FanPost

Rating the centers through comparable analysis

I have decided to do my ranking strictly on a position by position basis. My reasoning is two fold; 1.) I have a significant bias towards big-man, 2.) I don't yet know how to grade all positions, on a position independent basis. Big men produce more wins, but grading all players on just that scale is not the best way to view this. Any NBA team must fill 5 positions, and you cannot fill all 5 with only big men. While big men will contribute more to a teams wins, one must view all players through the lens of "opportunity cost". A center may out produce a SG, but if that SG out produces the average SG by 20%, then the choice of selecting the big man must be weighed against opportunity cost of passing on the SG. So until I can develop a fair way to assess all players on a scale that measures that opportunity cost, I think it is best to rate players by position.
I have separated all players into positions. Some players will appear in two groups (say C and PF, or SG and SF). I used DraftExpress and NBADraft.net as the arbiter on this, if they identified a player in a position then I included that player in that position group.
While the 2013 NBA draft has been called a weak draft, it has one distinguishing feature, very large group of good big men. Below is my ranking 1-20 of centers, and how those players rank amongst all players in the Draft Express Top 100, and the NBADraft.net Top 100. I have decided to do my ranking strictly on a position by position basis.

My Rank for Centers Name Draft Express Top 100 NBA Draft.net top 100
1 Nerlens Noel 2 2
2 Cody Zeller 10 4
3 Gorgui Dieng 14 23
4 Steven Adams 17 14
5 Mason Plumlee 16 19
6 Alex Len 1 6
7 Jeff Withey 25 36
8 Kelly Olynyk 15 13
9 Mike Muscala 35 73
10 Rudy Gobert 18 24
11 Zeke Marshall 83 Not in top 100
12 Lucas Nogueira 24 10
13 Bojan Dubljevic 46 Not in top 100
14 Jack Cooley 82 74
15 DeWayne Dedmon 63 43
16 Alex Oriakhi Not in top 100 79
17 Louis Labeyrie 94 Not in top 100
18 Brandon Davies 65 69
19 Colton Iverson 45 97
20 Marko Todorovic 57 Not in top 100

Below is a breakdown of all the centers based upon their physical attributes, their "Length", and their "Athleticism". You will not some players do not have data for some measurements. The final table shows what how well the player measured relative to the average of a player of his height, or other measurements, based upon size specific algorithms.

Physical Attributes
Name Height Inches no Shoes Height Inches w/shoes Weight Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width
Nerlens Noel 82 83.75 206 4.2% 9.5 10
Cody Zeller 82.75 84.25 230 4.8% 8.5 10.5
Gorgui Dieng 81.75 82.75 230 5.4% 9 10
Steven Adams 82.75 84 255 6.7% 9.5 11
Mason Plumlee 83.25 84.5 238 6.2% 9.75 9.5
Alex Len 85 86.25 255 6.4% 9 10.75
Jeff Withey 82.75 84.5 222 8.7% 9 9.75
Kelly Olynyk 82.75 84 234 6.7% 8.5 10
Mike Muscala 82.25 83.5 230 6.8% 8.5 9
Rudy Gobert 84.5 86 238 4.4% 9.75 10
Zeke Marshall 82.66 84 235
Lucas Nogueira 81.89 83.07 215 5.7%
Bojan Dubljevic 80.5 81.5 242
Jack Cooley 81.5 82 249 7.0% 8.5 9.25
