) Scott Machado (5.4)
John Henson (14) Moe Harkless (10.2) Tu Holloway (4.2)
Drew Gordon (13.9) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (9.7) Marquis Teague (3.5)
Thomas Robinson (13.9) Will Barton (8.9) Tyshawn Taylor (3.3)
Miles Plumlee (13.3) Bradley Beal (8.4) Kendall Marshall (3.3)
Andre Drummond (13.2) Terrence Ross (8.2)
Draymond Green (12.2) Quincy Miller (8.1)
Bernard James (12.8) Orlando Johnson (7.3)
Tyler Zeller (12.8) Jeff Taylor (7.1)

FWIW, Anthony Davis is really, really, really good.

I'm firmly convinced that "doing s**t" should be considered an actual basketball skill. It could be the source of some pretty great scouting/stats synergy. Do these players communicate more/better? Do they have their hands up more than other players? Is it a physical profile thing?

Getting around to putting some of this together, there are two names that consistently come to the top of any which way you look at the 18th pick: John Henson and Jae Crowder.

John Henson will enter the league as a 21 year old with the same frame as Anthony Davis and 3 years of lottery-level production. Outside of Anthony Davis himself, there is not another player in college ball that better fits the 4/5 backup position on the Wolves as does Mr. Henson.

No, he can't shoot for a lick. What he can do is provide a low-usage defensive/off-the-ball presence with the type of size needed at the modern 4/5.

Jae Crowder does it all. He is an efficient scorer who does a bunch of stuff of the ball. He's sized like a strong 3/4 or 2/3. He played in the Big East. There's really no reason not to think of him as a lottery-quality player.

Let's say that Tyler Zeller and John Henson are off the board at 18 and the Wolves simply aren't going to pull the trigger on what they consider to be late-first or 2nd round talent.

Are there any other players worth thinking about at 18 who fit the consensus profile of a first round pick?

Player Hoopus Score Do S**t Adj TS Adj TO
Royce White 30 11.6 .565 4.8
Terrence Jones 24.9 11.3 .568 2.2
Meyers Leonard 24.7 11.2 .646 2.7
Dion Waiters 24.2 5.4 .583 2.2
Moe Harkless 23.6 10.2 .521 2.7
Andrew Nicholson 31.6 12.9 .663 3.3

Royce White is an interesting player. Throw out the issues at the University of Minnesota and the anxiety. You are still left with a 250+ lbs player who plays his position like a point forward with bad shooting skills. On the other hand, you have lots of actual production, good facilitation, excellent ball skills, and dreams of offensive mismatches.

Talent-wise, I'm pretty sure White is a top 10 player in this draft. Fit wise, I really, really, really doubt you can play him at the pro 3. That being said, he can handle the ball better than either Derrick Williams and Wes Johnson and...well, I just can't see how they could draft White with the current roster.

Terrence Jones is a lesser version of White who I think has a better chance of playing the pro 3. Meyers Leonard is a younger and possibly less skilled version of Tyler Zeller. He could develop into something much more, and he could also never hit the sort of production Zeller had last season at UNC.

Waiters isn't lasting until 18. I'm not quite sure why I put him on the list.

Nicholson has produced like gangbusters for a few years, shoots well, and he's got good size with a great wingspan and standing reach. He's widely considered to be a 4 but I think he's big enough to play alongside Love and Pek no matter what the combo. He definitely deserves a look at 18.

As for Harkless, Tim and I have gone back and forth quite a bit about Quincy Miller, and while I think that the Wolves drafting Miller wouldn't be the end of the world, I really don't know why Moe Harkless isn't in this conversation, as well.

Player Combined # Hoopus TS stlblk40pa to40pa reb40pa wing span hand width
Harkless 30.2 23.6 .50 3.2 2.7 9.4 7' 10.25
Miller 43.4 21.8 .54 2.1 2.9 7.9 7'1.25" 10.25

Harkless was the poorer shooting do s**t guy but part of this may be the result of Miller having to play on a team with Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy. They're both in the same ball park in terms of physical profile, age, and overall production. Hell, I'll toss Miller into the group of consensus 1st rounders who should be considered by the Wolves at 18 if they are unwilling to pull the trigger on someone not widely considered to be "pick 18 worthy".

Where does that leave us with the 18th pick?

Tier one choices:

  • John Henson: Henson should be the Wolves' #1 target in this draft. You can make a fairly decent case that he belongs in the top 5 picks overall.
  • Tyler Zeller: A mobile 7 footer with excellent footwork, solid production, and a long track record.
  • Jae Crowder: There is simply no good way to overlook his production.
Tier two choices:
  • Will Barton: Madison Dan has been on this pick from the get-go.
  • Terrence Jones: A lesser Royce White who will likely be able to co-exist with Kevin Love.
  • Dion Waiters: Not likely to be available at 18, but the best shooting guard in the draft.
  • Meyers Leonard:Decent big who would have been easier to peg had he pulled a Zeller and stayed in school.
  • Miller/Harkless: The "potential" picks. My gun to the head take is that Miller is probably the better long-term option, but both really didn't do much to get excited about in college.
  • Royce White: I'd have him at the top of tier two or in tier one if I knew what to do with him in the pros.
Tier three choices:
  • Kyle O'Quinn: Quinn really should be in the top two tiers and I'm only putting him here to avoid some back and forth about value. His size and production place him squarely in the lotto for a draft as weak as this one. J
  • Andrew Nicholson: As mentioned above, awesome production, good shooting and size.
  • Orlando Johnson: He had a bad start to his college career but he's certainly turned it around.
  • Mike Scott: 5th year guy who has been producing from the get-go.
58th pick/free agents (No commentary---seriously, how can you write about players at this point?):
  • Rakim Sanders
  • Ken Horton
  • Alex Young
  • Trey Zeigler
  • Kevin Murphy
  • Charlie Westbrook
  • Jesse Sanders
Who to start getting irrationally excited for next year:
  • BJ Young
  • Cody Zeller
  • Jeff Withey
  • Branden Dawson

Well folks, that about does it. This is a 1 player draft with some decent value on the wing and at the backup 4/5. There really isn't any good reason the Wolves should not draft someone this Thursday. They will have an opportunity to select someone who will likely either be better than Wes Johnson or better than Darko (or whoever else they patch together for backup minutes at the 5 and 4/5).

It should be a fun evening.