Weeding out potential busts in the NBA Draft
My favorite column in any newspaper is the "Keeping Score" column that occasionally appears in the Sunday New York Times Sports Section (the rest of the section usually blows, however). In it I discovered several of the inspirational sources for this blog (The Wages of Wins; footballoutsiders, etc.).
This week's column discussed a method for weeding out NFL draft prospects using an index of "measureables". This index was developed by the writers at footballoutsiders.com, and I believe that, in a different form, a similar method could have application to the NBA draft.
The particular method mentioned in the column involves the evaluation of NFL running backs. Specifically, the footballoutsiders have found that an index of each prospect's weight and 40 time can be used to determine the likelihood that the player will "carry" his collegiate production up with him to the professional ranks. (Notice, they don't use measureables as grading tools in and of themselves. The thrust of their evaluations remain focused on past production, as it should).
This sparked my interest because a while back I thought about using some kind of similar measurement as a companion to the evaluation system developed by Erich Doerr on The Wages of Wins Journal. Not that Erich's system neccessarily needs my correcting, he's done an outstanding job with it (I think he's established a production "carry" rate of something like 69%.)
Its just that, being a fan of one specific team, "outliers" like Adam Morrison and Kevin Durant... guys who don't "carry" 69% of their collegiate production up to the pros... scare me shitless. The Bucks can't afford to waste a high pick on a guy who turns out to be a "random" miss.
So I wanted to find some common warning signs that will tell us whether the player will carry his production at the normal rate. And like the footballoutsiders, I came to the conclusion that any such signs are embedded somewhere in a mix of variables. Which variables, and what the mix should be, those things I haven't yet fully determined. But at this point I'm leaning toward some mixture of the player's body weight, the player's standing reach, and his performance on the bench press. (At the very least a minimum threshold of strength and/or bulk is essential to the rebounding capacity of frontline players.)
But at this point its a work in progress, and I'm basically just thinking out loud.