DeWayne Dedmon 82 83.5 239 8.4% 9 11
Alex Oriakhi 80 81.5 258 11.6% 8.25 9
Louis Labeyrie 81 81.75 191
Brandon Davies 80.5 82.25 242 8.6% 9 11
Colton Iverson 82.5 84 263 9.6% 9.25 9.5
Marko Todorovic 81.67 83 240
Length
Name Wingspan Inches Reach in Inches No Step Vert Reach Max Vert Reach No Step Vert Max Vert
Nerlens Noel 87.75 110
Cody Zeller 82.75 106 141.5 143.5 35.5 37.5
Gorgui Dieng 87.5 111.5
Steven Adams 88.5 109.5 138 142.5 28.5 33
Mason Plumlee 83 108 138.5 144 30.5 36
Alex Len 87.5
Jeff Withey 86 110.5 137 139.5 26.5 29
Kelly Olynyk 81.75 108 132.5 137.5 24.5 29.5
Mike Muscala 85 108 136 141.5 28 33.5
Rudy Gobert 92.5 115 140 144 25 29
Zeke Marshall
Lucas Nogueira 88.98 110.63 139.03 138.63 28.4 28
Bojan Dubljevic 85 107.5 130.5 135 23 27.5
Jack Cooley 86 107 134 139.5 27 32.5
DeWayne Dedmon 88 109 137 141.5 28 32.5
Alex Oriakhi 87.75 108 135 140.5 27 32.5
Louis Labeyrie 82.75 107 135.5 139 28.5 32
Brandon Davies 85.5 108.5 134.5 140 26 31.5
Colton Iverson 86 110
Marko Todorovic

Athleticism
Name No Step Vert Max Vert Bench Agility Sprint
Nerlens Noel
Cody Zeller 35.5 37.5 17 10.82 3.15
Gorgui Dieng
Steven Adams 28.5 33 16 11.85 3.4
Mason Plumlee 30.5 36 14 10.89 3.29
Alex Len
Jeff Withey 26.5 29 10 12.49 3.47
Kelly Olynyk 24.5 29.5 5 11.42 3.59
Mike Muscala 28 33.5 5 11.76 3.44
Rudy Gobert 25 29 7 12.85 3.57
Zeke Marshall
Lucas Nogueira 17.6 20.9 3.67
Bojan Dubljevic 23 27.5 11.98 3.67
Jack Cooley 27 32.5 18 11.5 3.58
DeWayne Dedmon 28 32.5 8 12.75 3.4
Alex Oriakhi 27 32.5 20 11.87 3.45
Louis Labeyrie 28.5 32 11.32 3.49
Brandon Davies 26 31.5 7 11.22 3.5
Colton Iverson 12
Marko Todorovic

Name Weight > than standard Body Fat % < than Standard Wingspan > than standard Reach > than standard Vertical > than standard Speed > than standard Agility > than standard Greater # bench reps than avg
Nerlens Noel -32 -1.5% 1.11 0.41
Cody Zeller -10 -3.2% -4.41 -4.24 9.61 0.12 0.84 0
Gorgui Dieng -6 -2.8% 1.89 3.22
Steven Adams 16 -3.7% 1.6 -0.41 0.81 0.03 0.12 3
Mason Plumlee -11 0.1% -3.76 -2.2 6.21 0.07 0.81 -1
Alex Len 1 -1.7% -1.06
Jeff Withey -19 1.6% -1.42 -0.07 -0.41 0.04 -0.34 2
Kelly Olynyk -5 -1.7% -5.15 -1.91 -1.08 -0.06 0.75 -6
Mike Muscala -8 -1.3% -1.38 -1.26 1.41 -0.02 0.16 -6
Rudy Gobert -16 -1.2% 4.2 2.84 -2.07 0.02 -0.52 2
Zeke Marshall -4
Lucas Nogueira -22 -1.0% 3.04 1.93 0.56
Bojan Dubljevic 10 0.0% -0.08 0.41 -5.7 -0.22 0.12
Jack Cooley 16 -3.2% 1.17 -0.3 0.09 -0.21 0.23 5
DeWayne Dedmon 1 -0.5% 1.62 -0.26 0.47 0.02 -0.83 -3
Alex Oriakhi 26 0.3% 2.67 0.91 -2.63 -0.04 0.04 6
Louis Labeyrie -42 0.0% -1.82 0.03 2.61 -0.17 0.29
Brandon Davies 8 -0.7% -0.36 0.42 -2.87 -0.05 0.86 -5
Colton Iverson 24 -1.6% -0.9 0.09
Marko Todorovic 4

Among the notable bits of data
The tallest player without shoes is Rudy Gobert at 7-0 1/2"
The heaviest player is Colton Iverson at 263 lbs.
The lightest player is Nerlens Noel at 206 lbs.
The player with the largest hands is Steven Adams with a 9.5" length and an 11" width
If you sum all of the "LENGTH" measurements the player with the greatest aggregate length is Cody Zeller.
