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Friday, May 23, 2008

Draft Analysis Part One

I promised you some in depth draft analysis, and it will come. First though, I decided to break out my old school draft notebook and look through it. What is the draft notebook you ask? Well, it is very small, and it has a list of a couple of college players from each draft that I thought were going to do better than there draft position. That doesn't mean I thought they would be the best player out of the draft, just that they would perform significantly higher than their draft level suggests scouts think they will. I base my analysis on a few things; 10% college career, 5% scout hype, 10% upside potential (ha) and 75% tournament performance. So now that you are thoroughly confused, here goes nothing...

2000: Yep, I started this when I was only 13. To me that is pretty impressive.
This was one of the worst draft classes ever. Top pick was Kenyon Martin, and it's a toss up between him and Hedo Turkoglu for second best player to come out of the draft. Top would have to be Michael Redd. That is in no way complimentary. Heres what I thought would happen here.

My picks for top players as compared to draft position:
Mateen Cleaves-#14 First Round-Detroit Pistons: Again, not much to choose from. He put on a good show in college, and looked like a prototypical point guard. We'll mark this pick up to a bad overall draft and say I'm 0-1.
Desmond Mason-#17 First Round-Seattle Supersonics: Mason certainly hasn't been an all star, but for this draft class he has definitely played better than the 17th overall pick. I won't give myself a point, but I won't take one away either.

2001: This draft was much better than the last one, but certainly wasn't the best ever. It features players like Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace and...
My picks for top players as compared to draft position:
Joe Johnson-#10 First Round-Boston Celtics: Definitely got this one right. Joe Johnson really impressed me at Arkansas, and I really thought he would excel. It took him a couple years, but he has become a perennial all star. That makes me 1-2.
Gilbert Arenas-#30 Second Round-Golden State Warriors: Not trying to brag, but I absolutely nailed this one. I thought he could be a good scorer off the bench, a potential 6th man of the year candidate. He's definitely surpassed that, but that only means I was a genius for picking him to excel. This pick should be worth at least 5 points, but I can't do that, so I'm 2-3.

2002: This draft was extremely hit or miss. It features perennial all stars drafted high with Yao Ming, Amare Stoudemire and Caron Butler in the top ten. It also featured Jay Williams, Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Dajuan Wagner in the top ten.
My picks for top players as compared to draft position:
Caron Butler-#10 First Round-Miami Heat: I absolutely loved him coming out of UConn. I thought he would be the top player coming out of that draft, and while right now Carlos Boozer, Yao Ming and Amare Stoudemire are probably the top three (not in specific order), Butler is absolutely better than the number 10 selection. I remember when he was later traded along with Lamar Odom for Shaq and everyone thought the Lakers could have gotten a lot more. At the time I thought the Lakers made out great, getting two potential all stars for one aging all star. Can you imagine if the Lakers hadn't let Butler go? They would have quite possibly one of the best backcourts in the history of the game, and both him and Kobe are still fairly young. 3-4.
Dajuan Wagner-#6 First Round-Cleveland Cavaliers: Yeah, I chalk this one up to the fact that I was traveling through New Jersey when I read a newspaper. Front page? Local high schooler Dajuan Wagner puts up 100 in one game. I was sold from then on. Clearly it hasn't worked out for him, but I bet he saved that newspaper clipping. I know I would. And he scored over 40 a game for a full season. Who wouldn't expect big things out of him. Oh well. 3-5.

2003: One of the top drafts in NBA history. This draft features Lebron, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and a couple other guys I'll get too. This also marked the year I expanded my draft predictions to a few more players, as just two guys was getting kind of boring, and I thought I was doing fairly well.
My picks for top players as compared to draft position.
Dwayne Wade-#5 First Round-Miami Heat: I'll be honest here. I didn't know much about Dwayne Wade till the tournament, and then I saw him and knew he was a star. Clearly so far I have this one right. 4-6.
David West-#18 First Round-New Orleans Hornets: Another guy I knew would be a star after watching the tournament. Unfortunately he didn't show it until last season. I was ready to chalk him up to the wrong column, but he has definitely worked his way back to the other side. 5-7
Josh Howard-#30 First Round-Dallas Mavericks: So far he is another right pick. This draft was loaded, so I can't take too much credit, but I did make some risky picks after Wade, so I have to toot my own horn some. 6-8
Jason Kapono-#31 Second Round-Cleveland Cavaliers: I always love the guys that do one thing extremely well when it comes to second round picks. Project guys may or may not pan out, but you can almost always count on a guy that excels at doing one thing to continue to excel at that at the next level. Clearly Kapono has done exactly that with his three point shooting. 7-9

