Posted by: Kingsguru21 | May 2, 2009

Tracking the Studs Part 2

Read Part 1 here. I suggest reading them in sequential order (Part 1 first/Part 2 second dummies).

If you’ve ever heard a NBA Director of Player Personnel talk on TV, and as a Kings fan, I would get that anywhere from 75-82 times a year if I lived in Sacramento, you’ve probably heard Jerry Reynolds talk about what a crapshoot the draft can be. So, I’m going to break this down into categories. Hope you can understand them.

I was going to break this down, but I already did a more detailed analysis of these drafts in part 1 & 2.

For this part, I’m going to use numbers and trends.

A few things of note: I didn’t add what class players were taken from in the 2nd round unless they were All-Stars, HS Players, or internationals. I just don’t think it merits a real strong look. The backbone of the NBA is it’s star talent, and not a single player in the 2nd round minus Manu Ginobili (and his impact can be debated I suppose) has been a top 3 player on a championship team. Most of those players put up good stats, but in all reality, the best players in the league have been put together, and win together. The only “franchise” player drafted below 10th overall was Kobe Bryant, and that was in 1996.

What I want to get across this is about the first round, and what kind of predictor there is if you stay in college, or don’t, and what levels have the franchise player been most able to predict?

I hope you don’t mind as I pare this down to into several era’s. 1994 & 1995 (is really the end of the college dominated era). 1996-2000 is the 2nd era. 2001-2005 is the third era. I’m going to leave out 2006 and beyond for simple respect to players in any of those 3 classes who just haven’t had enough time to become superstars and show they belong on that level. I could project Brandon Roy there easily as he’s already been an All-Star twice in 3 season. And really, that’s it so far. Which means nothing to me. So, in 2 seasons (where Roy is likely to have 4 All-Star selections barring a complete and awful injury), this is only going to make Brandon Roy look better. I suspect Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and a few others will join him as well. But, I want to evaluate every draft class with at least 5 years, and while 2005 is stretching it, we pretty much know what we have with each class barring a player here & there.

1994 and 1995

3 Franchise level players: Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. Garnett came out of HS (the only player in either draft to do so), Kidd was selected 2nd in 1994, and Hill 3rd in 1994. To get a franchise player, you not only have to get lucky, but also be in the top 10 picks to do so.

All Stars: Glenn Robinson (1st overall in 94–and barely an All-Star), Juwan Howard (5th overall in 94; ditto as Robinson), Brian Grant (8th overall in 94), Eddie Jones (10th overall), Antonio McDyess (2nd overall in 95), Jerry Stackhouse (3rd overall in 95), Rasheed Wallace (4th overall in 95), and Michael Finley (21st overall in 95). Of these guys, clearly Rasheed Wallace is the best player (and most talented), but Eddie Jones is a solid 2nd. He had a very productive career and was one of 2 or 3 best players on every team he played on until the precipitous dropoff of his career came. Everybody else has been a solid rotation player and a pseudo all-star over the course of their career. Which says what? The draft is tricky. I like to point out, that among these guys, you had 3 of these guys come out of their sophomore year, 2 out of their Junior year, and 3 out of their Senior year.

Role Players: Damon Stoudamire heads this list (even though talent wise he should have been somewhere in between Brian Grant and Rasheed Wallace), and unfortunately, there are too many names here to mention, or otherwise I’m writing the first portion of this again. A few players who stick out to me out of this list are: Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, Travis Best, Greg Ostertag, Kurt Thomas and Brent Barry. There are more, but I just don’t want to mention them. And, for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think tracking what year of college role players came out is that important. They’re still role players.

1996 to 1998

Franchise Players are going to be a fun on this list. (And, what is a franchise player I suspect.) There are quite a few. I’m going to do them all in sequential order.

Allen Iverson (1st overall in 96), Kobe Bryant (13th overall in 96), Tim Duncan (1st overall in 97), and Dirk Nowitzki (8th overall in 98). I don’t think any of these guys need explanation. And I could very much argue about Dirk or AI being on this list. (Interesting cross section here. Iverson came out after his sophomore year at Georgetown, Dirk came out of Germany at 20 years old, Duncan a senior out of Wake Forest, and Kobe Bryant was the 2nd player in recent times to be drafted out of High School (Lower Merion HS, Lower Merion PA). I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a real pattern there.)

