NBA - Written by jeff on Saturday, June 27, 2009 18:14 - 25 Comments

The 2009 NBA Draft

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The 2009 NBA DraftWith the 2009 NBA draft finished, it’s time to take a look at the best and worst picks. NBA teams are notorious for selecting players based on physical attributes and appearance rather than production at the college level. John Hollinger uses a mishmash of college statistics to forecast each players potential PER in the NBA. Hollinger’s system works best when it suggests avoiding a player. For example, the following players were top ten picks in their respective drafts, but could have been avoided if NBA teams used the Draft Rater: Spencer Hawes, Acie Law, Fred Jones, Melvin Ely, Marcus Haislip, Jarvis Hayes, Rafael Araujo, Ike Diogu, Channing Frye, Randy Foye, J.J. Redick, and Patrick O’Bryant.

Based on Hollinger’s Draft Rater, let’s take a look at who the best and worst picks would be for the 2009 NBA draft.

The “Worst Pick”: DeMar DeRozan (#9 pick in NBA draft)
DeMar DeRozan is a classic example of NBA “talent evaluators” becoming infatuated with a player’s physical attributes and apparent athleticism. DeRozan has been compared to Vince Carter because he appears to be freakishly athletic.  Scouts and fans repeatedly turn to DeRozan’s incredible athletic ability when anyone mentions his poor production on the basketball court.

If DeRozan was not the correct pick, then what could Toronto have done differently?  Let’s take a look at two other shooting guard prospects that were drafted much later than DeRozan, Chase Budinger (pick 44) and Danny Green (pick 46). Let’s compare their college stats with DeRozan’s:

2008-2009 NCAA Basketball Statistics
Player MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% Draft Rater Rank
Chase Budinger 37.6 18.0 6.2 3.4 2.4 1.39 1.4 .5 1.9 .480 .801 .399 31
Danny Green 27.4 13.1 4.7 2.7 1.7 1.65 1.8 1.3 2.2 .471 .852 .418 8
DeMar DeRozan 33.4 13.9 5.7 1.5 2.1 .70 .9 .4 2.1 .523 .646 .167 54

To be effective in the NBA, guards must be able to distribute the ball, shoot from three, and hit their free throws. As you can see, DeRozan is not proficient in any of these categories. Hollinger projected DeRozan as the 54th best prospect in the draft, much different than his actual draft position, 9th overall. The Draft Rater ranked Green as the winner from the group, as supposedly the 8th best pick, but Budinger was also still well ahead of DeRozan at 31st.

If DeRozan is not an effective basketball player as of now, then his athletic ability must be what separates him from the competition. Fortunately, the pre-draft combine measures a player’s physical and athletic attributes and we can objectively compare the group.

Height, Weight, and Athleticism Measurements
Player Height w/ shoes Wingspan Weight Max Vertical Jump Agility Drill Sprint
Chase Budinger 6′ 7″ 6′ 7″ 206 38½” 11.08 3.24
Danny Green 6′ 6½” 6′ 10″ 208 33″ 11.30 3.30
DeMar DeRozan 6-6½ 6-9 211 38½” 11.88 3.31

We can see that both Danny Green and Chase Budinger held their own against DeRozan in measurements and vertical jump, while both exceeded him in speed and agility. It is true that DeRozan has incredible leaping ability, but his lack of horizontal quickness means he will have trouble guarding quicker guards. These results beg the question, if DeRozan isn’t as skilled as Green or Budinger and not noticeably more athletic, then were Toronto’s scouts mistaken when assessing DeRozan’s upside?  Perhaps DeRozan will be the first player to go against Hollinger’s Draft Rater, and somehow become more productive in the NBA, against great competition, than he was in college, against amateur competition.

The “Best Pick”: DeJuan Blair (#37 pick in NBA draft)
The San Antonio Spurs entered the draft without a first round pick, but still ended up making the best pick of the night. DeJuan Blair is the opposite of DeMar DeRozan: he is short for his position, has knee concerns, carried too much weight in college, and had elite stats.

First let’s see how Blair measures up to some other power forwards in the draft:

Height, Weight, and Athleticism Measurements
Player Height w/ shoes Wingspan Stranding Reach Weight Max Vertical Jump Max Vertical Reach Agility Drill Sprint
DeJuan Blair 6′ 6½” 7′ 2″ 8′ 10½” 277 33″ 11′ 7½” 11.50 3.45
Blake Griffin 6′ 10″ 6′ 11¼” 8′ 9″ 248 35½” 11′ 8½” 10.95 3.28
Tyler Hansbrough 6′ 9½” 6′ 11½” 8′ 10″ 234 34″ 11′ 8″ 11.12 3.27
Jordan Hill 6′ 10¼” 7′ 1½” 9′ 0″ 232 35″ 11′ 11″ 12.23 3.30
Taj Gibson 6′ 9¾” 7′ 4″ 9′ 1″ 214 30″ 11′ 7″ 11.56 3.41

It is true that Blair is shorter than the other players, but his long arms give him a higher standing reach than lottery picks Blake Griffin and Tyler Hansbrough. One attribute that is often overlooked is his incredible mass. Certainly one can imagine Taj Gibson (CHI-Pick 26) struggling to hold his ground in the post, similar to how 2nd overall pick Hasheem Thabeet did in this video:

Let’s take a look at how that group faired statistically over the last college season.

