2020 NBA Draft

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Nathan S

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To learn more from my ratings, and to identify places where they may be mis-evaluating prospects, I've broken them up into "Perimeter," "Interior," and "Team" components for offense and defense. Here, I've color-coded prospects according to their projections in these areas, from red (far below average) to cyan (far above average).



Tier 1 guys:

-LaMelo's strong rating is largely driven by his excellent assist:TO numbers, which give him great Team O and Team D ratings. While strong assist totals are typically a good indicator for basketball IQ on defense, it's fair to question whether that's true in LaMelo's case. Does he just need a good coach/system to thrive defensively, or does he really not "get it" on that end of the court?

-Haliburton grades out similarly in the Team O and Team D sections, and here I think these ratings accurately represent his excellent awareness and IQ on both ends of the court. However, his weak frame limited his ability to produce inside the arc in college, and this may continue to be a significant weakness at the next level.

-Hayes doesn't have quite the spectacular assist:TO stats of LaMelo or Haliburton, but he does project to be an excellent point-of-attack defender, which would make him a welcome addition to the Cavs backcourt. His relatively low 3-point and free throw rates limit his offensive upside a little.

-Wiseman is an extremely difficult prospect to evaluate due to his extreme strengths and weaknesses. He dominated the paint in his brief college career, and all signs point to him continuing that domination in the NBA. But serious weaknesses in his all-around game threaten to offset this dominance.


Tier 2 guys:

-Edwards benefits from a well-rounded offensive game, but doesn't grade out as elite in any one area. He comes closest in perimeter offense thanks to his very high 3-point volume, but he's a streaky shooter who ended the season under 30% from deep. In spite of a burly frame and periodic highlight plays, he didn't show much ability to dominate the paint on either end, mainly settling for jumpers and putting up middling free throw and rebound numbers.

-Josh Green is perhaps the most well-rounded prospect in the draft, which the potential to do pretty much everything at an above-average level. His lack of a single elite skill keeps him out of my top tier, but he should be considered a serious sleeper to go in the mid-high lottery after a strong finish to the season.

-Okongwu's defensive versatility and potential to dominate the paint make him a very interesting prospect. On the offensive end, though, he suffers from some of the same concern as Wiseman, as his poor assist:TO numbers and nonexistent 3-point shot suggest that some of his skills are significantly behind the curve.

-Hampton is rather similar to Green in a lot of ways. I have him just a bit behind, as there's some evidence that he struggled to have a positive team-level impact, and his frame is a little less impressive on defense.

-Maledon lands a notch below Hayes, Ball, and Haliburton because his assist:TO numbers suggest that he's more of a combo guard as opposed to a big point guard. In spite of this, he's a very good all-around prospect, with similar potential to Hayes as a point-of-attack defender, and a solid outside shot.

-Mannion has very nice point guard skills, but he arguably faces the biggest challenges of all my Tier 1/2 prospects in his adjustment to NBA size and athleticism. This shows up in his poor interior O and interior D ratings, and also in his perimeter D rating, where he's questionable rather than strong.

-Pokusevski has been billed as the draft's big mystery man, and you should probably believe the billing. He's the youngest player in the draft, having turned 18 just days before the January 1 cutoff. Playing center, he put up shooting and assist:TO numbers more typical for a combo guard, which is very impressive even considering his weak strength of schedule. He was already over 7' with a 7'3" wingspan when he was last measured at age 16, and he has likely grown since then.


Tier 3 guys:



-Okoro fell a bit behind Green among do-it-all wings as the year went on. He didn't quite live up to the hype, especially defensively where he was more solid than spectacular.

-Avdija's poor free throw rate sinks his interior O rating. Partly due to an inability to draw fouls, and partly due to an inability to make free throws when he got to the line, it's a serious red flag in an otherwise solid profile. It reflects his passive nature offensively, which is likely to continue into his NBA career unless coaches very intentionally shove him into the spotlight.

-It ain't easy being old. At 22 years old, Obi's older than most juniors and many seniors, and as a result the bar for his performance is very high. Numbers like 1.2 offensive rebounds and 3.2 free throws per game would be solid enough for a teenager, but are below-average for a prospect his age. His athleticism may give him a better chance than most to translate his game to the NBA, but he faces a steeper jump in level of competition and a smaller development window than a typical lottery prospect.
 