All Stars (this is going to be very long): Marcus Camby (2nd overall in 96), Shareef Abdur Rahim (3rd overall in 96), Stephon Marbury (4th overall in 96), Ray Allen (5th overall in 96–I’m not going to argue where Ray belongs), Peja Stojakovic (14th overall in 96), Steve Nash (15th overall in 96), Jermaine O’Neal (17th overall in 96), Ben Wallace (undrafted), Chauncey Billups (3rd overall in 97), Tracy McGrady (9th overall in 97), Antawn Jamison (4th overall in 98), Vince Carter (5th overall in 98), Paul Pierce (10th overall in 98), Rashard Lewis (32nd overall in 98), and Brad Miller (undrafted 98). 3 HS players became All-Stars (O’Neal, McGrady and Lewis–Lewis is the only HS player drafted in the 2nd round to have made the AS game). 2 Freshman players that became All-Stars (Marbury/Reef), and they are at the bottom of this list. They still deserve to be there. (I did omit guys who became “all-stars”.) 1 sophomore out of this whole list who became an “All-Star.” (Chauncey Billups.) 5 Juniors who became All-Stars (Camby, Allen, Jamison, Carter, and Pierce). 3 Seniors (Nash, Wallace and Miller–2 that were undrafted–weird). Stojakovic was the one International non college All-Star of this period (other than the guys who are listed in the franchise player section) listed in this group. All I would say is that this isn’t uncommon. All those players played in a different era, and several were more than good enough to come out early if they had chose. I’m not advocating an era. I’m just saying that the HS talent, and the international talent pool, has made the draft deeper. I think this proves it.

There are plenty of role players/stars I could mention that belong. Some that stick out include: Erick Dampier, Antoine Walker, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Derek Fisher, Keith Van Horn, Tony Battie, Scot Pollard, Bobby Jackson, Mike Bibby, Larry Hughes, Jason Williams, Bonzi Wells, and Cuttino Mobley (I’m just going to end it here).


Franchise Players: Elton Brand (1st overall in 99), Pau Gasol (3rd overall in 01), Gilbert Arenas (31st overall in 01), and Yao Ming (1st overall in 2002) are essentially it to where I stand. Even though, I wouldn’t put Stoudemire ahead of Nash in terms of actual viability, he does have a franchise level of ability offensively.

I think this list is pretty flawed, and I could have picked out several other players at times who could belong on that list. I just don’t think they do. And, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t even put Brand on that list, nor would I put Stoudemire there either. I would create a category for Arenas just because he isn’t a real franchise player, and Yao Ming, while I believe he is a player of that caliber, hasn’t always shown it either. This game can be very flawed in how players develop. This list only proves that. Still, there is All-Stars on this list that might be as good as players up above. Brand came out as a sophomore out of Duke, Arenas a sophomore out of Arizona, Yao Ming straight Chinese baby (even Gasol has got a lil Chinamen in ’em), and Amare Stoudemire came out of High School. (I think the thing with Arenas and Brand is a fluke.)

All-Stars (there’s going to be a whole lot of them here): Steve Francis (2nd overall in 99), Baron Davis (3rd overall in 99), Richard Hamilton (7th overall in 99), Shawn Marion (9th overall in 99), Ron Artest (16th overall in 99), Andrei Kirilenko (24th overall in 99), Manu Ginobili (57th overall in 99), Kenyon Martin (1st overall in 2000), Michael Redd (43rd overall in 2000), Joe Johnson (10th overall in 01), Tony Parker (28th overall in 01), Amare Stoudemire (9th overall in 2002), Caron Butler (10th overall in 02), and Carlos Boozer (34th overall in 02). 1 HS “All-Stars” and that’s Amare. 3 sophomores in this period (Davis, Artest and Butler). 6 Juniors in this period (Francis, Hamilton, Marion, Redd, Johnson and Boozer). 1 Senior (Martin). 3 international guys (Kirilenko, Ginobili and Parker). Overall, I would say this list is skewed, but maybe the draft should be renamed to the “best junior who can become a quality All-Star” draft.

