Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) is considered the top NBA prospect, but Jabari Parker (Duke Freshman) and Jordan Adams (UCLA Sophomore) are the two prospects who have made the the strongest cases through the opening weeks of the season. The table below ranks the top 50 performances in the early season by NBA prospects based on Value Add which has been covered by ESPN.
Kendrick Perry of Youngstown State actually has the highest Value Add of all prospects at 10.4. His shot was off against a very good Massachusetts team, but he showed NBA-level defense with four steals and seven rebounds from his point guard spot. He showed NBA-level offense against a pretty good Eastern Kentucky team, pouring in 31 points, seven assists and nine rebounds.
The problem for Perry and other seniors is that they are already pretty close to their peak as prospects, so their “Senior Value Add (Sr.VA),” which better measures NBA potential is the same as their current Value Add, so he comes in 19th place as a prospect. After I first released Value Add, ESPN calculated that using the basic formula J.J. Reddick was one of the greatest ever. However, as a senior his Offensive Value Add of just over 9.00 still made him only a so-so NBA prospect.
Andre Hollins of Minnesota has been the top junior in the country with a 8.95 Value Add, but juniors only increase in Value by about 1.31, leaving him with a 10.11 Senior Value Add to make him the 21st best prospect based purely on his court performance so far.
The reason sophomores and freshman usually go so much higher in the draft is that sophomores usually improve by a factor of 2.2 and freshman by even more than the 3.0 which is factored. UCLA’s Jordan Adams just missed topping Perry for the top raw Value Add among all prospects, coming in just one-tenth of a point behind him at 10.30 for a Senior Value Add of 22.66 that points to future NBA greatness.
However, Jabari Parker has shown even more potential as a freshman at Duke. His 8.07 Value Add is just short of the normal All-American level of 9.0, giving him the top Senior Value Add of all prospects at 24.21.
Of course, Senior Value add is just one of the indicators in our draft previews, as there are particular skills that translate better to the NBA than others (defensive rebounding, steals, etc.) and combine results also are factored. But these 50 players are helping to make the case that their draft stock should rise as they try to help their college teams to March Madness success. The rankings for more than 3500 players will be available throughout the year at www.valueaddbasketball.com, and can be sorted by team, conference or player.