If you have read one of my earlier pieces on my draft database, formerly known as PLAV or PLAVAFA, then you will understand what this piece is all about. If not, earlier this spring I came up with an idea to make my own draft projection system where I take both advanced metrics and per 40 statistics in an attempt to find a single number to assign to prospects that will or could be drafted in this year’s NBA draft.
If you are well versed in an advanced analytics, you will know that assigning a single number to a prospect isn’t exactly the best approach at finding how good a particular prospect is. But for now, because it is one of my first attempts at doing so, we are just going to roll with it.
If you click on the link to the database, there is a page labeled “What you need to know” which explains the name of the database PLAVAA (Present Level of Ability and Value Adjusted for Age) and a few other important details when you are perusing the data.
The prospects have nearly every physical detail one would need to know about a player heading into the 2018 NBA Draft, with the exception of a few wingspans that could not be found as I researched.
The initial ranking is a generalized ranking for a number of sites such as ESPN.com, thestepien.com, nbadraft.net, and cbssports.com. I touch on this in the “What you need to know” section of the database.
How I Found My Results
With the help http://www.sports-reference.com, I was able to mine the data necessary to plug into my formula to find the PLAVAA for these prospects.
PLAVAA is a simple linear regression model, which is a tool that produces an equation which shows how inputs produce a certain outcome. The outcome in this scenario is PLAVAA while the numbers shown in the boxes of the database are the inputs.
The equation takes all the in game statistics like True Shooting percentage, Free Throw Rate, etc. and converts them into a certain number. This number is then adjusted for pace of play, strength of schedule, and the current age of the player. After you’ve adjusted for these three pieces of data, you then have PLAVAA.
I then put the levels of PLAVAA into order from highest to lowest. Here’s how the top 14 prospects look now.
(Note- Luka Doncic isn’t in the top 14 because I haven’t found a way to account for European statistics in this equation. He’s the top player in this draft class nonetheless.)
Jaren Jackson Jr. takes the top spot in the rankings while Jontay Porter takes a huge leap to the second spot of the list which was quite surprising. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made his way to number seven, which seems more appropriate compared to where a number of other sites had him listed. Moritz Wagner, a talented shooter, plays himself into the top 10 because of how effective he is at scoring. Jalen Hudson, who has had a fantastic college career makes his way into the lottery as well.
Keep in mind, you have to account for not only statistical production given by these players, but you also need to account for how their size and length fits into today’s modern NBA.
The style of play of these prospects is also crucial to them succeeding in the NBA. You have to be able to stretch the floor with outside shooting and you have to be able to switch on bigger or smaller players in pick and roll situations. There’s a reason that a large percentage of these prospects will be out of the league in less than three or four years and that’s because their game doesn’t account for what the NBA needs.
I hope you guys enjoyed taking a look at the database, if you have any tips, comments, or critiques, feel free to comment or email me at sportingminnesota.com.
photo credit – sbnation.com