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NBA Draft (06/23)

June 23, 2011
NBA Draft
ATH Prospect Rankings, 1-50

by Bradford Doolittle

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Note: I didn't see any particular reason to write a new introduction from yesterday's piece, so I've pasted over, and tweaked, the same text as a lead-in to the rankings.

Call these draft rankings or call this a draft guide. Today, I unveil the remaining half of the top 100 players in my prospect database for Thursday's draft. Most of these players will be drafted, probably not all. I find the draft much more enjoyable when I know at least something about every player being taken. Or, when I have nothing, as it was when Cleveland took Christian Eyenga a couple of years ago, I like knowing when to be shocked.

To rank players, I've created a simple rating called PROSPECT. It's a mash of the ATH25 scores I introduced on Monday and a scouting-based rating. I've referred to ATH25 in this piece as STAT--it's a statistical rating of a player's standing within this draft class. The subjective rating is called SCOUT. Inventive, isn't it? STAT and SCOUT have equal weight in this system. It's the first year I've done this and I haven't back-tested the method. In the future, I'll be able to tweak the weights given to each side of the ledger.

The SCOUT score is based on the draft rankings of a number of sites throughout the Web. I've been collecting as many ranking lists as possible over the last few years, grabbing them during the lead-up to each year's draft. That's also how I compile my list of prospects for whom to do ATH translations.

This week, I did some spot-checking to identify the four sites that I consider to have the most useful ranking methodologies. Then I did some more rigourous testing with these four sites to give them each a different weight in my SCOUT formula--the better a site's past results, the more weight they get in the SCOUT scores. I'm not going to reveal which four sites I settled upon, nor am I going to reveal my study of their past results. I am not looking to advertise for anybody else, nor am I looking to call anybody out. These folks put in long hours studying draft prospects, both on video and in person. They've forgotten more about these players than I will ever know. I am merely attempting to assign a numerical rating to summarize the consensus view of each prospect from a traditional scouting perspective. Doing this will, in the future, allow me to correlate SCOUT and STAT with actual NBA results, giving me the tools to improve my system.

The numbers you see are percentile ranks. For example, take Brad Wanamaker, who has a PROSPECT of 61.5 (He's in the 61st percentile of this year's draft prospects), a SCOUT score of 51.5 (51st percentile from a subjective standpoint) and a STAT score of 62.5 (62nd percentile from an objective point of view). Obviously, as I'm using percentile ranks, 100.0 is the maximum and 0.0 is the minimum.

1. Kyrie Irving, 6_3 PG from Duke (PROSPECT: 100.0; SCOUT: 99.2; STAT: 100.0)
If you were hoping to find an out-of-the-box top prospect, we have to disappoint because Irving's numbers paint the picture of a player without a statistical weakness, with elite markers in several areas plus the best ATH score in the draft. He's a star.

2. Derrick Williams, 6_9 PF from Arizona (PROSPECT: 99.2; SCOUT: 100.0; STAT: 92.1)
Williams built an unassailable offensive profile in college, with elite abilities to create shots and get to the line, and his ATH scores suggest he'll be able to seamlessly translate those skills to the NBA; if, as he suggests, he can be a three at the pro level, that is really exciting.

3. Bismack Biyombo, 6_9 PF from Spain (PROSPECT: 98.4; SCOUT: 93.0; STAT: 97.6)
Only 18 years old, Biyombo profiles as the best defensive player and shot blocker in the draft; his offensive skills are nil but, again, he's so young that it's easy to dream about him developing on that end. Where Biyombo lands will be one of the most intriguing storylines in Thursday's first round.

4. Tristan Thompson, 6_9 PF from Texas (PROSPECT: 97.6; SCOUT: 90.7; STAT: 98.4)
Young enough that his upside is considerable, Thompson is the complete package on the defensive end and his athletic indicators suggest that his offensive development will be limited only by his ability to develop a perimeter shooting touch.

5. Alec Burks, 6_6 SG from Colorado (PROSPECT: 96.9; SCOUT: 93.8; STAT: 91.4)
Mark my words: Burks will be a big-time NBA scorer, with elite scores in shot creation, offensive efficiency, foul drawing and athleticism, all compiled against very good competition.

6. Kenneth Faried, 6_8 PF from Morehead State (PROSPECT: 96.1; SCOUT: 85.3; STAT: 99.2)
Faried may be this draft's DeJuan Blair, with statistical indicators so exciting that you think he's criminally underrated but I can state this with a high degree of confidence: Faried is far and away the best rebounder in this draft.

