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June 24, 2010
Drafting by Similarity
Pick Comparisons

by Kevin Pelton

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I regret that, because of my work within the NBA, I'm unable to bring you a full preview of tonight's NBA Draft as I did last season. To give some idea of what the numbers have to say about this year's college prospects, what I can offer is the most similar player at the same age from my college database (going back to 2000) for each, as well as the level of similarity (with perfect being 100) and some brief commentary. For more on the method, see last year's draft preview.

Players are ranked by their current spot in DraftExpress' mock draft.

 1   John Wall             Derrick Rose (97.5)
We start off with an excellent comparison. I went more in-depth to explore how Wall's numbers from his lone season at Kentucky compared to his John Calipari predecessors Rose and Tyreke Evans earlier this season.

 2   Evan Turner           Brandon Roy (91.7)
Another natural comparison. Roy was one of the players I compared Turner to in an Every Play Counts breakdown prior to the NCAA Tournament.

 3   Wesley Johnson        J.R. Giddens (97.2)
A considerably less favorable comp. Johnson's age (he'll be 23 by the time summer-league play tips off) is a red flag.

 4   Derrick Favors        Chris Bosh (97.3)
A lot of these at the top worked out very nicely in terms of natural comparisons. Favors is, like Bosh, an immensely talented one-and-done power forward from Georgia Tech who may be more ready for the NBA than conventionally believed.

 5   DeMarcus Cousins      Michael Beasley (95.1)
The enormous talent with question marks ... yeah, that fits.

 6   Greg Monroe           J.J. Hickson (95.8)
Personally, I prefer Monroe's second comp, Andrew Bogut. Hickson is a bit of a head-scratcher.

 7   Ed Davis              Cedric Simmons (96.1)
 8   Al-Farouq Aminu       Luol Deng (96.7)
Funny in that the Clippers are widely rumored to be taking Aminu, but Chris Broussard reported L.A. might instead swap picks with Chicago to land Deng.

 9   Luke Babbitt          Troy Murphy (97.4)
10   Ekpe Udoh             Loren Woods (96.6)
11   Xavier Henry          Thaddeus Young (98.7)
Would you believe that this is the single strongest comparison between two players in the entire draft? Henry and Young are even both left-handed, though the former is a far superior shooter and much more of a perimeter player.

12   Paul George           Joe Johnson (94.9)
13   Patrick Patterson     D.J. White (95.1)
14   Cole Aldrich          Emeka Okafor (96.7)
15   Gordon Hayward        Marcus A. Williams (97.8)
16   Damion James          David West (97.3)
17   Larry Sanders         Jason Thompson (96.3)
18   Avery Bradley         Dajuan Wagner (95.1)
19   Eric Bledsoe          Jordan Farmar (93.6)
20   Solomon Alabi         Jason Thompson (95.8)
21   Daniel Orton          Robin Lopez (91.0)
23   Hassan Whiteside      Brendan Haywood (89.4)
It's difficult to find good comps for Whiteside because his block percentage, even adjusted for strength of schedule, was so far off the charts. He's expected to send back 8.4 percent of opponents' two-point tries next year. That would have led the NBA in 2009-10, when JaVale McGee was the only player north of 8.0 percent.

24   Dominique Jones       Chris Douglas-Roberts (96.9)
25   Elliot Williams       Maurice Williams (98.0)
27   Jordan Crawford       Ben Gordon (97.2)
28   Greivis Vasquez       Keith Bogans (94.6)
29   Quincy Pondexter      Desmond Mason (97.7)
This one actually makes a lot of sense, though I can't say it entirely warms my purple and gold heart.

30   James Anderson        Chris Douglas-Roberts (96.4)
31   Stanley Robinson      Ronald Dupree (96.6)
32   Terrico White         Bill Walker (92.3)
33   Darington Hobson      Luke Walton (95.7)
34   Trevor Booker         David West (98.5)
35   Craig Brackins        Chris Jefferies (96.6)
36   Armon Johnson         Ramon Sessions (96.7)
37   Willie Warren         Ramon Sessions (96.0)
38   Devin Ebanks          Marcus A. Williams (96.7)
39   Gani Lawal            Jamaal Magloire (97.5)
40   Mikhail Torrance      Ramon Sessions (96.8)
Oddly, no current NBA player appears more often on this list than Sessions, to whom we can compare almost any point guard who goes in the upper half of the second round.

41   Lance Stephenson      Joe Johnson (95.3)
42   Jarvis Varnado        Emeka Okafor (95.0)
Look, you can land an All-Star and the former No. 2 overall pick in the second round!

43   Brian Zoubek          Chris Richard (89.2)
47   Samardo Samuels       Troy Murphy (97.2)
48   Tiny Gallon           J.J. Hickson (91.8)
51   Hamady Ndiaye         Loren Woods (89.0)
52   Derrick Caracter      David Lee (96.3)
54   Sherron Collins       Lionel Chalmers (97.8)
55   Artsiom Parakhouski   Lonny Baxter (96.3)
56   Jerome Jordan         Dan Gadzuric (97.2)
57   Lazar Hayward         Al Thornton (93.5)
58   Dexter Pittman        David Harrison (97.0)
59   Jerome Randle         Lionel Chalmers (97.2)
60   Luke Harangody        Brian Cook (96.8)

Join Kevin and the rest of the Basketball Prospectus crew to chat about the NBA Draft live tonight. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kpelton.

Kevin Pelton is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Kevin by clicking here or click here to see Kevin's other articles.

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