Category Archives: Big Board

The Hardwood Blues 2017 NBA Draft Big Board

1 Markelle Fultz PG WASH 9.5 James Harden
2 Lonzo Ball PG UCLA 10.9 Ricky Rubio
3 Josh Jackson SF KANS 8.0 Gordon Hayward
4 Jonathan Isaac SF/PF FSU 8.3 Aaron Gordon
5 Jayson Tatum SF DUKE 7.6 Carmelo Anthony
6 Dennis Smith Jr. PG NCST 8.1 D’Angelo Russell
7 De’Aaron Fox PG KENT 7.4 Jay Williams
8 Lauri Markkanen PF ZONA 7.2 Andrea Bargnani
9 Malik Monk SG KENT 5.7 Eric Gordon
10 Zach Collins C GONZ 8.4 Jonas Valanciunas
11 OG Anunoby SF IND 6.1 Maurice Harkless
12 Frank Ntilikina PG STRAS 4.7 Russell Westbrook
13 Donovan Mitchell SG LVILLE 5.1 Kemba Walker
14 Jawun Evans PG OKST 6.7 Ty Lawson
15 Justin Patton C CREI 7.6 Brandan Wright
16 Isaiah Hartenstein PF/C ZALG 5.6 Drew Gooden
17 T.J. Leaf PF UCLA 7.3 Jabari Parker
18 John Collins C WAKE 8.4 Jahlil Okafor
19 Harry Giles C DUKE 6.0 Chinanu Onuaku
20 Rodions Kurucs SF FCB 5.0 Thaddeus Young
21 Josh Hart SG VILL 4.8 Jared Dudley
22 Luke Kennard SG DUKE 5.6 Evan Fournier
23 Dillon Brooks SF ORE 4.2 Brandon Roy
24 Monte Morris PG ISU 5.7 T.J. Ford
25 Ike Anigbogu C UCLA 3.7 Ed Davis
26 Thomas Bryant C IND 5.9 Bobby Portis
27 Tony Bradley C UNC 6.1 Noah Vonleh
28 Bam Adebayo C KENT 5.3 Brandon Bass
29 Jarrett Allen C TEX 4.8 Nikola Vucevic
30 Ivan Rabb PF/C CAL 5.3 Richard Hendrix
31 Sindarius Thornwell SG SCAR 2.8 Kent Bazemore
32 Derrick White SG COLO 4.4 Reggie Jackson
33 Jordan Bell C ORE 4.3 Trevor Booker
34 Tyler Lydon PF CUSE 5.0 Shawne Williams
35 Jonathan Jeanne C NANCY 3.6 Alexis Ajinca
36 Edmond Sumner PG/SG XAV 3.9 Caris LeVert
37 Cameron Oliver PF NEV 4.1 Charlie Villanueva
38 D.J. Wilson PF MICH 3.8 Wilson Chandler
39 Caleb Swanigan C PUR 4.5 Jarnell Stokes
40 Frank Jackson PG/SG DUKE 4.3 Austin Rivers
41 Jonah Bolden PF FMP 3.4 Earl Clark
42 Justin Jackson SF UNC 2.6 Rodney Hood
43 Mathias Lessort PF/C NANT 3.4 Jordan Hill
44 Aleksandar Vezenkov PF FCB 4.1 Aaron White
45 Jonathon Motley PF BAY 2.6 Kyle O’Quinn
46 Semi Ojeleye PF SMU 3.5 Matt Bonner
47 Alec Peters PF VALPO 3.8 Milan Macvan
48 Anzejs Pasecniks C GCN 1.4 Cameron Bairstow
49 Malcolm Hill SG/SF ILL 3.6 Deandre Bembry
50 Alpha Kaba PF/C MEGA 3.1 Damion James
51 Nigel Hayes PF WISC 2.5 Landry Fields
52 L.J. Peak SF GTOWN 2.7 Malachi Richardson
53 Nigel Williams-Goss PG GONZ 3.2 Kirk Hinrich
54 Frank Mason PG KANS 2.9 Acie Law
55 Tyler Dorsey SG ORE 3.6 Shan Foster
56 Sterling Brown SG SMU 3.0 Terrence Williams
57 Melo Trimble PG MARY 3.7 Charles Jenkins
58 Reggie Upshaw Jr. PF MTSU 2.8 James McAdoo
59 Jeremy Morgan SG UNI 3.8 Thabo Sefolosha
60 Tra-Deon Hollins PG UNO 4.2 T.J. McConnell

