clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

4* Fever, Vol. II: The Part About the NBA Draft, Especially in 2016 (UPDATED w/ '16 Prospect Designations Added)

New, 15 comments

There were ~4,500 scholarship Division I NCAAB players in 2015. Only ~20 of them were 5* recruits...less than 1%. Here is the second in a three-part series appreciating the overwhelming majority of college basketball players -- the non-5*s.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Watching the NBA Draft, and especially paying attention to the immoderate amount of hype that precedes it, leaves one with the feeling that the annual event is all about the 5* one-and-done prospect.  That's not necessarily the case, and especially was not in this past June's Draft, as the data below illustrates.

To compile info, I looked at the top 35 picks in each Draft since 2012.  Due to the significant amount of research involved (175 players' worth), I consulted just 247Sports' Composite * ranking for each player.

I undertook this project: 1) because I'm a Draft weirdo; 2) it was evocative of recent NCAAB superstars; and 3) I wanted to get a general idea of the Draft's makeup in terms of tiers of college prospects based on recruiting rankings over the years.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), this is not my typical 2,000 word vociferation.

In other words, I offer it as more of a "summer fun FYI" than as proof of any concrete hypothesis.

That said, when everyone at the office water cooler is complaining about the heat or trying to convince you to watch Netflix' newest show, I ardently expect you to ignore them and boisterously lead with, "hey everyone, did you know that, in terms of 'one-and-done' NBA Draft potential, the 4* 2015 high school class was nearly as strong as the 5* '15 class!?!"

Anyway, the data is separated into tables below and I conclude with just a few brief observations.

TOP 35 PICKS 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
5* O/D 7 13
8
5
6
5* Other 2 5
6
3
9
4* O/D 5 0
1
1
2
4* Other 3 5
6
8
9
Other 7 6
7
10
7
Int'l 11 6
7
8
2

Notes: For '16, 5* Thon Maker and 4* Giorgios Papagiannas were counted as "Int'l;" for '15, 5* Emmanuel Mudiay was counted as "Int'l;" for '14, 5* PJ Hairston was drafted from the NBA Developmental League; for '13, 3* Glen Rice, Jr. was also drafted from the NBADL.

LOTTERY 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
5* O/D 4
8
6
4
4
5* Other 1
0
2
2
3
4* O/D 1
0
1
1
1
4* Other 1
1
1
3
5
Other 4
2
2
4
1
Int'l 3
3
2
0
0

Notes: For '16, 5* Thon Maker and 4* Giorgios Papagiannas were counted as "Int'l;" for '15, 5* Emmanuel Mudiay was counted as "Int'l;" for '14

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND AWARDS (AND THE UNANSWERABLE QUESTION)

I fully acknowledge that the volume of 5*s in the draft pool is infinitely smaller than the other designations.  There are obviously more 4*s (and even more 3*s and NRs) in any given class than 5*s.  I didn't do the proportional math, so I'm not going to make any conclusions based on that approach to this data.

We can conclude, though, from looking at the data above, that players rated 4* and lower are a much more significant part of the Draft than we are often led to believe.

Now, some awards...

5* One-and-Done Disappointment (Must be Lottery Pick)

Anthony Bennett (#1, '13)

Best 4*s

Andre Drummond (#9, '12)

Draymond Green (#35, '12)

Best 3*s

Damian Lillard (#6, '12)

C.J. McCollum (#10, '13)

Best NR

Elfrid Payton (#10; '14)

The most important question, which is unanswerable, is whether, when you have a year like '16, '13, or '12, in which 4*s are mostly just as present numerically as the 5*, the scouting services were off in their evaluation of prospects or whether the 5*s underwhelmed while the 4*s overwhelmed?  Or were the upperclassmen especially strong during those years?  What do you think?

2016

The noteworthy theme here is the near-equal number of one-and-dones from the 4* ranks (5) as the 5* ranks (7).  That ratio stands out among the previous five Drafts.

2015

Obviously, this is the one Draft that was mostly dominated by one-and-done talent.  57% of the Lottery and 37% of the first 35 picks were 5*s who spent just one year in college.

2014

This Draft had selections distributed fairly evenly among the designations, though it did see the second-highest number of 5* one-and-dones during this span.

2013

'13, headlined by perhaps the biggest Draft bust of my lifetime (one-and-done Anthony Bennett), and Nerlens Noel's and Archie Goodwin's Draft, was the definitive non-one-and-done Draft of the past five years.

Honestly, though only three years have passed, this is arguably the worst Draft since 2006 (Andrea Bargnani, Adam Morrison, Tyrus Thomas, and Shelden Williams were top 5 picks).  There are no All-Star or All-NBA players among the first 35 selections, and only two players appear to potentially be heading in that direction (Giannis Antetokounmpo and C.J. McCollum, 2016's Most Improved Player)

2012

Topped by Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, UK players made up 50% of the 5* one-and-dones selected in the Lottery.  Marquis Teague, another 5* one-and-done, and Terrence Jones, a sophomore 5* were also selected in this Draft.

Keep an eye out for the final part of the series -- a glance at the non-5*s who figure to make an impact on NCAAB in 2016-2017, and potentially the 2017 NBA Draft -- in mid-September.

'16 Prospect Designations (Lottery Picks Italicized)

5* O/D

Ben Simmons
Brandon Ingram
Jaylen Brown
Jamal Murray
Henry Ellenson
Skal Labissiere
Cheick Diallo

5* Other

Kris Dunn
Tyler Ulis

4* O/D

Marquese Chriss
Malik Beasley
Malachi Richardson
Dejounte Murray
Deyonta Davis

4* Other

Denzel Valentine
Brice Johnson
Damian Jones

Other

Buddy Hield
Jakob Poeltl
Domantas Sabonis
Taurean Prince
Wade Baldwin
Caris LeVert
DeAndre' Bembry

Int'l
Dragan Bender

Thon Maker
Georgios Papagiannis

Juan Hernangómez
Guerschon Yabusele
Ante Zizic
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Furkan Korkmaz
Pascal Siakam
Ivica Zubac

Rade Zagorac