Role Players. Way too many to count over 4 years time, but I’m going to include some guys anyway: James Posey, Wally Szczerbiak, Andre Miller, Jason Terry, Jeff Foster, Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller, Joel Pryzbilla, Jamaal Magloire, Hedo Turkoglu, Eduardo Najera, Tyson Chandler, Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Richard Jefferson, Nene Hilario, Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons, and Nenad Krstic. These are all names any middle of the road NBA fan should recognize.

2003 to 2005

This is going to get interesting. I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to break down the franchise guys, all-stars, guys who could get to all-star status yet, and role players. And that 3rd category is only cuz the 2003 guys have been in the league for 6 years now. Sam Cassell (a total anomaly–it’s also his only appearance) didn’t even make his first All-Star appearance until his 11th season.

Franchise Players: LeBron James (1st overall in 03–duh?), Chris Bosh (4th overall in 03), Dwyane Wade (5th overall in 03), Dwight Howard (1st overall in 04), Deron Williams (3rd overall in 05–and has never made an All-Star game–you can be rest assured he won’t show up on the future All-Star list), and Chris Paul (4th overall in 05). 2 HS guys (James/Howard), 1 Freshman (Bosh), 1 Sophomore (Paul), and 2 Juniors (Wade and Williams). If Brandon Roy, Durant, and Rose are included to this list, you can list Roy as the only senior, and Durant/Rose to the freshman total. Yep, and not a single guy on this list was drafted lower than Roy, drafted at 6th overall, either. In otherwords, the NBA has figured out where the studs come from pretty early on. It’s damn near obvious.

All-Stars: Carmelo Anthony (3rd overall in 03–he’s very close to leaping up onto the next plateau), David West (18th overall in 03–you can argue whether or not he belongs), Josh Howard (28th overall in 03), Devin Harris (5th overall in 04), and Danny Granger (17th overall in 05). This list is pretty short, but Anthony was a Freshman, and the other 4 were all Seniors. (This says that things balance over time, but not much.) Other than Granger, none of the 4 seniors in this group is considered the best player (although Harris could easily get there).

Potential All-Stars: Chris Kaman (6th overall 03), Mo Williams (47th overall 03), Iguodala (9th overall in 04), Al Jefferson (14th overall in 04), Josh Smith (17th overall in 04), Jameer Nelson (20th overall 04), Kevin Martin (26th overall 04), Andrew Bogut (1st overall 05), Andrew Bynum (10th overall in 05), David Lee (30th overall in 05), and Monta Ellis (40th overall 05). Obviously this list varies in quality, but other than Kaman and Williams (who made the All-Star team as a pick by David Stern in 09), this list is pretty well represtented with talent. 4 of these guys came out of HS (Jefferson, Smith, Bynum and Ellis). Igoudala came out as a sophomore. Okafor and Martin were Junior’s. (Williams came out as a sophomore and Kaman a Junior). Nelson and Lee are the 2 Senior’s.

Role Players: Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, Nick Collison, Boris Diaw, Travis Outlaw, Kendrick Perkins, Leandro Barbosa, Kyle Korver, Ben Gordon, Josh Childress, Luol Deng, Andris Biedrins, JR Smith, Delonte West, Anderson Varejao, Raymond Felton, Charlie Villanueva, Nate Robinson, Francisco Garcia, Jason Maxiell, Linas Kleiza, Brandon Bass, Lou Williams, Von Wafer, Ronny Turiaf, Andray Blatche and Amir Johnson.

Okay, let’s do final tally time.

For Franchise players you had: HS (4 players–Garnett, Bryant, James and Howard), Freshman (Chris Bosh–he’s the only one), Sophomore’s (5 guys tally this list–Kidd, Iverson, Brand, Arenas, and Paul), Juniors (Two guys both in 03–Wade & Williams), Seniors (2 Duncan and Hill), and International guys (2– Nowitzki & Ming). Congratulations if you said that Sophomores and HS players would dominate this list. (I wouldn’t have said sophomores did. That’s just me though. And certainly Brand and Arenas are very questionable.)