2008-2009 NCAA Basketball Statistics
Player MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% Draft Rater Rank
DeJuan Blair 27.3 15.7 12.3 1.2 1.3 .95 1.5 1.0 2.7 .593 .605 .000 7
Blake Griffin 33.3 22.7 14.4 2.3 3.3 .69 1.1 1.2 2.5 .654 .590 .375 2
Tyler Hansbrough 30.3 20.7 8.1 1.0 1.9 .54 1.2 .4 2.3 .514 .841 .391 24
Jordan Hill 35.7 18.3 11.0 1.5 2.9 .52 .9 1.7 3.0 .537 .654 .000 26
Taj Gibson 33.7 14.3 9.0 1.3 2.1 .61 1.0 2.9 2.9 .601 .659 .000 40

Adjusted for pace of play, DeJuan Blair had the highest rebound rate of the group. In particular, his offensive rebound rate was more than two times higher than most other prospects in the draft. He had the second highest PER projection of the group behind Blake Griffin. What’s more, his field goal percentage suggests that he may be more than a rebounding hustle player. How did he fair against good competition you ask? When he played against Hasheem Thabeet (pick 2), he accumulated 22 points and 23 rebounds while Thabeet fouled out with just 5 points and 4 rebounds.

Time will ultimately judge whether Toronto’s decision to select DeMar DeRozan 9th overall will pay off, and whether the first 36 picks of the draft will enjoy more success than DeJuan Blair.  But something tells me that the Spurs got it right, and the Raptors did not.



25 Comments

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Woah
Jun 27, 2009 21:13

Well you can’t just compare DeRozan with Budinger and Green like that. Budinger played with a top 10 pick in Jordan Hill in an up-tempo system at ‘Zona. Green played on an all-star roster with Hansbrough, Lawson, and Ellington in Roy Williams’ run-n-gun system as well. DeRozan played in a Pop Warner offense that had far fewer possessions and less open-court play then the other two and with less talent to aid him. Like we’ve all seen before, if you have other good players on your team it opens up looks for you on the perimeter or inside (case in point, Trevor Ariza). Green played with an ACC player of the year in Lawson and a 4 time all american and leading ACC scorer in Hansbrough.

Another factor that is not taken into account is the age. This is by far the greatest difference. Danny Green is 22 years old with 4 years of collegiate experience. Budinger is 21 with 3 years of college ball under his belt. DeRozan is 19 years old with 1 year of varsity play. I think maybe if you compared their freshman seasons then you could have an argument about production, but to compare seasons of players that are Juniors and Seniors to a true Freshman is a little out of the realm of possibility. Budinger averaged 15.6 pts, 5.8 reb, 2.0 assts, 1.6 TO, 1.1 stl, .4 blks, .485 FG, .845 FT in 33 mpg. Green’s first year as a starter was his 3rd campaign and he averaged 11.5 pts, 4.9 reb, 2.0 assts, 1.9 TO, 1.2 stl, 1.2 blks, .469 FG, .873 FT in 22 mpg. If Hollinger had applied his magical formula that you claim is the end all, be all teller of talent to these numbers i doubt they would check out very well.

Also, the pre-draft combine is one event. That’s why teams hold individual workouts for prospective players. Its possible that DeRozan exceeded the numbers he showed in the combine in individual workouts. Maybe he did exactly the same. His lower numbers might be b/c he had a minor injury, had too many cheeseburgers that day, maybe his dog died, who knows. This is why teams don’t just take the combine numbers as royal decree or papal doctrine. This is why they have solo tryouts. Larger sample size or measurements means a better feeling for the overall numbers.

I’m not saying that DeRozan will be a star. I’m not even saying that he will be serviceable. For his sake I’m hoping he has a good career. DeRozan was drafted on potential. Budinger was considered a top 10 pick had he come out his Freshman season b/c of potential and Green was never considered a highly touted NBA prospect b/c scouts felt that after 3 or 4 seasons of play they had a good enough idea of how these guys would project. I personally think that Budinger should have gone higher and i think Green got drafted where he should have. How you guys didn’t touch on the age factor or the team factor I’ll never know. This is a TEAM game, never forget that.

