EDIT;I was reading Hollinger's article again and it dawned on me that the 439 for Gordon wasn't his rank, it was his score. Hollinger mislead me by going from giving players ranks to their scores.
That makes a big difference, but it's still not that good. Of course Gordon's a freshman too.
Here's the full article;
Draft Rater: Beasley has most pro potential among collegians
By John Hollinger
The numbers currently support the case of Kansas State's Michael Beasley being the top draft prospect.
Let's face it, the NBA is a busy place in February. But before we get too consumed by trades and All-Star weekend and playoff races and what not, let's take a step back and have another look at the draft. Actually, the fans of a few teams (hello, Heat fans!) will be more than happy to do this already as they look ahead to whom their teams might select this June
To review, last year I created a system to rate college players' pro potential based on their NCAA stats; earlier this year I updated that with a list of the top returnees from a year ago.
Now, with half a season of college stats under our belts, we can start evaluating players based on their performances this season.
Before we do, let's make sure you take this list with the proper mouthful of salt. Because this is based on a half-season, we're looking at samples of 400-600 minutes from most of these players. Thus, short-term flukes can have a dramatic impact on the rankings. Additionally, in a universe as vast as Division I college basketball, with minutes samples of this size, one should expect a couple of players who don't really belong to creep into the top of the list just by chance. In a couple of cases, it appears that is what might have happened.
Additionally, a lot of teams play cupcakes in the first half of the season and pad their stats against bad teams. I have a schedule adjustment in the rankings, but it's possible it doesn't deal with this harshly enough; we'll know better once we see the year-end rankings in April.
Finally, this whole system relies on heights and birthdates being correctly reported. If either isn't the case, then the whole thing blows up. With the reputation college heights have for being inflated, this factor is of particular concern.
Of the players on the list below, the one most vulnerable in that respect is the No. 2 prospect, Oklahoma's Blake Griffin. He's listed at 6-10 but some scouts suspect he's only 6-8; were that the case, he'd fall to the No. 6 spot.
Also, the No. 12 prospect, North Carolina's Ty Lawson, would drop to No. 15 if he's an inch shorter than his listed 6-0, as many surmise; and teammate Tyler Hansbrough would tumble out of the top 20 entirely if he turns out to be only 6-8.
With all that said, these would be the top 20 players if the draft were held today. I used a minimum of 400 minutes played this season to qualify. Note also that stats are through Monday, so it doesn't include more recent games, such as K-State's win over Kansas Wednesday night:
Title of data Player School Year Score Michael Beasley Kansas State Freshman 856 Blake Griffin Oklahoma Freshman 725 Kevin Love UCLA Freshman 724 Danny Green North Carolina Junior 649 James Harden Arizona State Freshman 642 Robbie Hummel Purdue Freshman 601 Jerryd Bayless Arizona Freshman 599 Andrew Ogilvy Vanderbilt Freshman 598 Ryan Anderson California Sophomore 586 Dar Tucker DePaul Freshman 583 DeJuan Blair Pittsburgh Freshman 582 Ty Lawson North Carolina Sophomore 566 Tyler Hansbrough North Carolina Junior 558 Matt Howard Butler Freshman 556 Chase Budinger Arizona Sophomore 547 Malik Hairston Oregon Senior 537 Tyler Smith Tennessee Sophomore 528 Roy Hibbert Georgetown Senior 527 Marreese Speights Florida Sophomore 526 Kosta Koufos Ohio State Freshman 525
Holy Freshmen, Batman! The first thing that jumps out is that nine of the top 11 players are freshmen, including the first three players on the list. This is indeed a highly regarded freshman class, led by consensus top pick Michael Beasley. By contrast, it's a somewhat lightly regarded class of returnees.
But the proportions are still a bit shocking. And this is without the celebrated freshmen who didn't make the cut (more on them in a minute), and one other freshman, Austin Daye of Gonzaga, falling 18 minutes short of the threshold (he would have been sixth).
Upperclassmen are an endangered species here. Only four cracked the top 20, and one of them, Danny Green of North Carolina, might be a short-term fluke. His numbers weren't nearly this good a year ago, and he barely cleared the 400-minute threshold. The highest-rated senior, Oregon's Malik Hairston, also looks fishy; he might have trouble keeping up his scintillating 65.2 true shooting percentage.
That said, I should point out that this list might become more balanced by the end of the year, since a number of upperclassmen who were considered strong draft candidates had rough starts to their seasons (more on that below).
The Pac-10 rules: Those of you who think the Pac-10 (or at least the nine Pac-10 teams that aren't located in Corvallis, Ore.) is the best conference in the country just got a whole lot of ammo to support your cause. Six of the top 17 players come from that league, representing five schools. Another Pac-10 player, Brook Lopez of Stanford, has a decent chance to crack the top 20 with more minutes. He missed the early part of the season when most of these guys were padding their stats against the St. Leo's and IUPUIs of the world, so his numbers don't look as good right now; he's only 30th.