7. Kemba Walker, 6_1 PG from Connecticut (PROSPECT: 95.3; SCOUT: 96.9; STAT: 86.7)
It's hard to look at Walker's translations and body type and not think of Chris Paul; his athletic indicators suggest he can be every bit that type of player and if as rumored he slides down the draft board on Thursday, some team is going to have a major talent fall into its lap.

8. Chris Singleton, 6_9 SF from Florida State (PROSPECT: 94.6; SCOUT: 90.0; STAT: 90.6)
Not surprisingly, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year profiles as an elite NBA wing defender; his offense doesn't translate as well, but I'm guessing that his metrics were dragged down by Leonard Hamilton's system at FSU.

9. Donatas Motiejunas, 7_0 PF from Lithuania (PROSPECT: 93.8; SCOUT: 91.5; STAT: 88.2)
Another Euro prospect who probably won't play in the league this season, Motiejunas breaks the mold: he profiles more as a volume scorer than an efficient spot-up shooter.

10. Kawhi Leonard, 6_7 SF from San Diego State (PROSPECT: 93.0; SCOUT: 94.6; STAT: 82.0)
With his translations as a rebounder, passer and shot creator, Leonard has the potential fill up the stat line as well as any player in the draft.

11. Tobias Harris, 6_8 SF from Tennessee (PROSPECT: 92.3; SCOUT: 88.4; STAT: 77.3)
With solid across-the-board indicators, Harris could turn out to be more tweener than combo forward, with an upside as a rotation player but not a starter.

12. Marshon Brooks, 6_5 SG from Providence (PROSPECT: 91.5; SCOUT: 77.6; STAT: 87.5)
Brooks' exciting athleticism combines with enough offensive skill to project a plus scorer at the NBA level.

13. Marcus Morris, 6_9 PF from Kansas (PROSPECT: 90.7; SCOUT: 92.3; STAT: 72.6)
Marcus will be a rotation player in the NBA, though his ceiling is limited; his ATH translations suggest that what he was at Kansas will be pretty much what he'll be in the NBA, which isn't bad.

14. Markieff Morris, 6_10 PF from Kansas (PROSPECT: 90.0; SCOUT: 86.1; STAT: 75.0)
Even though Markieff isn't as skilled as his brother, it wouldn't be a surprise if he turned out to be a more playable pro because of his ability to fill niches as a rebounder and shot blocker.

15. JaJuan Johnson, 6_10 PF from Purdue (PROSPECT: 89.2; SCOUT: 75.3; STAT: 89.0)
Not sure why Johnson isn't higher on the SCOUT scale; he's got terrific size and mobility, with excellent defensive indicators and face-up shooting ability.

16. Keith Benson, 6_11 PF from Oakland (PROSPECT: 88.4; SCOUT: 66.1; STAT: 96.8)
If Benson came from a bigger program, teams would be drooling over his defensive potential; all he needs is a little offensive instruction and a good weight-training regimine.

17. Travis Leslie, 6_4 SG from Georgia (PROSPECT: 87.6; SCOUT: 67.6; STAT: 93.7)
Though only Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker have better ATH scores than Leslie, he's still considered a long shot for the first round despite being one of the most exciting players in this draft; if he improves his jump shot he's got a chance to be this year's Landry Fields.

18. Jonas Valanciunas, 6_11 C from Lithuania (PROSPECT: 86.9; SCOUT: 95.3; STAT: 60.9)
The scouts love Valanciunas' potential and the stats see him as a highly-efficient offensive big man and top-flight rebounder; his contract status is murky, but it's unlikely he'll be able to play in the NBA this season.

19. Klay Thompson, 6_7 SG from Washington State (PROSPECT: 86.1; SCOUT: 86.9; STAT: 68.7)
Late-lottery teams seem to be clamoring for Thompson, who profiles as a sharp shooter with an ability to occasionally create his own shot; his athletic indicators mark him as less than a sure thing.

20. Jimmer Fredette, 6_2 PG from Brigham Young (PROSPECT: 85.3; SCOUT: 88.4; STAT: 67.1)
I know my system slots Fredette even a little bit lower than his SCOUT score, but to me his ATH-based translations turned out surprisingly well, with strong enough athletic indicators to suggest he'll be able to convert a playable chunk of his usage rate to the professional level.