All-Stars: 2 HS guys quality in this category (Rashard Lewis and Tracy McGrady). 3 Freshman All-Stars (Abdur-Rahim, Marbury and Anthony). 7 sophomore Level All-Stars (Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Baron Davis, Ron Artest, and Caron Butler). 13 Junior All-Stars (Glenn Robinson, Juwan Howard, Marcus Camby, Ray Allen, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Steve Francis, Richard Hamilton, Shawn Marion, Michael Redd, Joe Johnson, and Carlos Boozer). 8 Seniors (Brian Grant, Eddie Jones, Michael Finley, Steve Nash, Ben Wallace, Brad Miller, Kenyon Martin, and Danny Granger). 4 International All-Stars (Peja Stojakovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker).

It says something to me that Seniors are not making the great impact on Star quality as often as they did anymore. (I count 2 in recent years: Brandon Roy and Danny Granger.) Juniors, despite the talent on that list, has several questionable players (obviously), and what’s worse, in 1994, they are all among the best players of that draft class.

When I started this my goal was not to show that the international ranks, or High School ranks, were better than the NCAA at developing star talent. My goal was to show that it merely made the pool deeper and allowed the NBA to strengthen it’s league despite what was ill-advised expansion in the late 80’s (Heat, Timberwolves, Hornets, and Magic) and mid 90’s (Raptors and Grizzlies). That took the league from 23 teams suddenly to 27 teams by the end of the 1990 season. By the end of the 1996 season, there were 29 teams. With the expansion Charlotte Bobcats coming in 2004, that made 30 teams. The League can no longer afford to expand because it has no talent pool to draw from. No matter how you feel about players from one pool or another, it’s very obvious, that among other things, that the NCAA is not necessarily the best developer of talent perse on one hand, but that it’s also not the only consistent pool of talent that the NBA will look for in terms of what players end up making an impact.

If you still want to believe that drafting HS players and International players has hurt the NBA, then quite simply, you’re wrong. If you want to argue that the NCAA is better at developing talent for the NBA, then go ahead. (Especially since that seems to be the core of the debate with Jeremy Tyler.)

Last but not least, sorry for the holdup for the few who expected me to finish this a few weeks ago. I’m a slacker, and well, I suck.



  1. Good things come to those who wait.

    Great analysis pook!

    I’ll comment more later, but I am in a meeting at the moment.

  2. I think the one thing this proved more than anything is that if you pick in the top5 you have a chance to draft a truly great player, the top pick does not always guarantee a superstar and the draft is a gamble no matter what.

    You can find Star players from a number of avenues: NCAA, HS, International. It is still the same when they are coming out and into the draft… they are UNKNOWN and lets face it a lot of the “talking heads” that are watched and read by the majority of sports followers do not know about the International players and formerly the HS players as much as the NCAA players, because of the Hype that the NCAA brings to players and the “star” that is attached to them.

    One thing we have been going over and over on STR (as you well know) is that the draft and the players drafted are NOT sure things. Not matter what they are not all-stars out of the gate. Beasley did not live up to the hype he got last year, D. Rose played great 80% of the time and got his team to the playoffs despite injuries and a Head Coach that is a little bit outclassed. Suffice it to say that NO matter where you draft from you could find a star it depends on the player more than anything. It is my opinion that if the sample sizes were all the same we would see very similar numbers across the board (for College, HS, and International) The problem (as we all know) is that the sample sizes are not the same and the expansion of the league has caused a lack of talent and a Haves/HaveNot situation.

    In any case, great writeup pookey. Love to read your work.

    • Well sellout, thanks for reading, as always. I don’t think the NBA has created a have/have not situation. I think what has happened is that the balance of the league is going to change upon who is lucky to get those top tier stars. By any accounts, that’s going to be in a lottery system where the odds is the same for any team at any slot regardless. It’s really an equitable situation that most fans haven’t caught on to the reality of the NBA: The LeBron James and Kobe Bryant’s still matter more than the Michael Redd’s and Kevin Martin’s of the world regardless of how talented all 4 players are (and they are all world class players).

      I think the NBA over expanded, and when the pool expanded, the NBA saved itself. The situation is pretty stable in terms of teams and what not. I don’t think the NBA can, or should, even consider expansion until the pool is so big that each team has ridiculous levels of talent. I doubt it will ever get to that point.

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