What about the other freshmen? As I mentioned, several prominent freshmen aren't on the list right now. Derrick Rose pulled in at 25th, missing the cut partly because his assist ratio is so low the computer sees him as an undersized shooting guard. Syracuse's Donte Greene is 26th, with a very negative pure point ratio hurting his rating. It's easy to imagine both moving up the list as they get acclimated to the college game and spread the ball around a bit more.
EDIT; Here's where Hollinger changes from rank to score. I didn't catch it the first time around.
A few others face a longer road up the charts. O.J. Mayo (371) failed to impress, partly because he is already 20 years old, and partly because of his -1.82 pure point ratio. Let's just say he's got a lot of work to do if he's going to play point in the pros.
The system was beyond unimpressed with DeAndre Jordan (353), the Texas A&M freshman who has lured scouts with raw talent but isn't putting it to consistently effective use as a collegian. His four steals on the season were the least of any prospect, suggesting he might not be as athletic as we've been led to believe. Also, he averages a whopping six turnovers for every assist.
Indiana's Eric Gordon also scored far worse than expected (439), partly because the formula wonders how athletic a 6-5 guy can be when he has had only eight offensive rebounds all season, and partly because his other numbers are nice but hardly special.
Who the heck is Ö ? OK, there are four names on this list that nobody expected to be here. All four are freshmen who have played well in the early going. As I mentioned above, these could be outliers based on the small sample of minutes, but these players at least warrant tracking as the season goes on.
Let's start with DeJuan Blair, who is at least something of a prospect -- Chad Ford's big board has him at No. 91 right now. He is an undersized power forward in the Jason Maxiell mold, with an insane rebound rate (nearly one every two minutes) and a great nose for the ball (1.9 steals per game). Even with a ding for being an undersized 4, his numbers are eye-grabbers. But he is only 6-7 and he plays inside, so you can understand why NBA teams are skittish.
The others aren't even on the radar but have played extremely well in the early part of the season.
Dar Tucker is a 6-5 swingman for DePaul who has done a little bit of everything for a mediocre team. He is second on the team in scoring and rebounding even though he comes off the bench.
Robbie Hummel is a scrawny-looking forward for Purdue who is shooting 43.9 percent on 3-pointers and, more surprisingly, is leading the team in rebounding and blocked shots. Basically, he is a high-efficiency guy who has shown a surprising willingness to get his nose dirty.
Like Blair, Butler's Matt Howard is an undersized power forward (6-8, 225) who has been very effective in the basket area, ranking second in scoring for the nation's No. 12 team. Butler is way better than the rest of its league and won't play anyone of consequence until the NCAA Tournament, but it's worth noting that Howard played very well against good teams in the early season. In particular, he destroyed Ohio State with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, despite giving up several inches to the likes of Kosta Koufos and Othello Hunter.
Why does my computer hate all the bigs? No, my draft formula doesn't hate all big men Ö just the ones in this draft. Among players 6-10 or taller, only Oklahoma freshman Blake Griffin ranks in the top 15. The others? Not so much.
Looking at the big men in Chad Ford's top 30, we see only Roy Hibbert, Kosta Koufos and Marreese Speights appear in our top 20, at the back end, while others didn't even come close. Hibbert isn't having as good a season as he did a year ago, so he has slipped, while Koufos and Speights simply haven't done anything to wow the judges so far.
I already discussed DeAndre Jordan and Brook Lopez, but we can go right down the list. Darrell Arthur (446) was one of my highest-rated returnees, but he takes a hard ding for a substandard rebound rate and has been too turnover-prone, with nearly two a game. DeVon Hardin's stats (376) never have backed up the hype, and this season is no exception. Trent Plaisted's numbers (375) also leave a lot to be desired -- his low rates of blocks and steals are major negative indicators. JaVale McGee (387) has four turnovers for every assist, as does Hasheem Thabeet (339). Ouch.
What about those guys from last time? You'll notice that few names are the same from when I presented my list of the top returnees a few weeks ago. There's a reason for this -- a lot of them are really struggling. I dealt with Hibbert and Arthur above, but there's more where that came from.
Chase Budinger was the top returnee but has dropped several spots thanks to some worrisome ballhandling numbers in the early part of the season and a low rate of steals. Three "who dats?" on the list -- Stanford's Lawrence Hill, Arkansas's Patrick Beverley and Tennessee's Chris Lofton -- have been unable to come close to last year's pace and have tumbled well down the table.
Of the group, Ryan Anderson, Ty Lawson and Clemson's K.C. Rivers (who was 21st) are the only ones to come close to replicating their performances from a year ago. We'll see if they snap back in the second half.
Hollinger created this rating system last year and is still making tweaks to it, but it's already pretty good at picking players that will stand out from those who probably won't.