By far the best leaper, exceeding the average vertical for someone of his size by 9.61", is Cody Zeller. This is an extraordinary result, and explains why Zeller has the greatest aggregate "LENGTH".
The best athlete is Cody Zeller. He had the best vertical, did the second most bench reps, was the fastest in the 3/4 court sprint, and was the fastest in the agility drill.

Included below is the projected 3 year average statistical line for each of the players. They are broken down into specific categories, 1.) Shooting, 2.) Accumulation per 36 minutes, 3.) % Rate Stats, and 4.) Advanced Measurements.
SHOOTING EFFICIENCY
Name FG% 2P% 3P% FT% TS% eFG%
Nerlens Noel 49.8% 50.2% 22.1% 66.8% 53.3% 50.0%
Cody Zeller 49.6% 49.9% 23.2% 69.3% 53.9% 49.7%
Gorgui Dieng 47.5% 48.2% 25.0% 67.8% 51.9% 47.9%
Steven Adams 51.5% 51.7% 16.7% 61.2% 53.8% 51.6%
Mason Plumlee 50.9% 51.2% 21.6% 67.3% 54.6% 51.0%
Alex Len 48.1% 48.5% 24.2% 68.6% 52.0% 48.5%
Jeff Withey 49.5% 50.1% 0.0% 70.5% 53.8% 49.8%
Kelly Olynyk 49.3% 50.5% 32.6% 73.4% 54.7% 50.7%
Mike Muscala 46.5% 47.2% 29.6% 72.8% 51.6% 47.2%
Rudy Gobert 53.6% 54.9% 36.2% 68.0% 57.8% 54.9%
Zeke Marshall 52.8% 53.1% 11.1% 66.6% 56.1% 52.9%
Lucas Nogueira 51.4% 51.6% 17.3% 69.4% 54.8% 51.4%
Bojan Dubljevic 46.5% 48.0% 34.0% 77.2% 52.8% 48.9%
Jack Cooley 49.0% 49.6% 28.0% 71.2% 53.1% 49.5%
DeWayne Dedmon 48.4% 48.9% 26.9% 66.6% 52.0% 48.7%
Alex Oriakhi 49.0% 49.2% 15.0% 70.3% 53.5% 49.1%
Louis Labeyrie 48.6% 50.3% 31.9% 69.2% 53.3% 50.3%
Brandon Davies 47.3% 48.1% 35.7% 70.4% 52.3% 48.7%
Colton Iverson 50.2% 50.5% 6.7% 64.5% 53.4% 50.3%
Marko Todorovic 48.2% 49.3% 35.2% 70.2% 53.6% 49.3%

ACCUMULATION STATS PER 36 MINUTES
Name ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Nerlens Noel 3.1 6.6 9.6 1.6 1.1 2.0 1.8 3.9 13.3
Cody Zeller 3.3 6.3 9.5 2.0 1.0 1.2 2.4 3.9 15.4
Gorgui Dieng 3.5 6.1 9.8 2.0 1.1 1.8 2.4 4.2 13.2
Steven Adams 3.7 5.9 9.5 1.3 0.8 1.8 1.8 4.1 12.2
Mason Plumlee 3.2 7.0 10.1 2.0 1.0 1.1 2.5 4.2 14.0
Alex Len 3.2 6.3 9.7 1.7 0.8 2.2 2.3 5.0 13.7
Jeff Withey 3.0 6.3 9.3 1.7 0.9 2.1 1.9 3.9 14.5
Kelly Olynyk 2.6 6.0 8.7 2.6 0.9 1.1 2.5 3.7 16.2
Mike Muscala 3.1 6.3 9.6 2.0 0.9 1.3 1.8 3.9 13.7
Rudy Gobert 2.9 5.8 8.9 1.6 0.8 1.9 2.2 4.1 13.5
Zeke Marshall 3.2 5.6 8.6 1.3 0.9 2.4 2.1 4.7 13.7
Lucas Nogueira 3.4 5.0 8.5 1.4 0.8 1.5 1.6 4.1 13.4
Bojan Dubljevic 2.7 5.2 7.9 1.9 1.1 0.6 2.1 4.3 15.6
Jack Cooley 3.6 5.5 9.3 1.6 0.9 1.0 1.7 4.6 12.5
DeWayne Dedmon 3.3 5.9 9.5 1.5 1.0 1.6 1.9 4.8 12.3
Alex Oriakhi 3.7 5.6 9.5 1.5 0.8 1.3 2.0 4.1 12.8
Louis Labeyrie 3.1 5.4 8.7 1.8 1.1 0.7 1.5 3.8 12.6
Brandon Davies 2.5 5.3 7.7 2.2 1.0 0.9 2.2 4.2 15.2
Colton Iverson 3.6 6.8 10.4 1.8 0.8 1.2 2.0 4.7 12.1
Marko Todorovic 3.3 5.5 8.9 1.8 0.9 1.3 2.0 4.1 12.0

% RATE STATS BASED UPON BASKETBALL REFERENCE FORMULAS
Name ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
Nerlens Noel 9.7% 20.9% 15.3% 7.3% 1.5% 4.2% 12.0% 18.4%
