Monday, May 14, 2012

5 comments How Do You Fit 15 Players Into 14 Lottery Spots? Bleacher Report Tells Us

Bleacher Report has an article entitled "NBA Draft 2013: 15 Under-the-Radar Players Who Will Be Lottery Picks Next Year." This is perhaps, and I do mean this, the most useless article I have ever read on Bleacher Report and that is saying something. This is what happens when one site's joy in creating extremely long lists collides head-on with mathematical impossibilities.

Three major problems from the outset with this article:

1. There are 30 NBA teams. 16 teams make the playoffs. Therefore there are 14 lottery spots available. So it is mathematically impossible for 15 college basketball players to even be lottery picks. There can only be 14 picks in the NBA lottery.

2. Many of these players are not under-the-radar players. These are players whose names have been cut-and-pasted from a mock draft and the author is assuming we haven't heard of these players. If you don't pay attention to college basketball, I guess everyone is under-the-radar.

3. What about Shabazz Muhammad, Nerlens Noel, and Cody Zeller? They are most likely going to the NBA in 2013. Are they not going to be drafted in the lottery? This is highly unlikely. So at the very minimum that is 18 players, with three guys that look like locks in the lottery who are going to be freshmen next year, for 14 lottery spots. This doesn't even include the possibility a guy like Steven Adams, Alex Poythress or Kyle Anderson goes to the NBA after this year. This article is just stupid in that there is no mathematical way for the premise of the article to be accurate.

Sure, the 2012 NBA Draft hasn’t even happened yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to 2013.

Yes, there will be a few freshman that wow us and a few returning players that are expected to put up big numbers, but what about those players that no one is talking about?

What about them? Are 15 of these returning players going to somehow manage to squeeze into 14 picks in the NBA lottery? Not to mention, does the author really think no one is talking about Myck Kabongo or James Michael McAdoo?

So, here is a very early look at the 2013 NBA Draft and the players who will come out of nowhere to claim spots in the first round.

Nowhere I tell you! These players are coming out of nowhere! Who are these kids? Besides the majority of them being Top 50 recruits or McDonald's All-Americans of course, these kids are complete unknowns. In fact, take a look at a few 2013 NBA mock drafts and quite a few of these players are scheduled to go in the lottery of these mock drafts. Here are one and two examples of this. As an added bonus, yes there is more, I will tell you if an "under-the-radar" player is mocked to be in the lottery by either of these sites. Thereby proving the title of this article is not only mathematically impossible, but horribly inaccurate as well.

Let's start the slideshow!

Michael Carter-Williams

Carter-Williams was a 2011 McDonald's All-American buried on the Syracuse bench this past year.

The freshman averaged just 10.3 minutes per game for the Orange.
Despite the short time in which he saw the floor, though, Carter-Williams shot almost 40 percent from three and averaged over two assists per game.
"Despite" the fact he spent a short time on the court he shot 40% from three? You can shoot 60% from three point range in limited time. The percentage that a player hits three point shots has nothing to do with the amount of playing time a player receives.

James Michael McAdoo

McAdoo was projected to be a lottery pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and was a McDonald's All-American. So he is not an under-the-radar player for the 2013 NBA Draft lottery, because he was projected to be a lottery pick in the NBA 2012 Draft if he had left school early. McAdoo is projected to be the #4 overall pick in both mock drafts I had linked. So he's not even close to being under-the-radar.

James Michael McAdoo is not exactly under-the-radar,

And yet, he is still on the list. Go figure.

but his freshman year stats did not necessarily echo the player McAdoo was billed to be when he signed with the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Which could be because he was playing behind three first round draft picks (Barnes, Zeller, Henson).

Of course, the main reason for McAdoo’s unimpressive 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game was playing behind Tyler Zeller and John Henson in a loaded frontcourt.

Quite answering your own questions to kill space. McAdoo shouldn't be on this list. Also 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game is very impressive when you consider he played behind three first round picks who were on the court (when healthy) and he didn't get as much playing time as his talent suggested he should.

Chane Behanan

You mean the starting power forward for the Final Four-bound Louisville team and 2011 McDonald's All-American?

In the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Behanan finally seemed to get it. He scored in double digits in all five of Louisville’s games and averaged eight rebounds.

I'm calling it right now. Chane Behanan will not go to the NBA after next season and he won't be drafted in the lottery when he does to the NBA. As talented as he is, he is an undersized small forward and even if his talent says he should go in the lottery (in two more years at least), NBA teams tend not to like drafting undersized power forwards in the lottery.

Adonis Thomas

Thomas is projected to go #13 and #14 in the mock drafts I linked and was a 2011 McDonald's All-American. Again, he is not under-the-radar at all. He was ranked as a Top 20 recruit by and caused a generation of college basketball fans to wonder if "Adonis" rhymes with "Thomas" or not.

Myck Kabongo

He is projected to go #21 and #14 in the two mock drafts I linked and was a 2011 McDonald's All-American. He was the #2 ranked point guard in his class. This doesn't mean he is a great player, but he is not under-the-radar. I get the feeling the author of this article just went down the list of 2011 McDonald's All-Americans who didn't go to the NBA this year and put these players as "under-the-radar" lottery picks. It sure seems that way.

At certain points, Kabongo would look like an NBA point guard, penetrating into the lane and finding a teammate with a beautiful pass.
At other times, he would look anything but, recklessly dribbling down the court and taking on three defenders before throwing the ball away.
It's almost like Kabongo was a freshman or something.

Kabongo’s biggest asset is his attitude. He is a pass-first point guard, who can really see the floor and loves looking for open teammates.

I can only imagine how much Kabongo could progress if he had a head coach not named Rick Barnes. The same Rick Barnes who couldn't win an NCAA Tournament game with Kevin Durant on his roster. The same Rick Barnes whose idea of good coaching is recruiting better players to play for him as opposed to actually becoming a better coach.

