If the Draft Lottery Were Today, These Are the 14

The NBA Draft Lottery is part beauty pageant, part hopeful dreaming, with a little bit of knowledge thrown in. For the most part, league executives are guessing, based on information they have been able to gather in a shortened window. Coming to conclusions based on individual workouts has its ups and downs. Either you get Kwame Brown who outperformed Tyson Chaanlder. Or you get Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook who wowed every team they worked out for.

With half the season in the books, we have a good idea how the lottery should have looked last June. What we know so far is that Karl Anthony-Towns has scored the most total points, grabbed the most rebounds and played the most minutes. Emmanuel Mudiay, not D’Angelo Russell, has been the best pure point, he has the most assists. Willie Cauley-Stein has the highest field goal percentage. Cameron Payne is the best 3-point shooter. Mario Hezonja is the best free throw shooter.

But have the 14 lottery players lived up to their potential? If the lottery were today, this is how they would be ranked.

1. Karl Anthony-Towns (15.7 points, 9.4 rebounds): He’s a number one pick who has played like a number one pick. Leading the rookies in virtually every category, he has the agility, versatility, athleticism and talent everyone predicted. In his second game of the season, Towns had a double-double, 28 and 14, on the road in Denver. He’s logged 19 double-doubles, playing primarily at center. He has the highest PER of rookies at 21.9 and is competent on every part of the floor.

Shooting Skill At the Rim 3-10 feet 10-16 feet Long Two’s
2015-16 69% 45% 44% 45%

2015 Draft #1

Timberwolves Improvement (Wins): +5

2. Jahlil Okafor (17.4 points, 7.5 rebounds): He had the bad luck to go to the worst team in the league that is utterly clueless on how to build a team. There’s an argument to be made that Okafor has been wasted in the 76ers “process” system. As billed, Okafor is a solid scorer, a mediocre rebounder. But what we will never know is how the losing has impacted the mental part of his game. If he was with another lottery team, would his effort and productivity be higher? That said Okafor is giving the 76ers 17.4 points and 7.5 rebounds as their center. He’s a great scorer at the rim but once he veers north of that he is pretty average to horrible. He is only shooting 40%, 3-10 feet, pretty abysmal for a seven footer in this spacing league. He’s a below average offensive rebounder, grabbing only 8.7% of Philly’s offensive boards. His PER is 16.7

Games (December 10th-December 14th) :

  • vs. Brooklyn: 22 points, 10 rebounds
  • vs. Detroit: 22 points, 6 rebounds
  • vs. Toronto: 23 points, 14 rebounds
  • vs. Bulls: 22 points, 8 rebounds

2015 Draft #3

76ers Improvement (Wins): -4

3. Kristaps Porzingis (13.9 points, 8.0 rebounds): The surprise of the lottery when he was selected, he’s the surprise now. Porzingis has been a beauty to watch in his first year. He has the perfect skill set for this era and in a lot of ways, he is the anti- Jahlil. He plays hard all the time. He loves to rebound. He can score. He sets screens. His rebounding percentage is 15.7%, almost double that of Okafor. He is the ultimate team player and has changed the narrative from the pick the faithful booed to an essential piece of the Knicks playoff pie. He’s versatile, playing both center and power forward. The book is still out on whether he is Dirk Nowitzki, part two, but he has a tremendous talent base. He is an essential piece paired with Carmelo, the first front court player who has had exceptional chemistry with Carmelo. His PER is 18.5

  • November 21st: 24 points, 14 rebounds
  • November 23rd: 20 points, 14 rebounds

2015 Draft #4

Knicks Improvement (Wins): +15

4. D’Angelo Russell (11.9 points, 3.4 assists): The most media scrutinized of the top 4 picks, partly because he is playing for the Lakers and partly because he was sold as a Magic Johnson point guard, his game is incessantly picked apart. He is evaluated as if he is a veteran instead of a 19 year old kid. His Summer League performance dialed back all the greatest ever talk when he couldn’t make the simple pass. He has improved greatly since then. But his assist-to-turnover ratio (1.77) is 77th in the league which has fueled conversations about whether he is a point guard at all. He struggles at times organizing the offense and he doesn’t play with the sense of urgency other young guards play with who are trying to prove themselves. But he has pure talent as a scorer, crossing over his defender at will, and hitting the mid-range jumper. He can go on a run when he’s feeling it and I expect his days coming of the bench to be over pretty soon. For as much as people complain about his minutes he has passed the 1000+ minute mark, same as Towns, Okafor and Porzingis. No other rookie(s) has played as much as those four. His PER is 13.1

Shooting Skill At the Rim 3-10 feet
2015-16 61.3% 45.0%

2015 Draft #2

Lakers Improvement (Wins): -3

5. Larry Nance Jr. (6.2 points, 5.1 rebounds): The Wyoming “project” is the Lakers starter at power forward, a player you don’t have to run plays for. His athleticism is off the charts but it is his relentless on-court work ethic that is his true talent. He plays harder than anyone on the team as he corrals loose balls and rebounds. He has a nice touch to his mid-range shot, incredible dunks, a team-first, me-second personality. He shoots 53.8% in his 20.9 minutes per game. His PER is 13.7.