Cody Zeller 10.2% 19.0% 14.2% 8.3% 1.4% 2.3% 14.5% 18.7%
Gorgui Dieng 10.5% 18.3% 14.5% 8.3% 1.6% 3.3% 14.0% 17.4%
Steven Adams 11.9% 18.3% 15.2% 5.4% 1.2% 3.7% 13.3% 16.2%
Mason Plumlee 10.0% 21.6% 15.6% 8.0% 1.3% 2.2% 15.4% 18.1%
Alex Len 10.2% 19.5% 15.0% 6.8% 1.1% 4.1% 14.9% 17.5%
Jeff Withey 9.3% 19.7% 14.3% 7.2% 1.2% 4.2% 12.6% 18.6%
Kelly Olynyk 8.4% 18.6% 13.7% 10.7% 1.2% 2.1% 15.1% 19.2%
Mike Muscala 9.5% 20.4% 14.9% 8.7% 1.2% 2.5% 11.8% 18.6%
Rudy Gobert 9.1% 17.6% 13.4% 6.3% 1.1% 3.5% 14.8% 16.5%
Zeke Marshall 10.0% 17.0% 13.3% 5.7% 1.3% 4.5% 14.4% 16.7%
Lucas Nogueira 11.3% 15.8% 13.7% 5.7% 1.2% 3.1% 12.2% 15.5%
Bojan Dubljevic 8.2% 15.2% 11.6% 7.9% 1.5% 1.2% 12.9% 17.9%
Jack Cooley 11.3% 16.7% 14.4% 6.4% 1.2% 1.9% 11.9% 16.5%
DeWayne Dedmon 10.6% 18.6% 14.7% 6.1% 1.5% 3.2% 13.8% 15.9%
Alex Oriakhi 11.7% 18.0% 15.0% 6.6% 1.1% 2.5% 13.5% 16.5%
Louis Labeyrie 10.3% 16.8% 14.1% 6.8% 1.4% 1.6% 11.7% 14.5%
Brandon Davies 8.0% 16.6% 12.2% 9.6% 1.4% 1.7% 13.5% 19.2%
Colton Iverson 11.1% 20.4% 16.2% 7.4% 1.1% 2.3% 15.4% 16.2%
Marko Todorovic 10.8% 17.2% 14.3% 7.5% 1.3% 2.7% 16.0% 14.8%

ADVANCED STATS
Name PER ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS WS/48
Nerlens Noel 17.0 106.1 93.6 6.5 8.4 13.9 0.118
Cody Zeller 15.3 103.9 109.7 5.8 6.5 12.7 0.097
Gorgui Dieng 14.9 103.1 101.3 3.4 7.5 11.1 0.097
Steven Adams 14.8 103.7 99.3 5.5 5.9 11.5 0.112
Mason Plumlee 15.0 105.7 105.5 5.5 5.9 11.7 0.100
Alex Len 13.8 101.2 102.9 3.3 6.0 9.2 0.093
Jeff Withey 16.7 110.4 98.7 7.2 7.0 13.7 0.123
Kelly Olynyk 14.4 107.2 106.6 7.1 6.6 13.5 0.099
Mike Muscala 15.1 103.6 99.4 6.6 6.2 12.8 0.099
Rudy Gobert 14.3 109.2 104.8 4.8 7.1 12.2 0.104
Zeke Marshall 14.9 114.0 106.3 4.4 6.1 10.6 0.110
Lucas Nogueira 13.5 113.3 104.1 6.2 5.7 11.8 0.123
Bojan Dubljevic 13.5 108.3 109.5 4.9 4.1 9.0 0.100
Jack Cooley 13.1 112.5 102.9 4.8 4.9 9.5 0.100
DeWayne Dedmon 13.8 106.3 100.7 5.0 5.7 10.5 0.115
Alex Oriakhi 13.8 107.2 101.8 6.5 5.9 12.3 0.109
Louis Labeyrie 12.9 106.9 103.8 5.0 3.8 8.7 0.108
Brandon Davies 14.1 104.0 106.4 5.5 5.2 10.6 0.094
Colton Iverson 13.4 104.2 104.3 5.6 5.2 10.7 0.102
Marko Todorovic 12.4 107.8 101.2 5.2 4.8 9.8 0.104

My methodology is based upon using a players physical attributes, and his actual collegiate or European statistics to find the best comparable players from the past to that potential draftee. I then use the actual progression and performance in the NBA of these comparable players to predict a potential draftees NBA performance. Because the process I use is driven by comps, I am very rigid in the "comp process". I do not try and find standard relationships that I apply to all players in some specific algorithm.
