The NBADraft.net's system reviews 10 variables - 2 of which they change depending on whether the player is a perimeter or low post player. These factors are: athleticism, size, defensive skill, strength, quickness, leadership, jump shot, NBA readiness, either - ball handling or rebounding prowess, potential, either - passing or post skills, and a catch all "intangibles". Each player is ranked with a value from 10 - being the best, to 1 - being very poor. The top ranked players typically do not have a rating in any category below a 6.
Obviously you can review the overall rating summaries and draw simple conclusions as to who they think the best players are. Yet, when you review their rankings as to the best prospects there are, oddly enough, several discrepancies. I would attribute this to some aspect of weighting the ratings in terms of importance.
They do not disclose if they do weight their ratings in any way, but it seems logical that this would account for the variations in point ratings as compared to the overall rankings. Considering the implication of this approach, wouldn't it seem logical that each NBA team after using whatever resources are at their disposal to develop various factor ratings, would then weight different factors more or less. Perhaps they want to emphasize a specific style of team play, or to perhaps they simply favor various factors that are current weaknesses they perceive to be a concern for their team.
In any case, I have attempted to weight factors that I think should be the most important. I can't say that I've really settled on these relative importance of these rating categories as much as I've tried. This simply is not as easy, as it might seem. In some instances the definition of the category seems insufficient to allow me to be sure it isn't already double weighted to some extent by another factor, e.g. how much difference is there between athleticism, quickness, and strength? Is NBA readiness already factored into several other skills as well?
Another aspect that is hard to ascertain is whether the ratings are absolutes or comparatives by position. They've made some actual category changes, but it seems there is a big difference between mid-range jump shooting and long range 3-point shooting, and the importance I'd place on it for different positions changes- but there is only one category. It would also be nice to have a rating for passing, ball handling, rebounding, and either low post skill or the ability to penetrate off the dribble. There's also a lot of discussion given to the ability to create the opportunity for your own shot, as opposed to being strictly a spot up shooter. So, if I were leading scouting I'd want to expand the number of categories to include some assessment of quite a few more skills or at least indicators of ability.
It's also difficult to decide should certain skills or abilities be weighted more if they are more difficult to teach or develop? Strength for young players might be more readily improved than quickness, athleticism, or size to the extent that it is valuable relative to the position played. Potential, ah there's an interesting category, is also hard to interpret. Obviously you want high potential players, but what if specific skills such as jump shot, rebounding, low post play, or defense are already rated to be very good? Just to be sure everyone is also just as confused as possible, how important are intangibles and NBA ready? Leadership might be important for certain positions, such as PG, but not as much for others, but how do you weight it fairly to assess all positions. It might be necessary to develop different weighting factors for each position.
Rather than spend more time explaining why this seems so hard, let me cut to the chase and tell you what I managed to do, with the stipulation that I reserve the right to revise and refine my findings. Essentially, I wanted to come up with a list of who I think the top players are, with the added stipulation that it is likely that they may be available at pick #7. Oh, one more qualifier, there were a couple of players that did not have any ratings - Rudy Gobert, Dario Saric, and Giannis Adetokoubo are ranked among the top 20 players, but there are not individual ratings on them as given at NBADraft.net, so I could not assess their relative value, yet it may be appropriate to include them on the list, at least as a possibility. Without further adieu, here's my list:
Player's Name NBADraft Ranking NBADraft Rating My Wtd Rating
Kent Caldwell-Pope 12 93 80.7
Lucas Nogueira 16 93 80.1
Alex Len 4 94 79.8
Trey Burke 10 94 78.9
Cody Zeller 5 95 78.8
C J McCollum 7 93 76.6
Mason Plumlee 19 91 76.6
Kelly Olynyk 11 93 75.3
Rudy Gobert 15
Dario Saric 14
Giannis Adetokoubo 18
As I mentioned I had to make some assessment of who will be off the board before the #7 pick. I expect Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter, Anthony Bennett, Victor Oladipo, and Shabazz Muhammad to be the first six draft picks, not necessarily in that order, but in any case off the board. Although several of these players I'd prefer to what remains, I still believe that one of the players on my board can contribute significantly.
The biggest debate has to likely be as to what position can make the biggest improvement in the team's play. I'm still inclined to believe that drafting a big man could create a lot of match up problems. However, since there is at least a whisper of the prospect that Jose Calderon may sign with Utah, drafting a guard might be imperative. The rating analysis I did indicates that there would have several pretty good options to consider too. Trey Burke is the natural point guard we've been looking for, but I was surprised to see Kentavious Caldwell-Pope climb up my rankings to be the top player on my list. C J McCollum also is another intriguing prospect.
Alex Len, Lucas Nogueira, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, and Kelly Olynyk all have their own distinct advantages. I hadn't given Kelly Olynyk much thought at all, yet according to NBADraft.net he has the highest or second highest ratings in more categories than any other big man. He receives high marks of 9 or 10 for size, jump shot, NBA ready, and low post skills. Alex Len is ranked 4th overall by NBADraft.net, but he receives a 7 in five categories, with only 10 and 9 respectively for size and potential. Another new name, Lucas Nogueira impressed me with having the greatest similarity in ratings to what Andre Drummond received last season, with the one notable exception that his strength was only rated 6, compared to Drummond's 9. Cody Zeller and Mason Plumlee's ratings were very similar despite the fact that overall Zeller totaled a 95 versus Plumless' 91 - Zeller posted his lone 9 for intangibles, while Plumlee scored 9s for his athleticism and size.
From the above discussion, I think what might stick out most is that Lucas Nogueira and Kelly Olynyk had superior skills and talent in most categories I would consider most important to what you would look for in a big man. After doing this analysis, I had this nagging feeling that Alex Len, ranked the 4th overall best player, looked more and more like a close of Darko Milicic . I'd hate to make that mistake again - and the fact that he has had ankle surgery that will keep him off the court for 6 months has cooled me off on championing him as our pick.
So Bad Boy Community what do you think? Perhaps you'll tell me via the attached poll.