Now that we have a full season of new information for the 2014 draft class, it is time to update my beliefs. It will still be a while before we have a clear image of who should have been picked where, but the new information is also not trivial so I can offer some tentative self assessments with draft slot, my final big board rank, and my post summer league rank.
Players I overrated:
Dante Exum: Drafted: #5, Final Big: #2, Post-SL: #4
Nik Stauskas: Drafted #8, Final Big: #14, Post-SL: #15
Tyler Ennis: Drafted: #18, Final Big: #9, Post-SL: #16
Kyle Anderson: Drafted: #30, Final Big: #15, Post-SL: #19
Interestingly I cannot find many players that I badly overrated. Part of this is that it remains to be seen whether my optimism for players such as KJ McDaniels, Jarnell Stokes, and the entire international class was warranted. So for now these prospects are the focal point.
By far the biggest surprise among players I liked was Dante Exum, and I was even prepared to be surprised for him. While he gets some slack for being young and having a steep rise in competition, it is difficult to envision him becoming a star after his rookie season. To some extent it is acceptable to say he was a worthwhile gamble that did not pay off as hoped and move on. But it is worth noting 2 key details that could have received more attention pre-draft
1) My motto is that upside is all that matters in the draft, and it is worth stomaching downside to get a healthy slice of it. But without the proven competence against NCAA competition, a mystery box like Exum loses a chunk of upside since he is less likely to hit his theoretical upper bound than the players who passed that check point.
2) Exum has awesome size and quickness, but his lack of burst did not receive much attention. It seemed that it would be outweighed by his good tools, but his disappointment suggests that explosiveness is particularly important for any high usage slasher.
Tyler Ennis can still go on to have a perfectly decent career, but I only rated him highly because his statistical splits piqued my interest. He never stood out when I watched him play, so this is a simple error of getting too intrigued by a statistical trend that I could not directly explain.
Kyle Anderson had great stats and skill, but moving in slow motion on top of having a questionable work ethic appears to be a problem for him. I do not feel I badly overrated him, but I should have docked him more for being historically unathletic.
Nik Stauskas I correctly pegged as having bad tools and being a guaranteed bad defensive player, but he had qualities I subtly liked enough to not drop him significantly below consensus. I should have ranked him slightly lower because his sophomore year was not offensively dominant enough to brush off his physical and defensive shortcomings.
Players I underrated:
Andrew Wiggins: Drafted: #1, Final Big: #7, Post-SL: #6
Zach LaVine: Drafted #13, Final Big: #35, Post-SL: #10
TJ Warren: Drafted #14, Final Big: #28, Post-SL: #3
Mitch McGary: Drafted #21, Final Big: #25, Post-SL: #9
Rodney Hood: Drafted #23, Final Big: #57, Post-SL: #36
Jordan Clarkson: Drafted: #46, Final Big: #52, Post-SL: NR
Andrew Wiggins has surprised me in a few regards: he fixed the rim finishing woes in a hurry, and he seems to have become less passive as he went from never dunking in the half-court to routinely trying to dunk on giant rim protectors such as Omer Asik and Rudy Gobert. There were a number of subtleties I disliked about him, but it appears that I underweighted his super athleticism. I am not convinced that he is a future star, and I still believe it was insane to take him ahead of Embiid but I should have been less bearish on him.
Zach LaVine is still a bit of a mystery box after finishing his rookie season with negative win shares, but he showed enough potential such that I should have rated him as a 1st rounder.
TJ Warren and Mitch McGary were simple cases of weirdos that I failed to scout and then immediately regretted it as soon as I watched them in summer league. They are going to put big dents in the quality of my final big board, but it merely goes to show that weirdos need to be scouted to be evaluated accurately.
Rodney Hood I am not sure why I dropped all the way to 57th, as I noted that he had potential to be solid offensively in spite of his woeful defense. His post-SL ranking of #36 seems much more reasonable. I could have given his good first step more attention as it has aided his translation to the NBA.
Jordan Clarkson makes a strong case for scoring at the rim unassisted in the half-court being a relevant split as it was his only unique feature.
Players I (hopefully) rated approximately correctly:
Aaron Gordon: Drafted: #4, Final Big: #4, Post-SL: #5
Marcus Smart: Drafted: #6, Final Big: #3, Post-SL: #3
Doug McDermott: Drafted: #11, Final Big: #34, Post-SL: #32
Adreian Payne: Drafted: #15, Final Big: #32, Post-SL: #33
Jusuf Nurkic: Drafted: #16, Final Big: #5, Post-SL: #8
Gary Harris: Drafted: #19, Final Big: #24, Post-SL: #23
Shabazz Napier: Drafted: #24, Final Big: #37, Post-SL: NR
Clint Capela: Drafted #25, Final Big: #6, Post-SL: #14
Aaron Gordon is so young and funky that it is hard to say exactly what he will become as a pro. But he showed enough promise as a rookie to make me feel good about altering my opinion from bearish to bullish.
Marcus Smart has been a disappointment as a slasher, but he has atoned by shooting better than expected from 3 with more spot ups and fewer off the dribble attempts and having sharp passing vision. And as I repeatedly mentioned, he is a stud on defense. He may never become much of a scorer, but he is going to be an awesome role player.
Doug McDermott is the first prospect I wrote about on this blog, and it was for good reason. He never belonged anywhere near the lottery, and after his rookie season I would say that I nailed my analysis of him.
Adreian Payne was a prospect that sounded sweet on paper but was loathed by every statistical model in the world. It was a surprise to see one of the better organizations draft him so early, but it appears that stat nerds have won this debate.
Jusuf Nurkic disappointed a big down the stretch of his rookie season, but overall showed enough promise to verify that he was a top 10 prospect in the draft.
I could have ranked Gary Harris a bit lower, as he seemed to have lots of downside and little upside. But I feel that this is one of my more perceptive positions, as this was a rare case where statistical models and scouts agreed but I did not.
Shabazz Napier was free money to fade. Poor Miami drafted him to impress LeBron and LeBron left them anyway.
There is no evidence to justify my bullishness for Clint Capela yet, but I am merely reinforcing my opinion. This seems like a case where the behind the scenes information caused him to slip, but the fact of the matter is that he was toolsy and productive and the behind the scenes info was likely noise clouding the signal. I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish in a real role next season.
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You underrated Jabari Parker big time. Was the easy Rookie of the Year favorite before he went down.
I thought he was the ROY favorite in spite of my draft ranking so that doesn’t exactly prove me wrong