It is often said that some particular stat projects well into the NBA. While that may be true, you can always find lots of examples that are exceptions to every rule. I believe that often times the reason these exception exist is related to other measurables. By this I mean to say that while a strong correlation may exist between one stat and future NBA performance, that doesn't mean that it is a direct causal relationship. There may be a number of reasons why rebounding does or does not translate, or there may be positive and negative correlations. You may be able to find an algorithm that expresses one specific statistic very well (through a very high r2), it may only work well for some positions, and not all positions. In other words not all players in the population of potential NBA players will project appropriately using a specific algorithm.
My process is based upon finding, in essence, a specific algorithm for each and every player. The process of finding the comps is in many ways the same as doing a multiple linear regression, except rather than using that MLR to find a common algorithm for all players, I find one specific for each and every player. My logic may be flawed, and my success so far may be a combination of blind luck, or it may be that I am actually overstating the accuracy of my results, but I will let others be the judge of that. The process is certainly a work-in-progress, and it is not a complete or finished product. I am and will continue to work to improve it.
As I have said, the basis of everything I do is the comps analysis. I do this because I believe it helps people better understand a potential draftee in aggregate. So when evaluating a potential draftee, I want to stay true to the comp process, and express the draftee's comps in aggregate. What kind of players in general does he comp to, how much variation is there within the comps. The following table is a shows the complete breakdown of each players comps based upon the quality of the comps, a measure of value of the comps, and the degree of variation amongst the comps. The aggregate weighted comp score is a way to view all of a players comps in one value, and the higher this number is the better. An average NBA player has a comp score of 10. Std Dev. is the deviation a player has, and the lower this number is, the greater the probability a potential draftee will produce to his projected stat line. The Std Dev. is large relative to the Avg Comp score because of the way I weighed the various categories. I placed significant weight on All-Star, and I also weighed a Washout as a negative value. Whenever possible you want to draft future All-Stars, and you always want to avoid drafting future washouts. This will by it's nature create a high value for Std. Dev. The key is to just place these values into their appropriate context. For instance, based upon comps Gorgui Dieng looks to have a slightly lower downside risk than Cody Zeller, he has nowhere near the upside potential that Cody Zeller has.
Average of top 80 4.0% 7.4% 41.7% 25.6% 21.3% 5.86 6.88
Name All Star Very Good NBA player Average NBA Player Below Average Washout Aggregate weighted Comp Score Aggregate weighted comp Std. Dev.
