NBA Draft Preview: Nerlens Noel Projects to Be Best Prospect

NBA Draft Preview: Nerlens Noel Projects to Be Best Prospect

Nerlens Noel is the sixth best player in the draft at steals (3.9% of opponents’ trips end in Noel stealing the ball), one of the top 10 at defensive rebounds (grabs 22.3% of opponents misses) and is the best “non-ball hog” in the draft, taking only 15.9% of his teams shots. Those are the three most important college stats in determining a college player’s future NBA potential, and when factored in with other stats, Noel projects to be the best NBA player from this year’s draft by the fourth year of the rookie contracts – indicating a team of players as good as Noel would likely go 65-17 by 2016-17.

These exclusive NBA projections indicate a team of players as good as Trey Burke would go about 42-40 next season, while a team of players as good as Noel should go about 34-48. However, Noel is younger and his strengths tend to improve values more than Burke’s strengths, so Burke could well be the better rookie but Noel is the better draft pick. Here are the rankings of the 59 potential draft picks who played in college this year, with their draft rating as an average of their first year and fourth year projected record.

Rnk Name School %Shots Stl% DR% 2013-14 Wins 2016-17 Wins Average
1 Nerlens Noel Kentucky 15.9 3.9 22.3 34 65 49
2 Otto Porter Georgetown 25.5 3.3 19.0 38 50 44
3 Andre Roberson Colorado 19.9 3.9 27.1 21 65 43
4 Trey Burke Michigan 28.3 2.8 8.7 42 42 42
5 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Georgia 33.1 3.8 19.7 34 47 40
6 Ben McLemore Kansas 24.7 1.8 12.3 38 38 38
7 Anthony Bennett UNLV 28.0 1.5 21.8 33 40 36
8 Steven Adams Pittsburgh 17.6 1.9 19.1 29 44 36
9 Victor Oladipo Indiana 21.9 4.5 14.0 30 42 36
10 Cody Zeller Indiana 24.5 2.1 18.7 34 37 35
11 Gorgui Dieng Louisville 16.1 2.6 22.1 21 50 35
12 Mason Plumlee Duke 20.9 1.7 23.3 25 41 33
13 Jamaal Franklin San Diego St. 26.7 2.9 26.3 20 44 32
14 Michael Carter-Williams Syracuse 19.6 4.8 11.1 29 35 32
15 Mike Muscala Bucknell 31.1 1.0 28.9 25 40 32
16 Richard Howell NC State 20.5 1.9 24.0 19 46 32
17 Dewayne Dedmon USC 18.1 2.9 24.1 11 49 30
18 C.J. McCollum (2012) Lehigh 34.3 4.6 17.6 25 34 29
19 Jeff Withey Kansas 20.4 1.4 20.9 22 37 29
20 Reggie Bullock UNC 20.1 2.2 15.5 23 35 29
21 Erick Green Virginia Tech 33.0 2.1 10.6 28 28 28
22 Grant Jerrett Arizona 18.5 1.6 16.4 20 36 28
23 Shane Larkin Miami FL 21.4 3.4 10.4 28 28 28
24 Colton Iverson Colorado St. 21.3 1.2 25.8 16 38 27
25 Shabazz Muhammad UCLA 30.8 1.3 8.5 27 27 27
26 Trevor Mbakwe Minnesota 18.8 1.7 24.3 14 40 27
27 Kelly Olynyk Gonzaga 29.3 1.6 20.5 25 27 26
28 Jackie Carmichael Illinois St. 27.8 1.8 24.7 16 34 25
29 Erik Murphy Florida 24.6 1.5 17.4 20 29 24
30 Nate Wolters South Dakota St. 29.1 2.8 14.3 24 24 24
31 Carrick Felix Arizona St. 22.2 2.4 18.6 14 33 23
32 James Ennis Long Beach St. 24.5 3.1 15.7 18 28 23
33 James Southerland Syracuse 25.1 3.1 14.4 15 31 23
34 Deshaun Thomas Ohio St. 32.2 0.9 14.0 22 22 22
35 Allen Crabbe California 27.7 1.9 14.8 21 21 21
36 Brandon Davies Brigham Young 27.4 2.6 21.9 13 29 21
37 Ray McCallum Detroit 23.9 3.0 13.1 19 23 21
38 Robert Covington Tennessee St. 30.1 4.1 18.7 10 33 21
39 Peyton Siva Louisville 19.5 4.3 7.6 19 22 20
40 Pierre Jackson Baylor 27.6 2.5 9.5 20 20 20
41 Alex Len Maryland 23.2 0.5 19.3 16 23 19
42 Tony Mitchell North Texas 22.1 1.8 20.6 9 29 19
43 Kenny Kadji Miami FL 25.0 0.8 20.2 13 24 18
44 Seth Curry Duke 26.6 1.6 6.8 18 18 18
45 C.J. Leslie North Carolina St. 23.1 1.8 18.1 11 21 16
46 Ryan Kelly Duke 22.6 1.4 14.3 14 19 16
47 Isaiah Canaan Murray St. 32.4 2.5 9.2 15 15 15
48 Solomon Hill Arizona 21.7 2.1 12.7 13 18 15
49 Brandon Paul Illinois 27.6 2.3 14.4 14 14 14
50 Lorenzo Brown North Carolina St. 20.9 3.4 11.4 12 17 14
51 Will Clyburn Iowa St. 22.8 1.7 16.8 10 18 14
52 Archie Goodwin Kentucky 25.0 2.1 10.4 13 13 13
53 Tim Hardaway Michigan 24.2 1.2 14.8 11 15 13
54 Vander Blue Marquette 27.6 2.0 9.3 10 10 10
55 BJ Young Arkansas 30.5 1.4 10.5 9 9 9
56 Phil Pressey Missouri 22.2 3.1 7.9 7 7 7
57 Tony Snell New Mexico 24.2 1.6 8.1 7 7 7
58 Myck Kabongo Texas 19.9 3.2 12.7 5 5 5
59 Adonis Thomas Memphis 25.4 1.3 11.0 3 3 3

