Monday, February 9, 2009

What do cookies and drafting have in common? Part 1

Nothing if you are a fan of NASCAR, but this is a basketball blog, so if you're looking for tips on how to ride someones bumper in traffic to save on gas, GTFO.

I love cookies. Cookies are good. Nothing beats the gooey freshness and warmth of a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven. Let them sit a little while to cool off and they can be almost as good. Eventually some will be put into a tin and sent to friends around the holidays. They get a little crunchy, but still tastes great, especially with milk. Unfortunately, cookies don't last forever, and eventually they get stale. These are the four groups of home-made cookies. No matter what kind of cookie you like, if it's made by mom, it will fall into one of these four groups when you get your greedy, grubby little hands on them.

What does this have to do with drafting? I have (with a little help from my friends) begun to analyze the NBA draft over the past several years in an attempt to rate teams in order of drafting prowess. I have arbitrarily created a mathematical formula that means next to nothing in the realm of all things rational. I applied this formula to every draft pick from 1997-2007, and came up with a draft "score" per team. Averaging this score amongst their draft picks, I am able to rank each team based on their selections - and the performance of their selections - in the NBA.

In order to keep player perceptions out of the mix, I used Hollinger PER rankings as a measure of player performance. Teams get a bonus for years a player stuck around in the league, and a player's draft worth increases as their pick increases. An All-Star player picked first overall is not worth much because you expect great things from such an early pick, but identifying talent late in the draft can mean a significant bonus for your overall status. Think Dwight Howard vs. Manu Ginobli. Do the Magic get more credit for selecting Dwight overall when compared to the Spurs selecting Manu with the 57 pick in draft?

A couple points to keep in mind. This is draft picks only. This isn't to say that a team that drafts horribly can't be a decent team, or that a team that is excellent at drafting is a great team overall (though it certainly can't hurt). Also, if a team selects a player on behalf of another team, then trades said player to said team, the team ending up with said player gets credit for the selection.

Over the coming weeks, I will break down this list into four main groups.
  • Fresh out of the oven yummy cookies
  • Cooled off, but still fresh deliciousness
  • Out of the tin and still great with milk
  • Stale and ready to be thrown out
I welcome your comments, input, and pictures of lolcats equally. This is a beginning, and will be treated as such. Your inputs may impact the overall document, sway my thoughts on the formula, point out errors in my process, or just make me laugh at you. So, without any further discussion, I give you "Paul Ego's Draft Rankings".

  1. SAC
  2. SAS
  3. MIL
  4. PHX
  5. SEA
  6. GSW
  7. IND
  8. BOS
  9. CLE
  10. DET
  11. WAS
  12. UTH
  13. NJN
  14. MEM
  15. ORL
  16. NYK
  17. NOR
  18. LAL
  19. CHI
  20. PHI
  21. DAL
  22. MIA
  23. HOU
  24. DEN
  25. MIN
  26. LAC
  27. ATL
  28. POR
  29. CHA
  30. TOR
Next week: Hot and fresh out of the oven. The top five teams.


  1. How do you handle trades? Joe Johnson is a great player but he was in boston for such a short period of time.

  2. If he wasn't drafted on behalf of another team and immediately traded, he is credited to the team that identified him as a prospect and selected him.

    This isn't analyzing a teams ability to cultivate or retain talent, only to identify it and draft that talent.

    Another example. Orlando wanted Jameer Nelson, and was able to acquire him through Denver on draft night. That selection gets attributed to Orlando.

  3. Understood for sure.
    And just based on looking at the list real quickly, I can't see any teams that are eye-catching as far as being in the wrong category. So nice job with the categorization.

  4. Keep up the good work guys, quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs.


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Credit "Sebi" from the Orlando Magic Message board for the title graphic.

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