21. Jordan Williams, 6_9 C from Maryland (PROSPECT: 84.6; SCOUT: 72.3; STAT: 84.3)
Perhaps a bit undersized for an NBA interior player, Williams will almost certainly be an elite-level rebounder right from the get-go at the professional level.

22. Trey Thompkins, 6_10 PF from Georgia (PROSPECT: 83.8; SCOUT: 73.8; STAT: 80.4)
Thompkins has very good big man translations, but his ATH score throws into question whether he'll really hit those targets plus he projects as a very inefficient offensive player.

23. Jeremy Tyler, 6_9 PF from Japan (PROSPECT: 83.0; SCOUT: 74.6; STAT: 76.5)
Tyler's translations from Japan suggest that he's one of the best rebounders in the draft; I wouldn't put much stock in Japanese translations except that his ATH indicators slot him in almost exactly the same place the scouts have him ranked; I, for one, would love to see what Tom Thibodeau could make out of him on the Bulls.

24. Tyler Honeycutt, 6_8 SF from UCLA (PROSPECT: 82.3; SCOUT: 79.2; STAT: 70.3)
Honeycutt is the rare UCLA product whose numbers actually translate fairly well; he's got solid scores as a defender and you've got to love his ability to pass from the three position.

25. Charles Jenkins, 6_3 PG from Hofstra (PROSPECT: 81.5; SCOUT: 70.7; STAT: 78.1)
Jenkins has a well-rounded resume both from a scouting and statistical perspective, with potential as a floor general and potentially disruptive defender.

26. Jordan Hamilton, 6_8 SF from Texas (PROSPECT: 80.7; SCOUT: 86.9; STAT: 57.0)
Are Hamilton's poor athletic and defensive markers a product of how he was used at Texas or truly indicative of a guy that won't be much more than a jump shooter at the pro level? That's the question teams must answer.

27. Iman Shumpert, 6_6 PG from Georgia Tech (PROSPECT: 80.0; SCOUT: 70.0; STAT: 75.7)
Shumpert's size, athletic indicators and elite assist rate all suggest a neo-Lafayette Lever, which is a skillset that fits on just about any NBA roster.

28. Reggie Jackson, 6_3 PG from Boston College (PROSPECT: 79.2; SCOUT: 82.3; STAT: 63.2)
Jackson will get a long look in the late first round, early second round as possible third guard who can get his own shot and, possibly, hit the three-point shot.

29. Michael Dunigan, 6_10 C from Oregon (PROSPECT: 78.4; SCOUT: 50.0; STAT: 92.9)
A super sleeper, Dunigan played in Israel and Estonia last season after leaving Oregon and has all the statistical markers of a plus interior defender and banger.

30. Rick Jackson, 6_9 PF from Syracuse (PROSPECT: 77.6; SCOUT: 55.3; STAT: 82.8)
Jackson was a productive interior player at a power program but it's uncertain how much of his solid defensive indicators can be dimissed because he played so much zone in college.

31. Willie Reed, 6_9 PF from Saint Louis (PROSPECT: 76.9; SCOUT: 50.7; STAT: 85.9)
Reed didn't actually play last season at Saint Louis and bears the taint of character issues, but he's long and hyper-athletic.

32. Jan Vesely, 6_11 SF from Czech Republic (PROSPECT: 76.1; SCOUT: 95.3; STAT: 39.8)
Vesely could easily prove the stat translations wrong, but frankly I'm growing weary of these rangy European players that have such low degrees of applied athleticism; he'll go in the top 10 nevertheless.

33. Damian Saunders, 6_7 SF from Duquesne (PROSPECT: 75.3; SCOUT: 40.7; STAT: 96.0)
Saunders has little offensive skill at this point, but he rates as one of the most exciting defensive prospects among wing players in this draft class.

34. Kyle Singler, 6_9 SF from Duke (PROSPECT: 74.6; SCOUT: 77.6; STAT: 56.2)
You get the feeling that some team will overdraft Singler based on name recognition but his playability rests not only on his ability to stroke the NBA three consistently, but also on translating his athleticism to the degree that will allow him to get more than the occasional spot-up shot.

35. Jimmy Butler, 6_7 SF from Marquette (PROSPECT: 73.8; SCOUT: 65.3; STAT: 67.9)
Butler has a great back story, but he can play, too; his elite athletic indicators are going to land him an NBA role as a wing defender, floor runner and offensive slasher.