2004: This was a draft that held a lot of unknowns, both in high school players and in international guys. This is also the first year I picked a player based on very little personal experience watching/reading about the player. This draft featured, Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Al Jefferson and Andre Iguodala.
My picks for top players as compared to draft position.
Robert Swift-#12 First Round-Seattle Supersonics: I thought he would be what some people expected Shawn Bradley to be. Note; never expect anything out of anyone that can be even remotely compared to Shawn Bradley. 7-10.
Sebastian Telfair-#13 First Round-Portland Trail Blazers: I was definitely influenced by all the hype this guy got. I mean, he was still getting hype last season with his dvds and everything else coming out. I dare you to find someone that continued to get coverage for so long while doing absolutely nothing. That being said, he looked like he might start to turn around his career finally with the Timberwolves. It will only happen if he can improve his jumpshot. Right now it's a wrong choice. 7-11.
Kevin Martin-#26 First Round-Sacramento Kings: Definitely got this one right. He has turned into one of the premier scorers in the league, and it looks like the Kings are going to start trying to build around him. He was an iffy pick for me because of his weird shooting style, but it worked for him in college. 8-12
Blake Stepp-#58 Second Round-Minnesota Timberwolves: White guys from Gonzaga are like the ugly girls at parties that dress slutty. Drink enough and eventually you'll start watching them more. Then you'll start to talk yourself into thinking it's a good idea to pick them. Then you do, and you wake up the next day and realize what just happened. In my defense, Jordan also fell for one in Adam Morrison. 8-13.

2005: This draft still has players developing, and thats why I will stop the scoring after this draft. I'll give you the players I picked in draft classes after this, but it's still tough to tell if they will end up doing what I think they will or not. This draft is also tough to look at, but I think I can evaluate it well enough now. This draft included Andrew Bogut and basically the entire North Carolina team that won the championship that previous NCAA season.
My picks for top players as compared to draft position.
Chris Paul-#4 First Round-New Orleans Hornets:
As a UNC fan, I hated this guy when he played for Wake Forest, but I loved watching him and Raymond Felton go at it. While I didn't expect him to be this good this soon, I knew he would be good. Thankfully I haven't kept records of guys I thought would be busts, because I thought Deron Williams would be one. Regardless, I'm now 9-14
Hakim Warrick-#19 First Round-Memphis Grizzlies: Originally I was going to count this one against me, but then I looked at his numbers from after the Gasol trade, and I was extremely impressed as he averaged 17 and 7 after the all star break. I picked him originally because of the run he made with Carmelo with Syracuse. That block in the championship game is one of the top defensive plays I've ever watched. Regardless, he looked great the second half of the season, that means he went from a negative to a positive in my book. I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt here and take a point. 10-15.
Francisco Garcia-#23 First Round-Sacramento Kings:
Another guy that has came on late. He looks to be on his way to being a 16-4-4 type player, and as the number 23 overall pick, that is definitely good value. I won't give myself a point on this one, but I won't take one away either. 10-15
David Lee-#30 First Round-New York Knicks: I remember watching him at Florida and thinking he was an absolute athletic freak. He never achieved what people thought he could while there, but this is one of the rare cases I bought upside potential, and it's panned out pretty well for me. He should have started the past two seasons, and I guarantee he breaks out even more with Dantoni as the coach. 11-16.

2006: As I said, too early to evaluate, so I'll get right to my selections.
Brandon Roy
Marcus Williams
Sergio Rodriguez
Craig Smith

Al Horford
Rodney Stuckey
Sean Williams
Marco Bellinelli

Potential 2008:
Obviously, the nature of this shows you I can't actually pick my selections till after the draft. If I had a guy I thought was a great value at 30, but he goes 15, he is no longer on my list. Here are some guys to look at though.
D.J. Augustin
Brandon Rush
Wayne Ellington
Joe Alexander
Chase Budinger
James Gist
Trent Plaisted
Eric Gordon

~Aaron Jackson

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