D5 Draft Analytics: Who’s the Best? (Part 7 – The Good) Jun 20, 2019 0:11:32 GMT Walt Frazier, Chris Mullin, and 6 more like this
Post by Alex English on Jun 20, 2019 0:11:32 GMT
D5 Draft Analytics: Who’s the Best? (Part 7 – The Good)
Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Best and Worst Picks
Part 3 - Best and Worst Picks, Again!
Part 4 - The Ugly
Part 5 - The Bad
Part 6 - The Average
We’ve reached the conclusion of this seven part series on the D5 draft. We will finally find out who the best drafting GM in the league is. The result is not even close, and it might surprise you who the winner is. No need to waste time, these are the nine best drafting GMs in D5 history.
#9 – Walt Frazier (MIN) – Average Draft Pick Value: +12%
Ninth place in this ranking goes to Walt Frazier, who has made more picks than anyone else in D5 with 26. That’s almost double the expected amount of 14 in seven years. Walt has developed a bit of a reputation for being lucky in the draft, as someone always seems to fall to him in the late first round. That’s the idea at least, but it doesn’t seem to be true. Looking over all of his picks, and trying to remember the hype of prospects at the time, his reputation probably comes down to guys like Cleanthony Early, KJ McDaniels, Devin Booker, Skal Labissiere, Domantas Sabonis, and Justin Patton. All those guys were either drafted way ahead of where Walt picked them up, or had a lot of hype on draft day. Only two of them, Booker and Sabonis obviously, have actually ended up being any good so far. So Walt is probably not getting the credit he deserves. He has a good mix of picks, both makes and misses, from all over the draft. He’s fairly consistently shown he can draft solid players with late picks though. He grabbed Norman Powell, Jake Layman, Andre Roberson, Miles Plumlee and Dillon Brooks all with later picks. Considering that, it’s pretty easy to see how he ended up in the top 10.
#8 – Jeremiah Hill (MEM) – Average Draft Pick Value: +23%
Jeremiah Hill is next with an eighth place finish on the countdown. Jeremiah has one of the most volatile resumes in D5. He has some fantastic picks with Jokic, Dwight Powell, Donovan Mitchell, and Towns, but he’s also made more bust picks than anyone else in the league. He’s struck out on 11 of his 19 picks. With 131 total busts in D5, that means nearly 10% of all busts were drafted by Jeremiah alone. Some of those guys were considered to be possible steals, like Kay Felder or Jawun Evans, but some were total shots in the dark, like Thomas Walkup or his many Euros nobody’s ever heard of. All that said, this is still pretty good draft history. The draft is so top heavy that strikeouts don’t matter very much, only home runs. This is especially true in the second round. If you miss on a top ten pick, that might hurt your team, but if you miss on a second rounder, there are basically no consequences. Jeremiah shows that the reward is often greater than the risk. Many busts will all be worth it if you find your Jokic, so swing for the fences.
#7 – JR Wiles (N/A) – Average Draft Pick Value: +25%
JR Wiles is one of the best drafting GMs in D5? Yes he is! He didn’t make many picks, in fact all five of his picks were made in the second round of the 2015 draft. Surely he could have traded them away if he wanted to, so it seems as though for one year JR embraced the draft. I guess he didn’t like the experience because he never made another pick again. He did really well though, grabbing two steals out of the second round that year, Nance and Cook. Cook even went undrafted in the NBA, so he grabbed him based on his own judgement. That’s a 40% success rate, which is pretty damn good. Yes the sample size is really small, but some part of me really likes that the man who hated the draft the most, was actually pretty good at it.
#6 – Glenn Robinson (MIL) – Average Draft Pick Value: +29%
Sixth place goes to Glenn Robinson. Most of his performance comes down to winning the lottery and being able to draft Anthony Davis, but that’s not all. He has a handful of other solid picks resulting in four of his eight picks exceeding expectations. Porter, Markkanen and Lamb make for a solid group, and two others, Murray and McDermott, can get into the green as well. That only leaves two picks, and for Hutchison it’s way too early to say anything for certain. So all in all Perry Jones is the only bad pick on the board. That makes it easy to see how he ended up near the top of this ranking.
