Monday, August 11, 2008

Help from the Draft

The 2008 NBA draft was held on June 26, 2008. The Sixers had only one pick in the draft, having traded our second round pick to the Utah Jazz. Picking 16th, the odds of landing a useful player were fairly low, but we'd managed to find Thaddeus Young at the 12th spot last year so there was hope.

As everyone reading this blog probably knows at this point, the Sixers selected Marreese Speights, a PF/C from Florida, with our selection. I freely admit that I knew nothing about him at the time, other than that there had been some rumors that he was not a particularly hard worker. But even the people he made that claim also said that he was a very talented player.

So will Speights help the Sixers this year? No way to really know until the season begins, but Professor Berri helpfully evaluated the play of all the featured rookies at the Las Vegas Summer League using Win Score (a version of Wins Produced). Now, he spends most of his post explaining that the sample size from summer league is so small that the resulting standard deviation makes the results somewhat (mostly) meaningless, but I'm going to ignore that part of the piece and just look at the (meaningless) numbers he puts up for Speights.

As this table shows, the average WS48 for an NBA center last season was 10.993. Speights posted a 10.7, putting him just under the average mark for a center. If that mark represents Speights's true ability for the year (a big if), then I think he'll help us this year. From another of Professor Berri's posts, we know approximately that WP48 = 0.104 + 1.621*PAWSmin. Thus, Speights's 10.7 WS48 --> PAWS48 = -0.3 --> PAWS/min = -.00625 --> WP48 = .094. Remember, average WP48 in the NBA = .100.

Erich Doerr's analysis (based on looking at the college PAWS of top prospects) is also very bullish on Speights's chances of being a productive NBA player.

To have a rookie selected 16th come in and be able to produce at close to the NBA average in his first season is a huge help. So while Speights obviously does not help with the Sixers' need to improve at shooting guard, the preliminary results indicate that he will help strengthen the Sixers' bench. All in all, a successful draft.

(Completely off topic, but one of the players I thought was being highly underrated in the run-up to the draft was Joey Dorsey from Memphis. The Rockets selected him in the second round, and the results from summer league look promising. Go Joey!)

Up next: The Elton Brand Chase.

1 comment:

Louis said...

Easy on the numbers there stat-boy. His ability to help the 76ers, as a center, will be greatly increased if he can just stand his ground in the lane and help the team with interior D.