36. Norris Cole, 6_2 PG from Cleveland State (PROSPECT: 73.0; SCOUT: 73.0; STAT: 60.1)
While Cole has solid across-the-board indicators, he doesn't have that one standout statistical category that justifies his status as a scout's darling.

37. Nikola Vucevic, 7_0 C from USC (PROSPECT: 72.3; SCOUT: 83.0; STAT: 49.2)
Despite translating as a below-average athlete, Vucevic's predraft workouts seem to have moved him up the boards of many a team and it's not hard to understand why people look so closely: He's really big and there aren't many decent center prospects available.

38. Gary Flowers, 6_8 PF from Southern Miss (PROSPECT: 71.5; SCOUT: 46.1; STAT: 83.5)
Flowers is a sleeper, with a plus ability to create shots and good enough athletic indicators to suggest he can guard both forward positions; if he can step over and play the three on the offensive end, the team that drafts him may have something.

39. Greg Smith, 6_9 C from Fresno State (PROSPECT: 70.7; SCOUT: 56.1; STAT: 71.8)
Smith is an intriguing candidate as a shot-blocking and board-crashing energy big man coming off someone's bench and, as an added attraction, he's got freakishly big hands.

40. Nikola Mirotic, 6_10 PF from Serbia (PROSPECT: 70.0; SCOUT: 81.5; STAT: 46.8)
Mirotic fits the mold of a European stretch four--he's an iffy athlete with great length and range; in any event, his overseas contract means he won't be seen stateside any time soon.

41. Brandon Knight, 6_4 PG from Kentucky (PROSPECT: 69.2; SCOUT: 98.4; STAT: 27.3)
No player has more of a divide between his subjective and objective profiles, but Knight will go in the top-10, perhaps top three, despite projecting as a middling athlete and an extreme defensive liability.

42. Matthew Bryan-Amaning, 6_9 PF from Washington (PROSPECT: 68.4; SCOUT: 48.4; STAT: 78.9)
A good athlete and banger, Bryan-Amaning's lack of offensive skill will hurt him and as a four-year player, his lack of projectability may scare teams off.

43. Justin Harper, 6_9 PF from Richmond (PROSPECT: 67.6; SCOUT: 80.0; STAT: 44.5)
Harper has poor athletic indicators but he's got plenty of length and great range on his perimeter shot.

44. Jeff Allen, 6_6 SF from Virginia Tech (PROSPECT: 66.9; SCOUT: 20.7; STAT: 95.3)
Allen's translations suggest a player that could be a wing stopper and standstill shooter, but his background is as an undersized interior player and he lacks offensive skill, plus he's old enough (24) that it's a reach to expect him to develop much beyond what he already is.

45. Nolan Smith, 6_4 PG from Duke (PROSPECT: 66.1; SCOUT: 76.1; STAT: 43.7)
If Smith's defense turns out better than his translations suggest, his versatile offensive repertoire could land him a role as a rotation combo guard.

46. Jerai Grant, 6_8 PF from Clemson (PROSPECT: 65.3; SCOUT: 6.1; STAT: 94.5)
If Grant were 2-3 inches taller, he'd be a premium prospect but as it is, he needs to hope his mobility will allow him to guard both forward positions at the NBA level.

47. Isaiah Thomas, 5_10 PG from Washington (PROSPECT: 64.6; SCOUT: 54.6; STAT: 64.8)
Thomas clearly has NBA-level quickness and may fill a role as a change-of-pace pentrator who can break down a defense and set up teammates.

48. E'Twaun Moore, 6_4 SG from Purdue (PROSPECT: 63.8; SCOUT: 64.6; STAT: 51.5)
A decent athlete with defensive potential and an unselfish approach to playing offense, Moore's shooting will determine what, if anything, he becomes at the NBA level.

49. Jon Leuer, 6_11 PF from Wisconsin (PROSPECT: 63.0; SCOUT: 69.2; STAT: 45.3)
Leuer doesn't project as a good NBA athlete but with his size, he will stick if he shows the ability to hit the pro three-pointer.

50. DeAngelo Casto, 6_8 PF from Washington State (PROSPECT: 62.3; SCOUT: 9.2; STAT: 89.8)
Casto was an excellent shot blocker and defender at the college level and if he could show the ability to guard threes he'd have a shot, alas his body type likley prohibits that possibility.

Follow Bradford on Twitter.

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

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