The stats a player produces calculate to a “Wins Produced per 48 minutes.” A player who is exactly average in every NBA Stat would have a WP/48 of .100, meaning that a team of completely average players would average to a .500 for a full 48 minute game for a 41-41 record over 82 games. in calculating how well decades of college players have done when jumping (or attempting to jump) to the NBA, we have been able to project the WP/48 minutes they should have in their first, second and third year. By his fourth year Noel projects to have a WP/48 of .160, which means combined with four average players would win 56 percent of their games (.100 + .100 + .100 + .100 + Noel’s .160 = .560).

However, if every player on a team were as good as Noel (all .160), they would project to go 65-17.

Previous posts covered know how good a college player someone is (Senior Value Add), and if he is one of the few players elite enough physically to play in the league. While many stats factor into determining how many wins a player can produce for a team we list the three that are the strongest “NBA Indicators” in the equation that leads to projected wins.  A further explanation of the three most important stats in these projections follows:

Shot% – Players who excel in college WITHOUT taking a lot of the shots are the best prospects. This has been mathematically proven over the years, but the reason seems to be that a college star who is used to shooting his way out of a slump is going to be on an NBA bench when he misses his first three shots. Noel only takes 15.9 percent of his shots while on the floor and dominates both ends, while BJ Young is not going to have the green light to put up more than 30 percent of the shots like he did in Arkansas when he led the SEC in scoring so he is a long shot to stay on an NBA roster even if picked.

Steal% – Victor Oladipo steals the ball on 4.5% of opponents’ trips down the floor, and that is a huge indicator that he will be a strong NBA player. The fact that Noel is also one of the top players in the country at 3.9%, despite playing center, is yet another reason he is clearly the top player in this year’s draft.

Defensive Rebound% – Andre Roberson’s ability to go down and grab the rebound 27.1% of the time one of Colorado’s opponents’ missed a shot is one of the reasons he projects to put up a lot of wins for an NBA team.

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