Nerlens Noel 14% 14% 41% 16% 15% 9.72 8.51
Cody Zeller 20% 18% 30% 25% 8% 11.50 8.41
Gorgui Dieng 8% 8% 41% 43% 0% 9.38 5.34
Steven Adams 8% 6% 45% 27% 15% 7.81 7.38
Mason Plumlee 9% 15% 36% 23% 18% 8.31 8.13
Alex Len 6% 8% 38% 41% 8% 8.13 6.25
Jeff Withey 11% 18% 20% 21% 30% 7.00 9.72
Kelly Olynyk 8% 18% 18% 40% 18% 7.38 8.09
Mike Muscala 3% 21% 42% 14% 20% 7.72 7.42
Rudy Gobert 11% 2% 31% 41% 15% 7.50 7.95
Zeke Marshall 5% 10% 31% 39% 15% 7.06 7.00
Lucas Nogueira 3% 13% 26% 26% 33% 4.81 7.87
Bojan Dubljevic 0% 3% 68% 13% 18% 6.88 5.75
Jack Cooley 3% 3% 50% 40% 5% 7.75 4.65
DeWayne Dedmon 5% 10% 40% 18% 28% 6.25 8.16
Alex Oriakhi 5% 2% 37% 34% 23% 5.78 7.32
Louis Labeyrie 0% 15% 43% 13% 30% 5.63 7.47
Brandon Davies 0% 8% 51% 21% 20% 6.31 6.21
Colton Iverson 5% 10% 23% 35% 28% 5.38 7.99
Marko Todorovic 3% 13% 24% 31% 30% 4.94 7.71

PLAYER RANKINGS
#1 - Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel is clearly the best Center in this draft, and in my opinion he is the best player in this draft. He is not to the level of Anthony Davis, but he is the best player available at #1. Overall on a composite statistical basis, weighted by the projected minutes he will play and his age, Noel ranked #1 overall. There is some risk with Noel, as he has 3 comps who were washouts, and 5 who were or are below average NBA players. At the same time he also has 5 comps who have played in multiple all-star games, and 3 others who will, or if healthy would have (Noah, Davis and Oden).
#2 - Cody Zeller
If Cody Zeller came out last year, he very well may have been drafted #2 overall. He has fallen in many mock drafts, to as low as #12. There is no question Cody Zeller is the second best player in the this draft. As a Trailblazer fan early on I was of the opinion that if Zeller and Steven Adams were available that I would choose Adams. I no longer feel that way. If Zeller is available at #10 the Trailblazer's should take him without hesitation. He will be the best player available at every draft spot except #1. Cody Zeller have a 38% chance of being an All-Star or a very good NBA player, and a 68% probability of being league average or better. He has only an 8% probability of washing out, with only 2 of his comps failing to make it 3 seasons. That is clearly the best comp score. Is he the best fit for Portland? Perhaps not, but why take a player who in all probability won't be as good, just because he is a better fit in the short-term?
#3 - Gorgui Dieng
Gorgui Dieng is clearly worthy of a lottery pick, even if he is projected to fall into the late lottery or out of it completely. Dieng is closer to a finished product as you will find in this draft. Statistically Dieng will not blow you away, but he will contribute immediately. As noted above, Dieng has a lower risk than most other draftees, but he also has a lower upside.
#4 - Steven Adams
Steven Adams is clearly one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. He played at a very low level in high school in New Zealand, but in limited minutes he acquitted himself nicely in one year at Pittsburgh. Adams is most notable for his impressive physical attributes, his length, and his athleticism. Statistically Adams shot well in college, showed himself to be an excellent offensive rebounder, an excellent shot blocker and someone who is able to contribute defensively without committing a lot of personal fouls. While Dieng did not have a single comp who washed out, Adams had 5 players who did. As a result he projects better statistically than Dieng, but some of that no doubt is based upon the fact that was able to eliminate the 5 worst players (his washouts) by his third year. I believe Adams has the better upside, but the risk is lower with Dieng, and that is why I have rated Adams below Dieng. I believe he is worth the risk of a later lottery pick, based upon his potential upside, but it would be a stretch to take him before #10. The NBA has slowly evolved, and you are beginning to see a number of NBA teams move young prospects to the D-League to get significant playing time as rookies. I believe that will be the case with Adams in most draft scenarios, he will spend a large proportion of the season in the D-League to gain seasoning.
