Comparing Statisical Profiles for Draft Prospects

We have roughly 24 hours left until the draft. Every prospect and draft rumor has been dissected and discussed endlessly on this site and countless others. That being said, I still have one more analysis I would like to offer up.


One of the most personally frustrating components of this mass of coverage is the comparison of draft prospects to current NBA players. I don’t have a problem with these comparisons in theory, I have a problem with the criteria used to make the comparisons.

For years, every guard with exceptional leaping ability was potentially the next Michael Jordan. Every long white player who can shoot is the next Larry Bird, Keith Van Horn or Adam Morrison; depending on the era. Although, in some parts of Rhode Island they’re referred to as the second coming of Austin Croshere. Every point guard from Gonzaga is the next John Stockton, every huge, awkward center is the next Greg Ostertag and every shot-blocking center with African roots is the next Dikembe Mutombo. These comparisons, based on skin color, position, the college they attended or one singular attribute do a diservice to the players and fans alike.

In an attempt to counteract the wealth of completely subjective opinions, I have tried to create a draft analysis that is completely objective.

My idea was to try and create a database which I could use to compare just the statistical profiles of various college players, past and present to see who's is the most similar. The short version is that I selected 27 statistical categories to create a statistical profile. I then entered every player drafted in the 1st Round since 2001, and the top 40 college players available in this draft (Taken from Draftexpress.com.) I then used the average and standard deviation for each category to calculate how far from average each player was in each category. I then added those values to create a single numeric representation of each player's statistical profile.

This single numeric value is not meant to be an evaluation of a player's performance but simply a method of comparison to other players. You can view a complete description of my method, the raw data, and the entire results at Hickory High. 

Below are some of the players who have been linked to the Pacers recently, and the past players who their college production is most similar to. Just to be clear I am not saying they have the same skills, or abilities. I am not saying they will have similar career arcs or play similar roles in the NBA. I am just saying this is who their college production is most similar to.

 

Possibilities at #10
Player Standardized Value Player Standardized Value
Ekpe Udoh -2.8560 Brandan Wright -2.2974
Xavier Henry -4.4071 Tayshaun Prince -4.4495
Gordon Hayward -2.7436 Jared Jeffries -3.0796
Paul George 5.6852 Al Thornton 5.4371
Ed Davis -1.3980 Jason Maxiell -1.5073

 

Trade-Down Possibilities
Player Standardized Value Player Standardized Value
Larry Sanders -0.6325 Hakim Warrick -0.0993
Eric Bledsoe -11.6073 Daequan Cook -10.7018
Hassan Whiteside 3.5234 Demarre Carroll 3.5869
Armon Johnson -9.8069 Jordan Farmar -9.7921
Jordan Crawford -2.3259 Casey Jacobsen -2.3250

 

Now my method is not perfect and neither are these comparisons. I am sure some of these will have people jumping out of their seats with disagreement, but if you take a look at each of their stats for their last year in college you will see some remarkable similarities.

Again, I am not advocating this information for scouting purposes or for predicting what a player might become in the NBA. This is just an evaluation of their college production and who it resembles. Comment away!

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