steph

The team at Raptors Republic has done a great job at breaking down our possible selections on the RR Big Board – so much so that it seems other popular mock drafts are copying phdsteve‘s selection of Avery Bradley in the 13th slot.

So in advance of the must attend NBA Draft party of the year, we add a little stats spice to our big board:

Ekpe Udoh PF

Oh boy, does he screen well on this monster NCAA player rating database (see this thread for background and debate) – Mr. Udoh ranks 14th out 4,679 players in the database. Not bad. And he’s second to only to Evan Turner for players that are considered top prospects.
We also like:

  • Passing: Udoh recorded an impressive (for a big man) 2.7 APG.
  • Boards: Top 10 in ORebs (3.6 per game) and Top 15 in Total (9.8 per) in the full database,#4 in offsensive and #6 in total from DraftExpress’ potential 1st & 2nd rounders list.

However, here comes the kicker. Our own ESPN Stats Grandmaster, John Hollinger, has Ekpe Udoh 52nd, yes 52nd, on this Draft Rater (insider access required) and would pass on Mr. Udoh “until early in round two”. [Hollinger's draft rater is a "methodical, objective look at how players' collegiate achievements tend to translate to the pro game." See here.]

Avery Bradley SG

What our RR team must like:

  • While only 6’3″, Mr. Bradley’s wingspan is an impressive 6′ 7 1/4″.
  • He also shoots a solid 38% from beyond the (short) arc.
  • His vertical leap (max) of 37 1/2″ is big-time – ranked 4th in the class.
  • Finally, he’s viewed as one of the top perimeter defenders (a desperate need for the Raptors of course).

However, we have a few concerns.

  • We want our shooting guard to be, you know, a good shooter. Mr. Bradley is only shooting 45.7% for 2 pointers – second worst of players that should be taken in the draft.
  • We also need players that can finish near the rim. No help here – he’s at the very bottom of the group at 44.3%. (See DraftExpress data)
  • His on/off court points allowed (per 40 min) is second only to Eric Bledsoe (of players that are likely to be selected in this draft) i.e. Texas was better defensively with him OFF the court
  • While having a great wingspan will make up for a lot, overall undersized for a SG

Gordon Hayward SF

No no no. Okay, he’s a fine player. But at the 13th pick, I don’t think you want someone relatively average at a number of skills. Okay, so he’s an excellent 2 pt shooter – 59.2% ranks 3rd out of the draft universe – far from average. However, he was dreadful 29.4% from 3pt land this past year. He does rank 17th in Hollinger’s Draft Rater. And screens nicely on the big statistical plus-minus database.
Stats wise (incl height and weight), he’s quite similar to Adam Morrison. Enough said.

Well, okay… two more things. He’s no mini-Turk – his assist to turnover ratio is 0.73 (only 1.7 APG). Various studies suggest that players from final four teams (and often elite eight) move up in the draft more than deserved. “A player who appears in the Final Four can improve his draft position by about 12 spots” says David Berri. Makes sense – scouts overly inflate recent observations. Thus avoid. And 2 for 11 shooting in the big game. Pass at the 13th spot.

Patrick Patterson PF

Our man (can I say that if I’ve never met/phoned/emailed/tweeted the guy?) Chad Ford has him in our slot on his big board. While perhaps not an inspiring pick (although I’l argue otherwise), it’s certainly a “safe and solid” choice.

What we like:

  • Shoots a highly efficient (3rd best in the class) 71.6% inside.
  • Great wingspan: 7′ 1 1/2″ and solid: 245 lbs = NBA ready
  • Takes care of the ball – lowest turnover per game (and per 40) in this draft class
  • Solid on/off court +/- stats – especially on offense and offensive rebounds.
  • Studies show “older” players often slip (scouts are overly biased on “UPSIDE!” potential) – at 21, Mr. Patterson may slightly underrated for this reason.
  • Ranks first amongst all power forward prospects at 1.139 PPP overall.
  • #1 in True Shooting Percentage

What we don’t like:

  • Trailed off in terms of defensive rebounds this past year.
  • Defense noted as a weakness – plus/minus on the negative side for points allowed (although not overly significant).
  • Nowhere in sight on Holliger’s draft rater.

Paul George SF

Aha. We’re intrigued with Mr. George.
Why?

  • #9 on Hollinger’s Draft Rater
  • #2 in plus/minus (of players that are likely to be selected in this draft)
  • Excellent FT shooter (almost 91%)
  • Big thief (#1 in Steals per 40)

Some caveats:

  • Terrible 2pt jumper (27.4%)
  • Turns the ball over much too often – and scouts/GMs tend to overlook this in the draft. If he turns the ball over a lot against weakest competition while at Fresno State, how bad will it get in the NBA?
  • Needs to bulk up (214 lbs).
  • 46% of his shots are threes.

Other options?
I’ll throw in two (the boys from Kansas) others to the mix:

Cole Aldrich, PF (maybe C?), Kansas

We like: 3.7 blocks per game (and only 2.6 fouls per) // Solid 2pt jumper (42.6) and inside (64.9%) // Screens high in the +/- database // Takes care of the ball (only 1.6 TOs/game) // 6’9″ in socks, but 7′ 4 3/4″ wingspan
Concerns: FT 67.9% // Seems to negatively affect offense (on/off court -7.7 pts scored) // 41st on Hollinger’s Draft Rater
Favourite comment: “Likes to mix it up inside”

Xavier Henry, SG, Kansas

We like: Best 3pt shooter in the group (41.8%) // #3 in Stls/40 min // Great size & strength for a (just turned) 19 year old // Hollinger has him ranked 7th in his Draft Rater
Concerns: No room with DeRozan/Weems /Belinelli on the roster? // poor on/off point allowed # (defense issues?) // Asst/TO ratio 0.77
Favourite comment: “Commitment to playing defense”

So its not at easy choice. Picks around 13 never are. But “lucky #13″ has been historically.

Potential “hidden gems”

Dominique Jones, SG (could play the point?), South Florida

My not-so-poor-man`s Avery Bradley // points allowed on/off an excellent -9.0 // Solid A/TO ratio // Excellent wingspan 6′ 9 1/4″ // Excellent rebounder for his size
Could he be this year’s Marcus Thornton? He has similar college numbers.

Greivis Vasquez, PG/SG, Maryland

#9 on Hollinger’s draft rater, so we’ll bite // #2 in APG, behind Wall // #3 Asst/TO ratio // Second behind Evan Turner in the big plus/minus database // From ESPN: “The kind of competitor who makes all of the hustle plays”
Pegged at number 44 in Chad Ford’s mock draft – if you could buy a late pick and he’s available, it’s worth a shot.

So, what does this stats guy say? Well, first, make sure you’re here on Thursday night and second:

Pick Patrick Patterson with the 13th pick.

And Buy a late first round pick if either Avery Bradley or Dominique Jones are available OR
if we are NOT able to buy a late first rounder (or both are unavailable) buy a mid to late 2nd round pick if you can get Greivis Vasquez.

As I’m writing this, I’m watching an 1995 RaptorsTV clip of then Raptor coach Brendan Malone “we need to build this franchise on grit and attitude. We need players that compete”. Hear, hear.

Sources:
Draft Express
Stumbling on Wins
Basketball Reference
Dsmok1’s NCAA Statistical +/- database