#5 - Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee is first and foremost a very good athlete. He does not have a long wingspan or reach, but he makes up for some of that with excellent leaping ability. In aggregate his length (including his leaping ability) is 3rd of all the players in the draft. His aggregate athleticism is the second best amongst the centers in this draft. Plumlee has shown himself to be an efficient shooter with a 63% TS% at Duke, and based upon his comps he projects to be efficient in the NBA. He also projects to be the best defensive rebounder as well as the best overall rebounder, and one of the better passers of this center group. On the other side of the coin Plumlee does not project as a shot blocker, and will probably struggle with committing personal fouls, and turnovers. Plumlee has high Std Dev relative to his aggregate comp score, so there is some risk that he will be underperform, but I believe he will be a good solid league average big man. He is a mid to late teen level pick.
#6 - Alex Len
Alex Len is one player where my methodology disagrees with the consensus belief. Len is rated the #1 overall prospect by Draft Express, and #6 overall by NBADraft.net, but my tool rates no better than #6 amongst centers. I have great respect for the opinions of the contributors on both of those sites, so don't look for me to challenge their assessments. I will follow Alex Len closely as he progresses. The reason my tool doesn't rate Len very highly is because of the nature of his comps. While Len has essentially the same top end projection as Adams and Dieng (14% very good and better), nearly 80% of his comps fall into the league average to below league average groupings. His list of comps is populated with players like, Jim McIlvaine, Luc Longley, George Zidek, Matt Gieger, Todd Fuller, Dwayne Schintzius, Evan Eschmeyer, Travis Knight, Cherokee Parks, and Eric Mobley. Why do so many of these type of players show up as comps? Frankly, because statistically Len was just a mediocre big man in college. He projects to be one of the poorest shooters of the center group, and about average as a FT shooter, an average rebounder, projects to commit a higher than average number of turnovers, and he projects to have the highest foul rate of any of the top centers. His most significant positive quality is shot blocking. In college when using the advanced measures like PER, EFF, and WS Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, Nerlens Noel, Kelly Olynyk, Zeke Marshall, Jeff Withey, and Mike Muscala, all clearly outperformed him. There is very little about Alex Len that says "Future Star".
#7 - Jeff Withey
Jeff Withey is one of the most difficult players to project. As a Freshman he played 3 minutes a game, as a sophomore 6 minutes a game, but he played at Kansas which had the Morris twins at the time. As a Junior his minutes increased to 26 per game, but he was clearly a 3rd or 4th fiddle with Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor one the team, even though his WS/48 was equal to Thomas Robinson. As a senior he became one of the two go-to guys with Ben McLemore. Statistically Withey projects very well, but that must be taken within the context of the overall comp score, and Std Dev. His Std Dev is by far the greatest of any center in the draft, and it is the highest of any of the top 80 players. So there is a clear risk with Withey, he could easily underperform. At the same time he has a very good set of high end comps (Ewing, Bosh, Camby, Noah, Bogut, Aldridge, and Splitter). In college Withey was an excellent shot blocker, only Noel exceeded his block rate last year, and for his career Withey averaged 5.4 blocks per 40 minutes. He projects to have a little better block rate than Len, while committing 3.9 PF to Len's 5.0 PF per 36 minutes. The key to Withey's success will be driven by his defense, and he projects to have a 3 year DRtg of 98.7, which is exceptional. I believe Withey will make it as a solid NBA big man, and if he slips into the early 20's or lower he would be an excellent pick.
#8 - Kelly Olynyk
Kelly Olynyk is in many ways a tale of two players. As a Sophomore Olynyk was clearly not a legit NBA prospect, his comp score would have been the worst of all the centers in this draft. Olynyk made the decision to redshirt a year, and came back with a vengeance, as his aggregate comp score graded him second overall. While I think it is fair to say that the RSJr Olynyk is what you should expect, and you can safely ignore his sophomore season, that opens you up to ignoring any players off season or down season. That I believe would be a mistake, but I will state that I believe Olynyk will be better than what his stat line and comps indicate Olynyk is not long, and he should be described as a below average athlete when compared to players of his size. He is a very good shooter, and has the best assist rate of any big man by a large margin. He is a below average rebounder, and shot blocker. Olynyk's success will be heavily dependent upon the situation he goes to. If he goes to a situation where he can exploit his strengths then he could have a very nice career. Because Olynyk has such a high St Dev he will have a greater degree of deviation from his projected stat line, but I honestly think he will out produce his stat line, especially if he goes to the right situation. I made reference to Olynyk playing for a coach like Rick Adelman when I did his player profile, and I believe he would thrive in that environment. If Jerry Sloan was still coaching, Olynyk would be his type of player, and I think Olynyk could thrive in SA alongside Tiago Splitter. If a team drafting in the teens was looking for a center, and Dieng, Adams, Plumlee an Olynyk were available, then the choice becomes clear. If you need offense, Olynyk is your choice. If you need rebounding and athleticism then it is Plumlee. If you need immediate help defensively you would choose Dieng, but if you are looking for a young big man with potential that you can develop then Adams would be the choice
#9 - Mike Muscala
Mike Muscala played at Bucknell of the Patriot League. He is quite different from Olynyk physically, as he is both longer and more athletic than Olynyk. Statistically he is a very good defender, and a very limited offensive player, while Olynyk will struggle defensively, but will be highly productive offensively. Muscala is projected to go very late in the first or in the top half of the second, and that is appropriate. If he is available in the early 40's he would be a very good selection.