Shooting Skill At the Rim 3-10 feet
2015-16 70.7% 43.3%

2015 Draft #27

Lakers Improvement (Wins): -3

6. Bobby Portis (7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds): The challenge for the Bulls is finding time for Portis. When Joakim Noah went out, Portis was able to get time on the court, playing center. Now that Noah has returned (and if he is not traded) it will be interesting to see how the Bulls carve out minutes for Portis who is a good mid range shooter, has a nose for the ball and rebounds as a power forward. He is not the explosive athlete that Larry Nance Jr. is but he plays hard. In his 15 minutes, his rebounding percentage of 15.9% is better than Porzingis who plays 28 minutes. Portis’ PER is 15.2

Shooting Skill At the Rim 3-10 feet
2015-16 74.1% 41.7%

2015 Draft #22

Bulls Improvement (Wins): -3

7. Devin Booker (7.9 points, 1.1 assists): Booker has a bright future as a wing scorer and defender. He is getting  more minutes with the Eric Bledsoe injury. He is a deadly three point shooter at 45% and can drain the mid-range and finish in traffic at the rim. He has a defender’s intellect plus the instincts and body to play physical on the wing. 25% of his playing time has been as the small forward. His PER is 12.6

Shooting Skill At the Rim 3-10 feet 3-Point %
2015-16 72% 41.4% 45.8%

2015 Draft #13

Suns Improvement (Wins): -9

8. Willie Cauley-Stein (5.0 points, 4.9 rebounds): The Kings envision a Twin Towers with Cauley-Stein and DeMarcus Cousins. Cauley-Stein has only played in 24 games as his development has been interrupted because of injury. But when he was on the court, he was an athletic force, able to do all the things Cousins either can’t do or won’t do. He doesn’t have to worry about plays being called for him and can concentrate on rebounding, shot blocking and defending the rim. In 17.7 minutes his rebounding percentage is 15.0%. He is shooting 62.8%. He has nice touch in the mid-range game. His PER is 14.8

Shooting Skill At the Rim 3-10 feet
2015-16 67.3% 54.5%

2015 Draft #6

Kings Improvement (Wins): -1

9. Stanley Johnson (7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds): An athletic forward, Johnson came to a team where all he had to do was figure out NBA defenses. The Pistons had a dominant player in Andre Drummond and a playmaker in Reggie Jackson. Johnson is seen as the Pistons future at the small forward position, although he has played some at the shooting guard slot. In 22 minutes per game he has struggled shooting the ball except at the rim so he has yet to understand how to be effective as an offensive player. His PER is 8.5.

Shooting Skill At the Rim 3-10 feet 3-Point %
2015-16 57.5% 27.9% 31.9%

2015 Draft #8

Pistons Improvement (Wins): +7

10. Emmanuel Mudiay (10.4 points, 5.6 assists): Mudiay came into the league as a professional player, having played in China and he has a solid grasp on being a playmaker. His assist percentage is 30.9% But he has had two glaring weaknesses during his rookie campaign. He can’t shoot a lick (30.8%). And he is a turnover machine, 3.8 per game. His assist to turnover ratio puts him at 78th in the NBA. It suppresses his efficiency and the Nuggets production. Last night was a perfect example. The Warriors constantly played off of him giving him wide open shots. He took them but  missed most of them. Had he made them the game wouldn’t have been close enough for Steph Curry to impact the margin of victory. His PER is 6.5

Shooting Woes At the Rim 3-10 feet 10-16 feet 3-Point %
2015-16 48.7% 22.2% 26.1% 24.4%

2015 Draft #7

Nuggets Improvement (Wins): -3

11. Justise Winslow (5.4 points, 4.6 reobunds): On draft night many considered Winslow a steal. But scouts who evaluated Winslow knew he would struggle with his offense in NBA sets. He’s not a skilled shooter. But everything that was said about Winslow on the defensive end is true. You can throw him on the other team’s best player. He has the acumen, the physicality, the mental toughness and the lateral quickness to guard on the wing and play a little power forward too. His shooting will improve over time. But for the Heat, who are trying to contend, he can be an offensive liability. His PER is 6.4.

Shooting Inconsistency At the Rim 3-10 feet 10-16 feet 3-Point%
2015-16 56.0% 27.8% 50.0% 22.1%

2015 Draft #10

Heat Improvement (Wins): +5

12. Frank Kaminsky (7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds): Mixed reviews pre-draft on his ability to stay on the floor with athletes slotted Kaminsky as a NBA specialist. Except his specialty, shooting, allowing the Hornets to space the floor when Al Jefferson is out, has been missing. He doesn’t have a NBA center’s post up moves nor is he draining the shots he famously made in college, on the perimeter. He has been able to rebound some and his free throw shooting is very good. He’s an unselfish player and a willing passer. But until he figures out how to get his shot to go in, he will never live up to his lottery pick billing. His PER is 11.9

Shooting Woes At the Rim 3-10 feet 10-16 feet 3-Point %
2015-16 53.8% 30.0% 25.0% 32.2%

2015 Draft # 9

Hornets Improvement: +4

13. Trey Lyles (3.9 points, 4.0 rebounds): He only plays 17 minutes a game. He has a nice three point shot, with 44% accuracy, which if it can stay consistent, will help the Jazz who struggle with offense. He is not a physical, post up power forward but a floor spacer.  He is a poor free throw shooter but has a strong rebounding percentage, 13.8%, for someone who plays limited minutes. He has a lot of upside, is very athletic and is a natural fit in the Jazz’s defensive schemes as an athlete who comes off the bench for Derrick Favors and can moonlight at center. His PER is 8.5.

Shooting Ying and Yang Field Goal Percentage Free Throw Percentage 3-Point Percentage 3-10 feet Percentage
2015-16 40.7% 63.0% 44.0% 31.8%

2015 Draft #12

Jazz Improvement (Wins): +4

14. Jerian Grant (5.1 points, 2.3 assists): Traded on draft night by the Hawks to the Knicks, Grant has had a tough time making baskets that aren’t close in. He only plays 16 minutes a game and most of the time as a shooting guard. His PER is 9.5.

Shooting Ups and Downs At the Rim 3-10 feet 10-16 feet 3-Point Percentage
2015-16 43.5% 48.5% 34.8% 14.6%

2015 Draft #19

Knicks Improvement (Wins): +15


photo via llananba