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Steve Dobbs
Jun 28, 2009 1:09

New to the site. I loved the article. Just to touch on the last comment. Hollinger’s draft rater adjusts for pace of play and other system factors to normalize player comparison. The Draft Rater Rank shows you who had the better statistics in normalized world. So your concerns about teams and teammates are unfounded. It would be a little like saying Luc Longely should have a high PER because he played with Michael Jordan in the best system ever, but Luc Longely had a terrible PER.

Your concerns about age don’t make sense. DeRozan shot 16.7% from three point range and average more turnovers than assists as a shooting guard. You can’t learn passing and his shooting is terrible. Even Dwyane Wade shot 35% from three as a freshmen in college. Doesn’t matter if DeRozan’s 2 years old, 16.7% from three is bad.

I also have to disagree with your comments about the combine. It sounds like you are a big DeRozan fan. It’s possible that both Budinger and Green both had bad days at the combine as well. What we do know is the result. You can’t assume that a larger sample size exists elsewhere to support your claim that he “had a bad day” in order to discredit the only known sample, the draft combine.

With that said I just wanted to comment on the Blair. I was a huge supporter of this guy all season long. The Spurs did it again. I have to say, I can’t disagree with the logic behind this article.

Woah: Well you can’t just compare DeRozan with Budinger and Green like that.Budinger played with a top 10 pick in Jordan Hill in an up-tempo system at ‘Zona.Green played on an all-star roster with Hansbrough, Lawson, and Ellington in Roy Williams’ run-n-gun system as well.DeRozan played in a Pop Warner offense that had far fewer possessions and less open-court play then the other two and with less talent to aid him.Like we’ve all seen before, if you have other good players on your team it opens up looks for you on the perimeter or inside (case in point, Trevor Ariza).Green played with an ACC player of the year in Lawson and a 4 time all american and leading ACC scorer in Hansbrough.Another factor that is not taken into account is the age.This is by far the greatest difference.Danny Green is 22 years old with 4 years of collegiate experience.Budinger is 21 with 3 years of college ball under his belt.DeRozan is 19 years old with 1 year of varsity play.I think maybe if you compared their freshman seasons then you could have an argument about production, but to compare seasons of players that are Juniors and Seniors to a true Freshman is a little out of the realm of possibility.Budinger averaged 15.6 pts, 5.8 reb, 2.0 assts, 1.6 TO, 1.1 stl, .4 blks, .485 FG, .845 FT in 33 mpg.Green’s first year as a starter was his 3rd campaign and he averaged 11.5 pts, 4.9 reb, 2.0 assts, 1.9 TO, 1.2 stl, 1.2 blks, .469 FG, .873 FT in 22 mpg.If Hollinger had applied his magical formula that you claim is the end all, be all teller of talent to these numbers i doubt they would check out very well.Also, the pre-draft combine is one event.That’s why teams hold individual workouts for prospective players.Its possible that DeRozan exceeded the numbers he showed in the combine in individual workouts.Maybe he did exactly the same.His lower numbers might be b/c he had a minor injury, had too many cheeseburgers that day, maybe his dog died, who knows.This is why teams don’t just take the combine numbers as royal decree or papal doctrine.This is why they have solo tryouts.Larger sample size or measurements means a better feeling for the overall numbers.I’m not saying that DeRozan will be a star.I’m not even saying that he will be serviceable.For his sake I’m hoping he has a good career.DeRozan was drafted on potential.Budinger was considered a top 10 pick had he come out his Freshman season b/c of potential and Green was never considered a highly touted NBA prospect b/c scouts felt that after 3 or 4 seasons of play they had a good enough idea of how these guys would project.I personally think that Budinger should have gone higher and i think Green got drafted where he should have.How you guys didn’t touch on the age factor or the team factor I’ll never know.This is a TEAM game, never forget that.

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Jay Z
Jun 28, 2009 1:31

Swell article dawg. DeRozan suck3d at USC.

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Steve Nash
Jun 28, 2009 11:01

Can Blaire posterize Amare? This is a concern for me. If Blaire posterizes Amare, Amare will lose confidence and might get hurt again. We tend to forget that Amare has a enormous *****.

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Fleezy
Jun 29, 2009 6:40

Agreed.

Also, I’m pretty sure DG has a pretty solid one.

Steve Nash: Can Blaire posterize Amare?This is a concern for me.If Blaire posterizes Amare, Amare will lose confidence and might get hurt again.We tend to forget that Amare has a enormous *****.

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Fleezy
Jun 29, 2009 6:41

And by that I mean DG has some pretty good “low post moves.” If you take my meaning.

Fleezy: Agreed.Also, I’m pretty sure DG has a pretty solid one.

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Jonny Drama
Jun 30, 2009 10:03

Woah is an idiot. Check your facts before you open your mouth Dawg…Derozon is a bussstttt.

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jesse
Jun 30, 2009 10:20

Wow Blair is like stretch armstrong.

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Alex
Jul 16, 2009 21:37

I can’t wait for the NBA year to start so I’ll finally be able to crap out a big DeRozan 20/5/5 game and wipe my *** with this article. Good Day.

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murphturph
Jul 16, 2009 22:03

NOOOOOOO …. WHOA gives a GREAT POint… Holligder Is not thinking when he compares 2 guys that are around three years nolder then Demare!!!… Demare could be a risk but he is bast on POTENTIAL!!!!!! and because he was the MVP of the pac 10 tornament!!! Now lets compare some of the Summer leage stats……………….

Demare Derozan

2009 Summer League Statistics Looks Like his stats our betterthan Hollideer thought
PPG17.0 RPG4.80 APG1.2 EFF+ 13.00… Just for TW F.G% 49.3

Danny Green

2009 Summer League Statistics
PPG8.8 RPG2.00 APG0.8 EFF+ 6.00 Not AS Good as Holigder thought

Chase Burdeger

2009 Summer League Statistics
PPG17.8 RPG2.00 APG0.8 EFF+ 17.00 Very good Prediction But he cant rebound!!!

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Andi
Jul 17, 2009 0:37

Stats Stats Stats….. i thought it was potential and being ready for the next level… .

it seems like people are still freaked out about stats….

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whatthe
Jul 17, 2009 8:35

Steve Nash started his career with 2.1 assissts in 10.5 mins and 3.4 assissts in 22 mins but turned out to be one of the best passers in the league with 11.6 in 35.3 mins at his best. Jose Calderon started his career in the NBA with 16.3 % shooting from 3 pts. and is currently at 40.6 % in 3 pt. land. Obviously there is room for improvement for anyone. To say that age is not a factor in the development of a player is misleading. Whoa’s points makes as much sense are yours. What makes no sense is trying to put a player down even before his career has started.

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Mike
Jul 17, 2009 9:39

This was one of the most baseless, and unfounded analyses I have ever read. You’re not even using stats correctly, this article is comparable to a lawyer choosing having to choose his side and then sticking with it no matter how weak his argument really is.

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cavy
Jul 17, 2009 10:34

****** bag

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matthews
Jul 17, 2009 15:29

I just want to say that this article is pretty good. I’m a Toronto fan, but sometimes it’s nice to see a numbers view on things. I watched DeRozan at USC and thought he was terrible, but when my team got him I guess I started listening to everybody talk about him. Sometimes we can all be fans of people. I still want him to do well, but maybe he won’t be star I thought he could be.

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Jermaine
Jul 17, 2009 21:58

Clearly you don’t know anything about basketball. The reason why Toronto Raptors choose DeMar DeRozen OVER Jrue Holiday, James Johnson, Gerald Henderson Earl Clark Johnny Flynn. He is top 10 for sure in 2009 draft. As a freshmen compare to Jrue and Flynn, DeMar has better numbers and played way better then both of them in the NCAA tournament. DeMar is also NBA ready compare to them. Another reason why Toronto chose DeMar because he was a better defender he could guard the 2 and the 3 position and we all know the Toronto lack at the back court for defense, Calderon is not a great defender and Parker is getting to old. To compare DeMar Derozen with Chase Budinger and Danny Green that both went in the second round with their stats stupid becuse DeMar was a phenom coming out of high school also DeMar DeRozen was a Freshmen while Chase and Danny were a junior, Real smart comparing there stats you dumb ***.

Danny Green
Season Averages
SEASON MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS
2005-2006 15.3 7.5 3.7 1.1 1.3 .80 .7 1.0 1.6 .433 .792 .355 1.24

Chase Budinger
Season Averages
SEASON MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS
2005-2006 33.0 15.6 5.8 2.0 1.6 1.27 1.1 .4 1.7 .485 .845 .368 1.33

DeMar DeRozen
Season Averages
SEASON MIN PTS REB AST TO A/T STL BLK PF FG% FT% 3P% PPS
2005-2006 33.4 13.9 5.7 1.5 2.1 .70 .9 .4 2.1 .523 .646 .167 1.32

Chase Budinger team didn’t even do well in the PAC-10 tournament ARIZONA and they had Jordan Hill that went 8 in the 2009 Draft

DeMar DeRozen led his team to the NCAA and USC weren’t ranked they won the PAC-10 and DeMar DeRozen was MVP

Also if the Toronto Raptors chose Chase Budinger or Danny Green in the 9TH pick of the 2009 Draft. lol lol seriously lol.

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murphturph
Jul 29, 2009 8:01

Nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! samrt!!!!!!!!!!

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