#10 - Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert is rated #8 amongst centers by Draft Express, and #9 amongst centers by NBADraft.net. At the top end he is best case Dikembe Mutombo, but there is an 87% chance he will be league average or worse. Gobert has some flashes of brilliance, but that is all they are, flashes. He has shown himself to be an efficient shooter, but he has a very low usage rate, and I would expect his TS% to drop as his usage rate increase. For as long as he is, he is a mediocre rebounder, and really just an average shot blocker, (Noel, Whithey, Len, Adams, and Marshall all project to be better shot blockers. As I said before he is 3 to 4 times more likely to be Michael Olowakandi than Mutombo, or 3 to 4 times more likely to be Duane Causwell than Patrick Ewing. I don't believe he should be selected until very late in the first, or early in the second. I think overall Muscala grades out better.
#11 - Zeke Marshall
Zeke Marshall played 4 seasons at Akron of the Mid-American Conference. There are no physical similarities on him beyond height and weight. There is some commonality in comps for Marshall and Gobert, and overall Marshall and Gobert grade out in a similar way with regards to comps, but Gobert grades out a little better. There is a very high degree of similarity between Gobert's and Marshall's statistical projection. across the board they are very similar with Marshall surprisingly projecting to be the better shot blocker. He is a second round player.
#12 - Lucas Nogueira
Nogueira has been moving up draft boards aggressively of late, based upon a good showing in the Euro Camp. Statistically Nogueira grades out pretty well, but that is too a large degree driven by the fact that 14 of his 40 comp seasons were for players who washed out. That is why it is important to look at the comp score as well as a statistical projection. Overall Nogueria projects to have a lower top end than Zeke Marshall, and has a higher risk at the low end. Compared to a player like Jack Cooley, Nogueria is probably a risk worth taking. Cooley has almost no real upside, but Nogueria does. Nogueria is rated as the #10 prospect overall by NBADraft.net, which is hard for me to accept. He is a good shooter, but gets his high shooting rates through a low usage rate. He projects to be a poor rebounder, a middle of the pack shot blocker, and also projects to be a player who will regularly be in foul trouble. He is far to great of a risk to take as high as #10, regardless of how nice he has looked at the Euro Camp. He is a second round talent, there is just to much risk with him.
#13 Bojan Dubljevic
Bojan Dubljevic is a typical second round Euro that is worth taking a flier on. Dubljevic projects to be a below average defender, but he has a nice array of offensive skills. He can shoot the 3, gets to the FT line a lot. As a result he will have a nice offensive rating, but he projects to be below average defensively. Players like Bojan Dubljevic are nice players to select late in the second round. He can play in the league, as he has a comp rating of 70% league average or better, he can play two positions, but he can remaining Europe for a couple of years. Worst case he can be a player you can use as a throw-in for a trade.
#14 - #20
Jack Cooley, Dwayne Dedmon, Alex Oriahki, Louis Labeyrie, Brandon Davies, Colton Iverson, and Marko Todorovic are marginal prospects. Cooley, Oriahki and Dedmon probably have the best chance of playing a couple of years in the league as they all have some defensive skills, focused around rebounding and in Dedmon's case shot blocking. The rest are not legit prospects.
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