This is Part 2 of my Draft Analysis. If you want to revisit the methodology and explanation, follow this link:
For the second installment, I'm taking a closer look at the history of the 13th pick. As with the previous, I based my analysis on the draft classes 1982 through 2007. Since one of our first round draft picks, Brandon Rush, was taken with the 13th pick, I thought I'd look a little closer at that draft position.
First, let's look back at my synopsis on the 12-17 picks grouping:
Rookie Awards - There have been no Rookies of the Year during this time frame. About 23% of #13's were named to either the 1st or 2nd rookie team, compared to 15% of all players taken between 12 and 17.
All Star Appearances - 4 draftees (Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Dale Davis, & Sleepy Floyd) in this group, or about 15%, have been named to at least one All-Star Game. 2 (8%, Bryant & Malone) have made multiple appearances.
All NBA Teams - Only about 8% (2, Kobe Bryant & Karl Malone) of this group have been named to at least one All NBA Team (1st, 2nd, or 3rd). Both of these have earned this honor multiple times.
All Defense Teams - Just two players in this group (8%, Kobe Bryant & Karl Malone) have been named to All Defense team (1st, 2nd, or 3rd), all of them earning multiple mentions.
Individual Awards - Though this is clearly an incomplete sample, no players have been inducted to the Hall of Fame from this group. Clearly, however, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant are sure-fire HOFer's.
Unsurprisingly, Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone have been named league MVP. There have been no Defensive Players of the Year, but Corliss Williamson earned Sixth Man of the Year, and Jalen Rose (with the Pacers) nabbed a Most Improved Player award. There have been no Finals MVP.
Here are the Group 1 (the stars) and Group 5 & 6 players...(the flops):Code:1. Group 1 7.7% 2. Grp 2 0.0% 3. Grp 3 19.2% 4. Grp 4 30.8% 5. Grp 5 30.8% 6. Grp 6 11.5%
Conclusion on the #13Group 1: Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant
Group 5: Thabo Sefolosha, Marcus Banks, Jeff Grayer, Pearl Washington, Ennis Whatley, Joe Wolf, Julian Wright, Courtney Alexander
Group 6: Sean May, Michael Smith, Marcus Haislip
There have been two pantheon players taken during this time frame @ 13: Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. They certainly help the percentages, but they are most certainly outliers.
There have been some good pros to be taken at 13 (Richard Jefferson, Sleepy Floyd, Dale Davis, Jay Humphries), but 92% of the players fell in to Group 3 or worse. Essentially, history says there's only a one in five chance of getting a Group 3 (Above Average, starting quality producer). Meanwhile, the chances of a flop are twice that.
Brandon Rush, the #13, and Rookie Production
The other thing I wanted to look at here is to see what kind of production this slot has given during the rookie year. While my overall sample had 26 years of draft class, I only had access to the game logs from the 1986-1987 season forward. Therefore the following analysis only has 23 in the sample.
It should be noted that the four players that were excluded (Sleepy Floyd, Ennis Whatley, Jay Humphries, and Karl Malone) were very productive players as rookies. In fact, Karl Malone had the highest AdjPR in the sample at 15.94, while Ennis Whatley's 12.78 would've been higher than anyone else in this sample. However, I wanted to track YTD production and show trends, and that data was not available to me.
So, with a series of Charts, I'm going to show you what the #13 looks like:
The Top 5 Players: 1. Jalen Rose (Den95); 2. Derek Anderson (Cle98); 3. Richard Jefferson (NJN02); 4. Dale Davis (Ind92); 5. Pearl Washington (NJN87)
The Bottom 5 Players (worst first): 1. Jeff Grayer (MIL89); 2. Marcus Haislip (MIL03); 3. Corliss Williamson (SAC96); 4. Sean May (CHA06); 5. Terry Dehere (94LAC)
The Fizzlers (Players who started strong, but faded): Jeff Grayer (MIL89); Joe Wolf (LAC88); Loy Vaught (LAC91); Sean May (CHA06)
Injuries played a huge role in three (Grayer, Wolf, & May), but Loy Vaught played in 73 games.
The Hockey Sticks (Slow starts, but climbing at the end): Jalen Rose (Den95); Sebastian Telfair (Por05); Kobe Bryant (LAL97); Courtney Alexander (Dal&Was01)
Now, obviously these are just rookie numbers. Pearl Washington had the 8th worst career among the 26 #13's sampled, while bottom five member Corliss Williamson became a Sixth MOY and a very productive player.
After compiling this data, I rolled in Brandon Rush's production through December 15th (the Wizards game). The chart below shows Brandon's performance, along with the best and worst (for the season), as well as a couple of players of interest:
Through last night, Brandon had played in 23 of 24 games for the Pacers, producing an AdjPR of 7.00. This is good for 9th among all #13's through 12/15 of their rookie year. If he stays at this level for his entire rookie season, he would finish right on the breaking point between Group 4 and Group 5, posting the 7th best season for #13's in the sample.
Though Group 4 is not a dream, we should probably be pleased with this production out of the #13 slot. It is above the median for the group, and there's good reason to be optimistic about Brandon himself. Despite briefly losing his spot in the rotation, his almost 23 minutes per game is 7th among #13's. Also, in the two games since returning to his spot in the rotation, he's posted Player Rater numbers of 16 and 13 (after only getting double digits in 3 of his previous 21 games).
This chart also shows a positive trend:
This is definitely early, but it is something I expect to updated on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for the rest of the season. The upward trendline is a positive sign, but, as shown in the "Fizzlers" above, it proves nothing yet.
As always, cold, hard numbers lack the ability to completely distill the qualities of a player. To this point, I've been very happy with Brandon Rush. I believe these numbers show him to be an above average #13 pick, and they cannot quantify what I consider to be one of his greatest strenghts: his on-the-ball defense.
Within the next week, I will repeat this exercise for Roy and the #17 pick. Once this is established, I should be able to update this tracking for the two of them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. (Assuming, of course, there's any interest in this.)