Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Never Heard of Him"

NBA Draft Review

A few months back, I decided to test a theory. The theory was that you could determine how well an early entrant will do in the NBA Draft by taking a random group of people and asking them if they've heard of the player. (Theoretically, if this works, it could be turned into a consulting service for players considering entering the draft early.) Preferably, these people would come from all walks of life and all levels of college basketball familiarity. In reality, the people polled were all KankaManiacs. Here are the results of year one of this poll. After a few years of data collection, we can start to see if we can accurately predict how an early entrant will do in the draft.

One note: In this case, all people polled were Notre Dame alumni. As Notre Dame basketball is in the Big East, this will tend to skew the results for players from that conference.

For each of our pollster's names, a 1 indicates that that person has heard of the player. A 0 means they have never heard of the player.
For the Round, -1 indicates the player later withdrew from the draft. 0 means they remained draft eligible but went undrafted.
Player Year Position SchoolDaveEllenMikeKankaTotalRoundPickOver-all
Alex Acker Junior Guard Pepperdine0000023060
Hassan Adams Junior Guard Arizona10012-100
Andray Blatche Senior Center South Kent (Ct.) Prep School0000021949
Kelenna Azubuike Junior Guard-Forward Kentucky10113000
Andrew Bogut Sophomore Center Utah10113111
Brandon Bowman Junior Forward Georgetown10113-100
Dee Brown Junior Guard Illinois10113-100
Ike Diogu Junior Forward Arizona State10001199
Monta Ellis Senior Guard Lanier (Miss.) HS0000021040
Raymond Felton Junior Guard North Carolina10113155
Torin Francis Junior Guard Notre Dame11114-100
Francisco Garcia Junior Guard Louisville1111412323
Gerald Green Senior Guard Houston Gulf Shores Academy1000111818
Mike Hall Junior Forward George Washington00000-100
Chris Hernandez Junior Guard Stanford10102-100
Jarrett Jack Junior Guard Georgia Tech1001212222
Dwayne Jones Junior Center St. Joseph's01001000
Linus Kleiza Sophomore Forward Missouri0000012727
Carl Krauser Junior Guard Pittsburgh11114-100
Sean May Junior Center North Carolina1111411313
Rashad McCants Junior Guard-Forward North Carolina1111411414
Pops Mensah-Bonsu Junior Forward George Washington10001-100
J.R. Morris Junior Forward Seton Hall01113-100
T.J. Parker Junior Guard Northwestern00101-100
Chris Paul Sophomore Guard Wake Forest10113144
Kevin Pittsnogle Junior Center West Virginia11114-100
Anthony Roberson Junior Guard Florida10102000
Nate Robinson Junior Guard Washington1011312121
Chris Rogers Junior Guard Arizona00101-100
Chris Taft Sophomore Center Pittsburgh1011321242
Charlie Villanueva Sophomore Forward Connecticut11114177
Von Wafer Sophomore Guard Florida State000002939
Matt Walsh Junior Guard Florida10012000
Martell Webster Senior Forward Seattle Prep (Wash.) HS10001166
Deron Williams Junior Guard Illinois10113133
Eric Williams Junior Center Wake Forest10102-100
Marvin Williams Freshman Forward North Carolina10102122
Shawne Williams Senior Forward Laurinburg (NC) Institute00000-100
Louis Williams Senior Guard South Gwinnett (GA) HS0001121545
Kennedy Winston Junior Forward Alabama10001000
Antoine Wright Junior Guard-Forward Texas A&M0000011515
Bracey Wright Junior Guard Indiana1011321747

For those of you who like pretty pictures, here's a chart of the overall pick of a drafted underclassmen versus the number of people who have heard of that player. Seniors are not included in the chart as they were not part of this poll. There's no Bell Curve to this chart, at least after one year, so I will let you draw your own conclusions. You can see that only two first rounders were unheard of (junior Antoine Wright of Texas A&M and sophomore Linus Kleiza of Missouri), while a majority of the second rounders were unheard of.

Finally, here's a breakdown of the average number of "Heard of Hims" for certain categories of players:
CategoryTotal Heard of HimsPlayersAverage
Round 138162.38
Round 2771
Drafted (Combined)45231.96

What does this tell us? Well, we knew quite a few of the players who withdrew, but there were a large number of Big East players on that list. On average, the first rounders were familiar to more than half of the pollsters. Logically, if you're considering leaving early, you would want a majority of people to have heard of you. I'm going to call the rest of the data inconclusive for now, largely because the numbers for the undrafted players were so much higher than the numbers of the round 2 draftees.

Conclusions? Well, as the baseball statheads like to say, this was too small of a sample set. This is only year 1, so we'll need more data under our belts before we can start making predictions. It is fairly safe to say, though, that you should make sure a majority of people have even heard of you before you consider leaving early to go pro.