Once Kabongo becomes more comfortable with his teammates and his role in the offense, he will emerge as one of the best point guards in the country.

Which is why some mock drafts already have Kabongo going in the 2013 NBA Draft lottery before the season even begins.

Patric Young

He is projected to go #19 and #27 in the mock drafts I have linked. So if he has a good season, he could go in the lottery. Perhaps he does apply as an unexpected lottery pick, but I don't know if he is considered "under-the-radar."

Young averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in his sophomore season, up from 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in his freshman campaign.

At 6’9”, Young has the potential to be a David West-type player with a bit more coaching.

West averaged 11.7 points and 9.1 rebounds as a freshmen and 17.8 points and 10.8 rebound as a sophomore. Young and West seem to be built the same, but Young doesn't have the mid-range game or defensive ability (in terms of blocking shots) that West had at Xavier. It's an easy comparison, but Young has a ways to go in my book to be anything like David West.

He has the perfect tools to become a great player, but Young simply must take a more active role in the offense.

Like develop some sense of a post game. He does that, he will be a lottery pick.

Ryan Harrow

He is projected to be drafted #18 and #20 in the two mock drafts I linked. Harrow is a transfer from N.C. State to Kentucky.

Instead of an imposing 5-star freshman, Calipari is relying on a seasoned transfer to lead his team.

"Seasoned transfer?" Harrow has played one year of college basketball and then transferred to Kentucky. He one year of on-court time as a college player. Not to mention, Harrow was a 5-star point guard. He isn't a freshman, but he is an imposing 5-star player. So Calipari is counting on a sort-of seasoned 5-star point guard.

In another weak draft for point guards, Harrow could shoot up draft boards if he is able to lead a Wildcats squad bursting at the seams with freshman.

Harrow is already shooting up draft boards in some mock drafts. Hence, he isn't "under-the-radar."

Otto Porter

Porter is projected to go #8 and #14 in the two mock drafts I linked. Both of those picks are considered to be lottery picks. So Porter is already projected to be a lottery pick before the 2012-2013 season has even begun. I don't see how he can be considered "under-the-radar."

Rotnei Clarke

Clarke does qualify as "under-the-radar," but the reason I include his inclusion in my criticism is because there is no way Clarke is a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He is a great shooter, but he is a 6'0" shooting guard who hasn't shown he can pass the ball well enough to be a point guard. He's never averaged above 2 assists per game and has an assist-to-turnover ratio close to 1:1 for his career. The NBA barely drafts 6'0" shooting guards who can't play point guard and the idea Clarke will sneak into the lottery is absolutely a pipe dream.

With a reputation of being able to score from anywhere on the court (he shot 44 percent from three his junior year), Clarke will provide a much-needed punch to Butler’s game.
And if the Bulldogs find themselves back atop the Horizon League standings, Clarke might have given his draft stock the boost it needed to make him a first-round pick.
This may cause him to be a first round pick, but it is probably not going to make him a lottery pick. Clarke is a great shooter and he should thrive at Butler, but he isn't going to be a lottery pick.

I'm still waiting to find out how 15-18 players are going to be selected with the first 14 picks in the NBA Draft. I'm eager to learn this new type of math.


Jake said...

I guess it depends on your definition of under the radar. You clearly know college basketball very well so none of them are under the radar to you. I follow it very casually, mostly during the tournament, so I've heard of exactly two of those guys.

rich said...

Jake, I think the issue is this:

that no one is talking about?

The problem is that while casual fans may not know who they are, to make the argument that no one is talking about them is a completely different beast.

So, here is a very early look at the 2013 NBA Draft and the players who will come out of nowhere to claim spots in the first round.

Here's the other thing that kind of goes against the "casual" argument.

I'm also a casual follower of NCAA basketball and I could name maybe 10 of the first round picks. That doesn't mean that 20 come out of "nowhere."

The fact is that with NCAA basketball, you have a lot of players who stick around for two years who were highly recruited, in some cases, potentially being one and done. Then they don't do well their Freshman year and then leave after a stronger sophomore year.

If you're an NBA franchise, I don't think you've forgotten that McAdoo, Behanan or Thomas (to name a few) were highly recruited and probably have potential.

Had the list been "15 players you may not have seen much of who will go in the first round" and the point was to show that these are the players to watch, no argument.

However, to say "these are under the radar guys" you're arguing that you're smarter than everyone else.

Then again it's Bleacher Report, so I guess we should just be happy he picked 15 guys who are actually still in college.

Bengoodfella said...

Jake, that is true. The issue arises in that many of these players are already mocked to be in the lottery for 2013. So they aren't under-the-radar players for the lottery at all. Plus, there are 15 players for 14 spots.

Like what Rich said, I could not criticize an article on MLS soccer that describes "under-the-radar" superstars just because I haven't heard of these guys and don't follow soccer.

Rich, if the author had chosen 15 guys who could go in the lottery this year or something like that, I may have laid off this article. There were too many players for too few spots and some of these guys are projected lottery as well. To describe them as "under-the-radar" and say they all could go in the lottery is just inaccurate and stupid.

The author isn't smarter than anyone else. She looked at the mock drafts for 2013 chose a few players and then had a few players in mind to include as well.

Like you said, I'm just happy they are actually college basketball players and no lacrosse players were thrown in.

Jon Brown said...

All I have to say is that anyone who is above "freshman" is considered a seasoned veteran to John Callipari and his one and done squads.

Bengoodfella said...

Jon, though I don't have a problem with how Calipari recruits I still think that was somewhat funny. I hope there are jokes a/b Ryan Harrow attending UK for one year & being one-and-done even though he will be a sophomore.