Re-Introducing DMX: 2017 Rankings

After posting “DMX draft rankings” on social media accounts and referencing the metric frequently on this blog, some have begun to ask “what is DMX?” Fair question! I once tried to explain it in an article breaking down last year’s international prospects, but I made so many wholesale changes to the model that the article became obsolete and I took it down. So let’s try this again.

When I began blogging about the NBA draft, I leaned heavily on NCAA statistics since I am not a paid scout and I saw it as an objective approach that had worked for some sharp draft analysts. The problem I ran into was there were so many trade-offs between each prospect that when it came to ranking players outside of the lottery, let alone the second round, it was like splitting hairs. What I wanted was a literal equation to supplement the one I was trying to do in my head, which gave way to “Draft Model X”.

“The Process”

While I think the DMX results are interesting, the process behind it isn’t overly scientific. To grade each player’s Per 40 minute stats I used Kevin Ferrigan’s DRE Daily RAPM formula and catered it  to draft prospects (greater emphasis on steal rate, for example). To give context to those stats, I adjusted each player’s statistical grade (their “DMX Per 40”) for age, height, playing time, and NCAA strength of schedule (via KenPom). I kept the international model the exact same, only I assigned SOS values for international leagues by using FIBA stats to estimate their level of competition relative to the NCAA. I then tinkered with the weight of each adjustment based on previous drafts, which produced the current version of the model. Save for a handful of outliers, each prospect is assigned a grade between 0-10, with the average for drafted players being just over 4.

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The greatest testament to DMX is that the very top of the list is littered with hall of famers, all-stars, and future all-stars. Even the misses were top draft picks who failed arguably (or in Oden’s case, definitely) for reasons other than their basketball skills. There’s also the curious case of “Ground Jordan” Adams, who probably would’ve been a steal for Memphis had he been able to stay healthy.

2017 NCAA Rankings

Since several international leagues are still ongoing, I’m going to focus on this year’s top 25 NCAA prospects. They are good. By DMX this is easily the best draft class of the one-and-done era with thirteen players earning top-five level grades:

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I’ve already shared my thoughts on Lonzo Ball this year, but I couldn’t let his absurd DMX go without mention. Not even LaVar Ball is as bullish on Lonzo’s NBA potential as DMX. Ball’s mark puts him at #5 all-time between Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, perhaps lending some credence to the “next Jason Kidd” hype. Though I still think Markelle Fultz is the #1 prospect, Lonzo was the guy who I couldn’t take my eyes off of this season, and I might look back in a few years and wonder how I missed the signs.

The Center Field

Big men are viewed as the weakness of this draft, so it is notable that there are three centers in the DMX top ten: Zach Collins, John Collins, and Justin Patton.

Zach Collins

Collins was a key component to Gonzaga’s best team ever and is easily the best C in this draft class. Few freshman have ever scored, rebounded, and blocked shots at the rate Collins did, and if not for turnover issues he would have totally crushed DMX. He’s probably in my subjective top ten.

John Collins

Wake Forest product John Collins (no relation) has the same DMX as Zach Collins, but is a more dubious draft prospect. His case as an ACC PER beast who doesn’t shoot threes or defend is most comparable to Jahlil Okafor and Carlos Boozer.

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DMX definitely overrates J. Collins, however it is inarguable that he was one of the most productive and efficient teenagers in major conference NCAA history, which should probably count for something.

Justin Patton

In addition to his stellar DMX projection, Patton was dominant when I watched him play against Butler and Georgetown. He is an amazing roll man and lob-catcher on offense, and flashed the ability to change shots and defend pick and rolls on the other end. I see him as a version of Brandan Wright who can potentially step out and make jumpers.

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The Reverse One-and-Done

Derrick White spent three years playing at Division-III Colorado Springs before sitting out a year as a transfer and finally completing his college career with a lone D-I season at Colorado. That means White’s stats aren’t weighed down by previous seasons like other NCAA seniors, but the adjustments for age and strength of schedule (for D-III seasons) should offset that advantage. Oregon’s Chris Boucher is a JUCO transfer with very good NCAA stats, and is not in the top 60 of DMX. The reason Derrick White still grades out so well is that his one NCAA season was epic, even compared to other senior guards.

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White finished the season with back-to-back 30 point, 5 rebound, 5 assist games against Arizona and UCF (#18 ranked defense), which would be pretty good for an NBA player dropped onto a college team. My preferred theory is that White is not a small sample fluke, but rather a guy who slipped through the cracks before getting a chance to show what he could do in the Pac-12. He’s got a spot on my big board.

The Hardwood Blues 2016 NBA Draft Big Board

1 Ben Simmons PF LSU 6’10” 9.9 Blake Griffin
2 Brandon Ingram SF DUKE 6’9″ 9.0 Carmelo Anthony
3 Dragan Bender PF MACC 7’1″ 6.0 Al Horford
4 Jakob Poeltl C UTAH 7’0″ 8.0 Roy Hibbert
5 Kris Dunn PG PROV 6’3″ 5.9 Ricky Rubio –
6 Jamal Murray SG KENT 6’5″ 7.3 Marcus Thornton +
7 Marquese Chriss PF WASH 6’9″ 6.7 Anthony Randolph
8 Wade Baldwin IV PG VANDY 6’3″ 6.7 Jarrett Jack
9 Henry Ellenson PF MARQ 6’10” 6.3 David Lee
10 Furkan Korkmaz SG EFES 6’7″ 5.3 Sasha Pavlovic
11 Deyonta Davis PF/C MSU 6’10” 7.1 John Henson +
12 Denzel Valentine SG MSU 6’5″ 4.6 Evan Turner
13 Jaylen Brown SF CAL 6’7″ 4.2 Jordan Hamilton
14 Timothe Luwawu SG MEG 6’7″ 2.8 Wesley Matthews
15 Domantas Sabonis PF GONZ 6’10” 4.9 Julius Randle
16 Chinanu Onuaku C LVILLE 6’10” 6.3 Nerlens Noel –
17 Ante Zizic C CIB 6’11” 7.0 Marreese Speights
18 Brice Johnson PF/C UNC 6’9″ 6.6 J.J. Hickson
19 Buddy Hield SG OKLA 6’4″ 4.1 P.J. Hairston
20 Ivica Zubac C MEG 7’0″ 5.7 Brook Lopez
21 Skal Labissiere C KENT 7’0″ 4.3 Festus Ezeli +
22 Patrick McCaw SG UNLV 6’6″ 5.6 Iman Shumpert
23 Taurean Prince SF BAY 6’7″ 4.4 Robert Covington
24 Diamond Stone C MARY 6’11” 7.6 Kosta Koufos
25 Cheick Diallo C KANS 6’9″ 5.7 Larry Sanders
26 Dejounte Murray PG/SG WASH 6’5″ 5.2 Ray McCallum
27 Stephen Zimmerman C UNLV 7’0″ 4.6 Alex Len
28 Rade Zagorac SF MEG 6’9″ 3.5 James Ennis
29 Deandre Bembry SF JOES 6’6″ 4.1 Khris Middleton
30 Zhou Qi C XIN 7’1″ 5.5 Javale McGee
31 Malik Beasley SG FSU 6’5″ 5.9 Jeremy Lamb
32 Isaia Cordinier SG DEN 6’5″ 4.4 Mardy Collins
33 Tyler Ulis PG KENT 5’9″ 5.0 Jonny Flynn
34 Gary Payton II PG ORST 6’3″ 5.4 Delon Wright
35 Juan Hernangomez SF/PF EST 6’9″ 4.0 Jarell Martin
36 Caris LeVert SG MICH 6’7″ 4.4 Luther Head
37 Demetrius Jackson PG NOTRE 6’1″ 3.8 Luke Ridnour
38 Troy Williams SF IND 6’7″ 4.0 Landry Fields
39 Damian Jones C VANDY 6’11” 4.3 B.J. Mullens
40 Fred VanVleet PG WICH 6’0″ 4.7 Raymond Felton
41 Kahlil Felder PG OAK 5’9″ 4.8 Pierre Jackson
42 Derrick Jones Jr. SF UNLV 6’7″ 6.7 Donte Green
43 Thon Maker PF CAN 7’0″ 4.1 Perry Jones III
44 Isaiah Whitehead PG/SG HALL 6’4″ 4.2 Ben Gordon
45 Malachi Richardson SG CUSE 6’6″ 3.5 Archie Goodwin
46 Robert Carter Jr. PF MARY 6’9″ 3.6 Trevor Booker
47 Petr Cornelie PF LEM 6’11” 3.0 Kevin Seraphin
48 Daniel Hamilton SF UCONN 6’7″ 4.2 Terrence Williams
49 Georgios Papagiannis C PAN 7’1″ 5.1 Stanko Barac
50 Pascal Siakam PF NMSU 6’9″ 4.6 JaMychal Green
51 A.J. Hammons C PUR 7’0″ 3.1 Keith Benson
52 Ron Baker SG WICH 6’4″ 4.0 E’Twaun Moore
53 Malcolm Brogdon SG VIRG 6’5″ 2.8 Randy Foye
54 Ben Bentil SF/PF PROV 6’8″ 3.7 Justin Harper
55 Paul Zipser SF FCBA 6’8″ 2.7 Solomon Hill
56 Guerschon Yabusele PF SPO 6’8″ 2.7 Jerami Grant
57 Alex Caruso PG TA&M 6’5″ 5.3 T.J. McConnell
58 Aleksa Avramovic PG BOR 6’3″ 5.2 Rodney Stuckey –
59 Daniel Ochefu C VILL 6’11” 4.1 Mason Plumlee
60 Jameel Warney C SBU 6’8″ 4.6 Jason Thompson

Annotated 2016 Lottery Board

As we ascend into March Madness I figure it’s about time I drop my first rankings of the season. This year’s lottery is looking especially weak outside of the top two, which is probably why I’ve put off writing about it. For more info on DMX, check out my previous article on international prospects and the complete model here.

1. Ben Simmons
6’10” PF
DMX: 10.0

2. Brandon Ingram
6’9″ SF
DMX: 8.7

Most of my thoughts on the top two prospects are laid out here. If anything, I am leaning more towards Simmons than I was at that time, as Ingram has endured a difficult stretch since then including a ten-turnover catastrophe against Louisville’s pressure defense. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Simmons either. He was benched briefly for “academic issues” and concluded his NCAA career with a 33-point drubbing in the SEC tournament. The more I watch Simmons, he looks like the type of athlete you don’t pass up in the draft. LeBron James is just about the only precedent for someone his combination of size, speed, skill and coordination. Credit to Ingram for making things very interesting, but Ben is still the prize of this draft.

3. Dragan Bender
7’1″ PF
Maccabi Tel Aviv
DMX: 5.4

4. Jakob Poeltl
7’0″ C
DMX: 8.2

The Big Ö has followed up on a promising freshman season by improving every facet of his game and becoming the most dominant center in college basketball. As I wrote in my annotated lottery from last season, Jakob is no flash and all substance. He doesn’t catch lobs, shoot threes, or pirouette in the paint like Jahlil Okafor. He does ace the boring, requisite center stuff like finishing pick-and-rolls, rebounding, and protecting the rim. Outside of the top two, Poeltl is the safest commodity in this draft class.

5. Kris Dunn
6’3″ PG
DMX: 5.7

Dunn made a smart move returning to Providence for his senior season and thus entering a draft pool with no stud point guards. By virtue of being the best PG in the class, Dunn is a likely top-five pick even though he carries the same downside risk he did a year ago when I ranked him 14th overall. Kris reminds me of a poor man’s John Wall; a big, explosive point guard who is a great man defender and a creative, value-adding passer, with a propensity for turnovers and clanking jump shots. I have a soft spot this prototype, though Dunn is probably closer to the caliber of Elfrid Payton than Wall or pre-injury Derrick Rose.

6. Ivan Rabb
6’11” PF/C
DMX: 7.6

I’ve probably watched more of Cal than any other team in the country this year because they are the only team with two top ten prospects and there isn’t much else to watch basketball-wise at 11:40 ET unless the Warriors are on. By far my favorite player on the Bears is freshman Ivan Rabb, an efficiency stud whose game is way more advanced than you would expect from someone who looks like the tallest kid in middle school. Rabb already knows how to score and pass out of the post and is a legitimate pick-and-roll savant with mobility, suction cup hands, and expert rim-finishing skills. I don’t have the Synergy numbers, but I bet they’re scary. The only reason I can’t get really excited about Rabb is that he is a small-ball five who doesn’t shoot threes or block many shots.

7. Henry Ellenson
6’10” PF
DMX: 6.1

In between Cal’s blue chips is Henry Ellenson, a 6’10” freshman with a versatile offensive skill set. Ellenson is in the mold of a “Stan Van Gundy forward” like Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and so on. He is a big body who can shoot threes, rebound, put the ball on the floor, and pass. If the idea of selecting the next Ersan Ilyasova in the top ten doesn’t excite you, welcome to the 2016 NBA draft.

8. Jaylen Brown
6’7″ SF
DMX: 4.5

Brown is a 6’7” Adonis of a SF who carries a poor TS% and TOV% that is reflective of his sloppy and inefficient play. The most worrisome thing about Jaylen is not necessarily that he is a poor shooter, but that he doesn’t seem to realize it. He has upside as DeMarr DeRozan 2.0, however it took half a decade for DD to channel his athletic gifts into an efficient offensive game and it will be an uphill battle for Brown to do the likewise.

9. Furkan Korkmaz
6’7″ SG
Anadolus Efes
DMX: 4.9

10. Jamal Murray
6’5″ SG
DMX: 7.4

Jamal Murray was easy to dismiss as a prospect when his scoring wasn’t holding up early at Kentucky because the Canadian transplant is not a PG as he was purported to be before college, nor does he look like he’ll ever be close to a plus on the defensive end. Now that he is red hot and looking like an Eric Gordon clone, it’s time to give Murray his due. Although still a bit one-dimensional for my liking (I don’t care for Eric Gordon, either), this kid can definitely get buckets and is firmly in the top ten mix.

11. Denzel Valentine
6’5″ SG
Michigan State
DMX: 4.6

Michigan State’s senior leader is the best player in the NCAA; a walking triple-double and the backbone of the #3 KenPom team. Denzel could provide a lot of versatility as an NBA point guard that could switch onto 2s and 3s on defense. Similar to the role that Evan Turner plays for Boston, but with the possibility of being a 3PT shooter.

12. Wade Baldwin IV
6’3″ PG
DMX: 6.8

Wade Baldwin is a “master of none” type who basically checks every box for a PG prospect. Baldwin is big (6’3” with 6’10” wingspan), plays strong defense, passes well, makes 40% of his threes, and is the same age as some of the freshmen. My only knock on Baldwin is that you could watch a Vandy game and forget he’s out there, only for him to wind up with 15/5/6. I suspect his true value lies somewhere in between the scouting consensus and his statistical resume.

13. Deyonta Davis
6’10” PF/C
Michigan State
DMX: 7.3

Michigan State teammates Davis and Valentine couldn’t be more different as prospects, and I am looking forward to seeing who gets drafted first (assuming Deyonta declares). Davis’ stock is built on athleticism, upside, and efficiency, Valentine’s on skill, polish, and intangibles. Deyonta reminds me of Stromile Swift, a lottery flop who was perhaps just ahead of his time. He could be a tweener or it could be that guys like Davis and Rabb are the future of the C position.

14. Timothe Luwawu
6’7″ SG
Mega Leks
DMX: 3.3

The Hardwood Blues 2015 NBA Draft Big Board

1 Karl-Anthony Towns PF/C 7’0″ KENT Chris Bosh
2 D’Angelo Russell PG/SG 6’5″ OSU James Harden
3 Jahlil Okafor C 6’11” DUKE Kevin Love
4 Justise Winslow SF 6’6″ DUKE Vince Carter
5 Emmanuel Mudiay PG 6’5″ GST John Wall
6 Stanley Johnson SF 6’7″ ZONA Caron Butler
7 Willie Cauley-Stein C 7’0″ KENT Taj Gibson
8 Mario Hezonja SG/SF 6’8″ BARC Francisco Garcia
9 Kelly Oubre SF 6’7″ KANS Robert Covington +
10 Myles Turner PF/C 6’11” TEX Chris Mihm
11 Kristaps Porzingis PF/C 7’1″ SEV Channing Frye
12 Frank Kaminsky PF/C 7’0″ WISC Brad Miller
13 Kevon Looney PF 6’9″ UCLA Anthony Randolph
14 Bobby Portis PF 6’10” ARK Jason Thompson +
15 Christian Wood PF/C 6’11” UNLV Stromile Swift
16 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF 6’6″ ZONA Devin Ebanks
17 Delon Wright PG 6’5″ UTAH Jeremy Lin
18 Tyus Jones PG 6’1″ DUKE Jordan Farmar
19 Devin Booker SG 6’6″ KENT Wayne Ellington
20 Trey Lyles PF 6’10” KENT Jerome Moiso
21 Sam Dekker SF/PF 6’9″ WISC Patrick Patterson
22 Jerian Grant PG 6’5″ NOTRE Diante Garrett +
23 Cameron Payne PG 6’2″ MURR Jay Williams –
24 R.J. Hunter SG 6’6″ GAST Randy Foye
25 Robert Upshaw C 6’11” WASH Emeka Okafor –
26 Chris McCullough PF 6’10” CUSE Wilson Chandler –
27 Rashad Vaughn SG 6’5″ UNLV Gary Neal
28 Montrezl Harrell PF 6’8″ LVILLE Joey Dorsey
29 Arturas Gudaitis PF/C 6’10” ZALG Adreian Payne
30 Jarell Martin PF 6’9″ LSU Ryan Gomes
31 Justin Anderson SG/SF 6’6″ UVA Hollis Thompson
32 Cliff Alexander PF/C 6’9″ KANS J.J. Hickson
33 Michael Qualls SG 6’6″ ARK Xavier Silas
34 Cedi Osman SF 6’8″ EFES Kim English
35 Vince Hunter PF 6’8″ UTEP Jared Sullinger –
36 Jordan Mickey PF/C 6’8″ LSU John Henson –
37 Mouhammadou Jaiteh C 6’11” NANT Udonis Haslem
38 J.P. Tokoto SG 6’6″ UNC Terrence Williams –
39 Josh Richardson SG 6’6″ TENN D.J. Strawberry
40 Norman Powell SG 6’3″ UCLA Lazar Hayward
41 Mateusz Ponitka SG 6’6″ OOS Chris Douglas-Roberts
42 Guillermo Hernangomez PF/C 6’11” SEV Justin Harper
43 Dakari Johnson C 6’11” KENT Reggie Johnson
44 Terry Rozier PG 6’1″ LVILLE Jarvis Threatt
45 Richaun Holmes PF 6’8″ BGSU Brian Skinner
46 Nikola Milutinov C 6’11” PART Jeff Pendergraph
47 Tyler Harvey SG 6’4″ EWU Isaiah Canaan
48 Olivier Hanlan PG/SG 6’4″ BC Coby Karl
49 Royce O’Neale SF 6’6″ BAY David Noel
50 Andrew Harrison PG 6’5″ KENT A.J. Price
51 Denzel Livingston SG 6’5″ UIW Tony Allen –
52 Juan Vaulet SG 6’6″ WEB
53 Rakeem Christmas C 6’9″ CUSE Herbert Hill
54 Larry Nance Jr. SF 6’8″ WYO Trevor Booker-
55 Derrick Marks SG 6’3″ BOISE Luther Head
56 Shawn Dawson SG 6’4″ MRL Allen Crabbe
57 Dez Wells SG 6’5″ MARY Hassan Adams
58 Michael Frazier SG 6’6″ FLA Toot Young
59 Aaron White SF/PF 6’8″ IOWA Melvin Ejim
60 Seth Tuttle PF 6’8″ UNI Nate Harris