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https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/fmhh5d
Although for those in the comments saying "no playoffs confirmed!1!!1", this should still be treated as semi-clickbait because they never said anything about having to actually hold the draft itself over Skype or anything.

They could also do the lottery position electronically, and since unlike the NFL they do not "reseed" playoff winners and losers in the draft order, the draft date doesn't have to be tied to being after the postseason, if there even is a postseason. As far as playoff and lottery position go, I think pretty much everyone except the 9th and 10th seeds have been fine with calling the regular season...
 

I'mWithDan

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Finally had some time to look at numbers on top 40 ish types...... Numbers prior to athletic testing.

I need to double back and check ages as well. So these might shift a hair.



The thing that stands out to me, is that in a bad draft, there are a handful of guys that seem criminally underrated in mock drafts.....relative to their positional data.

Aaron Nesmith, Jalen Smith, Paul Reed stand out to me.....just as modern NBA profiles who just aren't (yet) getting pushed up draft boards.

Some interesting players in the 20's to me as well.....Saddiq Bey is the one guy I have my eye on on the wing. In a relatively weak class, he has an interesting mix of impact numbers as a true SF. He strikes me as a guy who really will shoot up draft boards during the combine / secondary eval period.

GS - Overall Impact
GSADJ - Impact Less Scoring
GS NET - Net of those numbers
PDIFF - Impact relative to the successful positional baseline

This isn’t meant to fill out a mock draft it is merely to identify who might be underrated, overrated or appropriately rated in consensus mocks.
 
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Nathan S

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Finally had some time to look at numbers on top 40 ish types...... Numbers prior to athletic testing.

I need to double back and check ages as well. So these might shift a hair.



The thing that stands out to me, is that in a bad draft, there are a handful of guys that seem criminally underrated in mock drafts.....relative to their positional data.

Aaron Nesmith, Jalen Smith, Paul Reed stand out to me.....just as modern NBA profiles who just aren't (yet) getting pushed up draft boards.

Some interesting players in the 20's to me as well.....Saddiq Bey is the one guy I have my eye on on the wing. In a relatively weak class, he has an interesting mix of impact numbers as a true SF. He strikes me as a guy who really will shoot up draft boards during the combine / secondary eval period.

GS - Overall Impact
GSADJ - Impact Less Scoring
GS NET - Net of those numbers
PDIFF - Impact relative to the successful positional baseline

This isn’t meant to fill out a mock draft it is merely to identify who might be underrated, overrated or appropriately rated in consensus mocks.
Seems like our models agree on the following:

-Haliburton is very good. Wiseman is probably very good.

-Reed, Tillman, Vassell and Carey are all safe bets to be at least decent.

-Anthony, Maxey, Stanley and McDaniels are likely busts.

Not super Cavs relevant, but would be interested to see what your model thinks of Flynn and Kira Lewis.
 

I'mWithDan

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Seems like our models agree on the following:

-Haliburton is very good. Wiseman is probably very good.

-Reed, Tillman, Vassell and Carey are all safe bets to be at least decent.

-Anthony, Maxey, Stanley and McDaniels are likely busts.

Not super Cavs relevant, but would be interested to see what your model thinks of Flynn and Kira Lewis.
Doesn't like Lewis......he should go back to school, given how young he is.

It likes Flynn. I generally know nothing about him but he has a quality mix of shooting / assist generation / AST-TO rate.

The only thing I see with Flynn, just looking at his time at WSU, is he a potentially bad defender? League switch seems to have helped in that regard and I don't know enough about him to have a feel for if some of that was individual player effort or just a system switch with better guys around him.
 

Nathan S

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Doesn't like Lewis......he should go back to school, given how young he is.

It likes Flynn. I generally know nothing about him but he has a quality mix of shooting / assist generation / AST-TO rate.

The only thing I see with Flynn, just looking at his time at WSU, is he a potentially bad defender? League switch seems to have helped in that regard and I don't know enough about him to have a feel for if some of that was individual player effort or just a system switch with better guys around him.
I'll preface this by saying I don't have a great feel for him as a defender, but he was 4th in the PAC-12 in steals per game as a sophomore (and then 1st in the MWC this year). Middling rebounder though, and never blocks shots. I previously compared him to VanVleet, and still think that's an optimistic but reasonable comparison for him.
 

I'mWithDan

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Here is a cleaned up data set if anyone wants to look at it. There were a few formatting conditions that weren't placing colors correctly.......and then I pulled down a mix of additional stats. Sorted by PDIFF (comparative to their positional baseline for NBA successes) but again, not meant to be a "Big Board" but if you see a player with a lot of Green, Yellow, Orange and Red, they're worth digging in on and paying attention to....especially during testing.



As you layer on more data, a little more concern with Nesmith, who looks like he's really going to have to be a high impact scorer.....but still a good wing option given the available choices. Guys like Okungwu and Haliburton still just look like such high probability contributors at the next level. Jalen Smith looks like a real sleeper candidate, of someone who will go later than he should.

In addition to the players mentioned above........the one guy I am really watching closely in measurement and athletic testing is Vassell. I just love how his game tape translates to the NBA level and he scores really well across the board in wing metrics. He's also a young sophomore. I think when all these wings come out in the evaluation wash, that he will be a really coveted player during the draft. He strikes me as someone David Griffin will have ranked very highly on his board.
 
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Nathan S

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Here is a cleaned up data set if anyone wants to look at it. There were a few formatting conditions that weren't placing colors correctly.......and then I pulled down a mix of additional stats. Sorted by PDIFF (comparative to their positional baseline for NBA successes) but again, not meant to be a "Big Board" but if you see a player with a lot of Green, Yellow, Orange and Red, they're worth digging in on and paying attention to....especially during testing.



As you layer on more data, a little more concern with Nesmith, who looks like he's really going to have to be a high impact scorer.....but still a good wing option given the available choices. Guys like Okungwu and Haliburton still just look like such high probability contributors at the next level. Jalen Smith looks like a real sleeper candidate, of someone who will go later than he should.

In addition to the players mentioned above........the one guy I am really watching closely in measurement and athletic testing is Vassell. I just love how his game tape translates to the NBA level and he scores really well across the board in wing metrics. He's also a young sophomore. I think when all these wings come out in the evaluation wash, that he will be a really coveted player during the draft. He strikes me as someone David Griffin will have ranked very highly on his board.
Can you filter by age <20 or something? Obviously Okongwu and Wiseman blow the other freshmen out of the water, but I'm wondering what young perimeter players look the most promising.
 

I'mWithDan

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Can you filter by age <20 or something? Obviously Okongwu and Wiseman blow the other freshmen out of the water, but I'm wondering what young perimeter players look the most promising.
I'll just show everyone......sorted by age, 1/1 of their rookie year.

I still need to double check all these birthdays, to make sure numbers from last year were updated but kind of the same suspects........

In general, you still see Wiseman, Carey, Okongwu and Vassell just really stand out. Kind of in that 20.5 or younger cut off. Then there's a few bigs who have solid metrics and youth on their side in Stewart, Nnaji.

Vassell just seems like the grossly underrated guy right now.....most mocks, I see him in the 20's or early second. He's young, has an NBA frame, produces......will be interesting to see if he is a riser.

Lastly, damn those are some ugly numbers in that perimeter frosh group. :chuckle:

 

Nathan S

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I'll just show everyone......sorted by age, 1/1 of their rookie year.

I still need to double check all these birthdays, to make sure numbers from last year were updated but kind of the same suspects........

In general, you still see Wiseman, Carey, Okongwu and Vassell just really stand out. Kind of in that 20.5 or younger cut off. Then there's a few bigs who have solid metrics and youth on their side in Stewart, Nnaji.

Vassell just seems like the grossly underrated guy right now.....most mocks, I see him in the 20's or early second. He's young, has an NBA frame, produces......will be interesting to see if he is a riser.

Lastly, damn those are some ugly numbers in that perimeter frosh group. :chuckle:

I like Vassell (#15 overall, #10 among college guys for me) but his free throw rate really tanked as the season went on, and that concerns me. Very roleplayer-y.
 

I'mWithDan

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I like Vassell (#15 overall, #10 among college guys for me) but his free throw rate really tanked as the season went on, and that concerns me. Very roleplayer-y.
I’ve had a few conversations with people who are in the basketball world and it seems to be a pretty polarizing topic. Some scouts believe FTA/2PGA is a better metric for higher volume 3 point shooters, because of how it raises your expected points per FGA but negatively effects your free throw rate....which would mean someone like Nesmith could be ranked much higher on draft boards for teams' who prefer the 2PFGA metric over all FGA.

Vassell tends to be more average, to a tick below average, even in FTA/2PGA. So it is somewhat concerning. FT rate is kind of all over the map though for prospects. Kawhi was actually a really pedestrian FTR player in college. Westbrook was pretty average. Oladipo was average. It seems like it is a skill that can develop with age. I have no idea if it will but there are some really good NBA scorers that weren't exceptionally good at drawing fouls in college. Given all the other things he does well, I don't think it is a make or break skill for him.
 

Nathan S

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I’ve had a few conversations with people who are in the basketball world and it seems to be a pretty polarizing topic. Some scouts believe FTA/2PGA is a better metric for higher volume 3 point shooters, because of how it raises your expected points per FGA but negatively effects your free throw rate....which would mean someone like Nesmith could be ranked much higher on draft boards for teams' who prefer the 2PFGA metric over all FGA.

Vassell tends to be more average, to a tick below average, even in FTA/2PGA. So it is somewhat concerning. FT rate is kind of all over the map though for prospects. Kawhi was actually a really pedestrian FTR player in college. Westbrook was pretty average. Oladipo was average. It seems like it is a skill that can develop with age. I have no idea if it will but there are some really good NBA scorers that weren't exceptionally good at drawing fouls in college. Given all the other things he does well, I don't think it is a make or break skill for him.
Definitely not many weaknesses to pick at with him. One of just three guys (Green, Wiseman) who my model projects as a positive on both ends of the court. Surprised your model sees such a gulf between Vassell and Green, as Green appears to be a pretty safe bet 2-way wing as well.
 

kidduck

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Teams join to push NBA to move draft date back
10:05 AM MT
  • Adrian Wojnarowski
  • Jonathan Givony
As information gathering on draft-eligible prospects remains limited during the coronavirus pandemic, many NBA teams are united in hopes of encouraging the league office to push the date of the draft from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1, sources told ESPN.

Multiple top team executives expressed to ESPN their belief that shifting the draft date would give organizations more time to salvage the essential elements of the pre-draft process, possibly allowing for in-person workouts, interviews and medical evaluations of prospects that current social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines make impossible.

For now, the NBA remains on commissioner Adam Silver's timeline of May 1 as the earliest that decisions on the remaining league calendar will start to be made, sources said.

An Aug. 1 date would be flexible, based on whether the league restarts and advances the regular season and playoffs through the summer. In that case, most envision a September draft and free-agency period based on a season that concludes around Labor Day weekend.

Among front-office executives, there is an expectation that no draft would occur while teams are still engaged in the season, because that would preclude an important element of draft night: player trades. That's why team officials believe the draft and free agency should stay connected on the calendar once the season ends.

In a memo obtained by ESPN on Monday, the NBA informed teams that organizations are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice.

NBA teams will be allowed to conduct virtual interviews with draft prospects but are limited to four hours total for any single player, the memo said.

Teams are also prohibited from requesting video of recent workouts that players might conduct outside of a team environment, the memo said. Teams can only study film -- such as college games and practice sessions -- that occurred before the NBA's suspension of play.
 

Wham with the Right Hand

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Since the thread title includes free agency, I noticed a response by Chris Fedor in his question-and-answer column today about Tristan Thompson that surprised me, since I figured there was no chance of TT coming back.

I think there’s still a spot for him in Cleveland. The other part of this equation ties into the projected salary cap drop this summer. There was a shortage of cap-space teams already, ones willing to offer Thompson more than the mid-level exception. Because he’s unlikely to get a hefty payday on the open market, re-signing with the Cavs, who own his Bird Rights and can go over the cap to bring him back, would make the most sense.

Assuming Drummond exercises his option we would have the same team that went 6-6 in their last 12 games, plus Windler and the first round pick. I don't see any reason this can't be a .500 team next year if Thompson comes back, Sexton continues to play like he did the last month, and Garland and Porter improve in their second seasons. That doesn't include any contribution from Windler or the draft pick.
 

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