Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The 2013 NBA Draft was historically bad



As the 2014 draft approaches, I thought it might be interesting to look back at last year’s version to see just how bad it was.


All Draft Picks - 1st Season
Year
Win Shares
Minutes Played
1998
56.9
40,838
1999
56.0
35,790
2000
32.2
33,170
2001
57.2
41,005
2002
39.5
33,039
2003
48.7
40,515
2004
58.7
40,391
2005
64.6
42,957
2006
50.5
37,159
2007
43.8
37,499
2008
79.7
50,720
2009
74.3
48,425
2010
40.4
33,951
2011
63.0
48,380
2012
53.6
40,967
2013
34.7
32,635
98-12 Avg
54.6
40,320


The top line numbers don’t look so good. From 1998 to 2012, the draft class averaged 55 win shares in their first season. The 2013 total was 34.7. Only the 2000 draft – featuring the murderer’s row of Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer and Mike Miller as a top five – pulled in a lower total with 32.2 win shares as rookies.

If we restrict the measurement to just the top 10 players selected in each draft, the 2000 edition is still the lowest of the 98-12 period with 13.5 win shares. The 2013 draft comes in with only 7.4 and less than a third of the 15 year average of 26. The gap between an average top 10 and the 2013 top 10 is basically the entire gap between the overall average and the full 2013 draft.

For those who don’t like win shares we can check out an even more basic measure: minutes played. 2013 is the lowest in minutes played for both the full draft and the top 10 only.


Top 10 Picks - 1st Season
Year
Win Shares
Minutes Played
1998
36.4
20,354
1999
37.2
18,980
2000
13.5
14,723
2001
24.6
16,139
2002
28.9
18,391
2003
28.5
19,471
2004
32.2
16,763
2005
35.1
18,193
2006
15.8
14,112
2007
15.1
15,233
2008
35.8
21,059
2009
24.5
15,492
2010
21.4
17,503
2011
16.0
15,981
2012
24.9
17,553
2013
7.4
11,755
98-12 Avg
26.0
17,330


Finally, here are a couple graphs showing the cumulative build-up of win shares for 2013 compared to the average and the extremes from 1998-2012.

As mentioned above, the 2013 draft looks especially bad when you look at the performance of picks in the order selected (2nd chart). The top part of the first round was less than a quarter of the 2008 draft while the first several picks lacked anyone who could come in and deliver performance anywhere near expected. Given Anthony Bennett's negative win share total and middling totals of 1-2 for most of the other top picks, Nerlens Noel looks like the big hope from this group to have any elite players.

For those wondering, the top 5 2013 picks for win shares were Mason Plumlee (uh oh) with 4.7, Tim Hardaway with 3.1, Steven Adams and Kelly Olynyk at 2.9 and Cody Zeller with 2.6. It's hard to see who among this group will become a regular all star.

Given the hype for the 2014 class it seems more likely we'll be comparing it to the 2008 version than last year's. GMs in the lottery certainly hope so.

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