#5 – Ghazny Dimalen (SAC) – Average Draft Pick Value: +43%
Ghazny slides into the top 5 with just two picks. It’s hard to say much when he’s done so little, but this shows again just how low the expectations are for late picks. This one is all about Bruce Brown. He started 56 games for the Pistons as a rookie this year, and he wasn’t very impressive, at least offensively. He made into the Pistons rotation all because of his defense, and even with subpar offense he still accumulated enough value to blow away his expectations. Ghazny needs a lot more picks under his belt for us to know if this is a fluke, or if he’s got a good eye for scouting.
#4 – Chauncey Billups (DET) – Average Draft Pick Value: +51%
Another GM with a small number of picks on his resume makes it right near the top. Chauncey has made three picks, and two of them look pretty nice. All of his picks came from very different places too. Ayton came down to lottery luck, Brunson was a late first where we all love to find steals the most, and Dorsey is a late pick that just needs to find his way in the league to meet his expectations. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out over time. As Chauncey makes more picks we’ll get a better sense for his scouting ability too, but he’s off to a great start.
#3 – Vlade Divac (N/A) – Average Draft Pick Value: +65%
We’re into the top 3 now with Vlade Divac. Vlade drafted to near perfection in his first three drafts grabbing Lillard, Barnes, KCP and Harris with his first five picks. Lillard is the superstar of course, and Harris is the late in the draft steal, but Barnes and KCP are solid as well. His more recent picks haven’t been as great, but they haven’t been bad either and it’s still too early for many of them. Trey Lyles looks entirely average, while Semi Ojeleye looks interesting for Boston, though he hardly gets playing time. Then there’s Mathias Lessort, who for some reason is playing in D5 despite having not made the NBA yet. He even put up 13 and 8 last season for the Pistons. Lillard and Harris more than make up for any of Vlade’s weaker picks, and the end result is a third place finish.
#2 – Larry Bird (IND) – Average Draft Pick Value: +126%
The second best drafting GM is Larry Bird. His draft resume is packed with steals and great picks. The average value of his picks is more than double the expected value with his players coming in at 126% above where they were supposed to. This value differential is also nearly double Vlade’s third place position. In total seven of his 12 picks exceeded expectations, with this group being led by Monte Morris, Giannis and Jarrett Allen. He does have some misses though. Marcus Paige and Tyler Lydon are busts, and Jordan Mickey is not far off. DJ Wilson and Frank Mason don’t look special either, and it’s these five picks that prevent Larry from challenging for the top spot. Larry shouldn’t feel bad though, since he’s outperformed 33 other GMs.
#1 – Chris Mullin (GSW) – Average Draft Pick Value: +241%
Finally we’ve reached the top! The best drafter in D5 is Chris Mullin, and it’s not even close. While Larry nearly doubled third place, Chris nearly doubled him in terms of average value. Five of his eight picks have been absolute home runs. The “worst” of these picks is Josh Richardson who has still tripled his expected value. What’s even more impressive is Chris has done this with only one pick higher than #30, and that was his worst pick, Michael Carter-Williams. Even MCW popped off like a firework in his rookie season though before fading into an end of the bench guy. The list of second round picks is pretty amazing. Where most GMs get little to nothing for their effort, Chris has drafted nearly an entire bench worth of productive players with just five second rounders. Josh Richardson, Richauln Holmes, Bryn Forbes, Thomas Bryant and Patrick McCaw make for a better haul than some GMs get with lottery picks, and Chris picked them all from relative obscurity. Even Pat McCaw, who is the worst of the bunch, has shown flashes as a serviceable 3-and-D player. He’s been considered one of the luckiest GMs in D5, and maybe there’s some truth to that. Being the GM of Golden State sure will make things easier for you, but it’s clear Chris is no slouch as a manager. They say it’s better to be lucky than good, but it’s even better to be both. Well done Chris.
That’s the end of the countdown, we’ve gone from worst to first, and now everyone can see how they stack up. This model isn’t perfect, but I think it’s been pretty cool to see an objective measurement evaluate all of our decisions, even if there are some flaws. Hopefully many of you found it insightful as well. How much of this ultimately comes down to luck vs skill though? Who knows? Like with Chris Mullin, you probably need some of both.
To summarize, here’s the full ranking: