Short Nerd Chief

Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

Stat(s) of the Day: NBA Performance of Top Draft Picks

Posted by Fred on June 26, 2008

The 2008 NBA draft is tonight, in which Memphis’ Derrick Rose and Kansas State’s Michael Beasley are widely expected to go 1-2 to the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat.  Although it remains anybody’s guess whether Chicago will go with local point guard Rose or take forward Beasley instead (the current rumor predicts Rose to Chicago and Miami to trade down and take a guard later), both are considered “can’t miss” prospects that will make whatever team they play for better.  So I decided to take a look at the last 25 NBA drafts to see how the top pick performed.  I used points per game as a metric – a more robust look would account for assists and/or rebounds as well, but the assumption is that the overall #1 pick is going to be a scorer.

Top NBA Draft Picks 1983-2007
Year #1 Pick Team #2 Pick Team Top PPG
2007 Greg Oden Portland Kevin Durant Seattle Kevin Durant
2006 Andrea Bargnani Toronto LaMarcus Aldridge Chicago Brandon Roy (6, Minnesota)
2005 Andrew Bogut Milwaukee Marvin Williams Atlanta Chris Paul (4, New Orleans)
2004 Dwight Howard Orlando Emeka Okafor Charlotte Ben Gordon (3, Chicago)
2003 LeBron James Cleveland Darko Milicic Detroit LeBron James
2002 Yao Ming Houston Jay Williams Chicago Amare Stoudamire (9, Phoenix)
2001 Kwame Brown Washington Tyson Chandler LA Clippers Gilbert Arenas (30, Golden State)
2000 Kenyon Martin New Jersey Stromile Swift Vancouver Michael Redd (43, Milwaukee)
1999 Elton Brand Chicago Steve Francis Vancouver Elton Brand
1998 Michael Olowokandi LA Clippers Mike Bibby Vancouver Vince Carter (5, Golden State)
1997 Tim Duncan San Antonio Keith Van Horn Philadelphia Tracy McGrady (9, Toronto)
1996 Allen Iverson Philadelphia Marcus Camby Toronto Allen Iverson
1995 Joe Smith Golden State Antonio McDyess LA Clippers Kevin Garnett (5, Minnesota)
1994 Glenn Robinson Milwaukee Jason Kidd Dallas Glenn Robinson
1993 Chris Webber Orlando Shawn Bradley Philadelphia Chris Webber
1992 Shaquille O’Neal Orlando Alonzo Mourning Charlotte Shaquille O’Neal
1991 Larry Johnson Charlotte Kenny Anderson New Jersey Larry Johnson
1990 Derrick Coleman New Jersey Gary Payton Seattle Derrick Coleman
1989 Pervis Ellison Sacramento Danny Ferry LA Clippers Glen Rice (4, Miami)
1988 Danny Manning LA Clippers Rik Smits Indiana Mitch Richmond (5, Golden State)
1987 David Robinson San Antonio Armon Gilliam Phoenix David Robinson
1986 Brad Daugherty Cleveland Len Bias Boston Brad Daugherty
1985 Patrick Ewing New York Wayman Tisdale Indiana Karl Malone (13, Utah)
1984 Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Sam Bowie Portland Michael Jordan (3, Chicago)
1983 Ralph Sampson Houston Steve Stipanovich Indiana Clyde Drexler (14, Portland)

Of these 25 drafts, the top pick became the top scorer only 40% of the time. Since 1995, when Kevin Garnett was drafted 5th straight out of high school and which can be considered the start of the Skip College Era, only three of thirteen (23%) top picks topped the scoring chart (although most teams would still take Duncan over McGrady, PPG be damned).  So don’t be so sure that either Rose or Beasley will lead their team to the promised land.  In many ways, the NBA draft has taken on some of the characteristics of the MLB amateur draft, which also features prospects who have dominated against high school kids more likely to be in the beer line than the starting lineup at your local arena.

The 1984 draft, in which Portland took Kentucky’s Sam Bowie over North Carolina’s Michael Jordan, is probably the most infamous draft of all time. However, for my money, nothing beats the 2000 and 2001 drafts for futility, which led to the NBA’s current effort to force kids to college, at least for a year:

  2000 2001
Pick Player PPG Player PPG
1 Kenyon Martin 14.5 Kwame Brown 7.5
2 Stromile Swift 8.6 Tyson Chandler 8.2
3 Darius Miles 10.6 Pau Gasol 18.8
4 Marcus Fizer 9.6 Eddy Curry 13.5
5 Mike Miller 14.4 Jason Richardson 18.8
6 DerMarr Johnson 6.2 Shane Battier 10.3
7 Chris Mihm 7.7 Eddie Griffin 7.2
8 Jamal Crawford 14.6 DeSagana Diop 2.1
9 Joel Przybilla 4.0 Rodney White 7.1
10 Keyon Dooling 6.8 Joe Johnson 16.6
11 Jerome Moiso 2.7 Kedrick Brown 3.6
12 Etan Thomas 6.2 Vladimir Radmanovic 9.5

[All data via the invaluable Basketball Reference site]


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Baseball payroll vs. performance

Posted by Fred on April 29, 2008


Each year, Ben Fry puts together a chart showing how well MLB teams are spending their money, graphically depicting record and payroll.  He’s updated the chart for 2008, discarding the first part of the season as “statistically silly.”  Last year, the LCS included three teams (the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Indians) that were relatively frugal, and this year is shaping up to be more of the same.  The top five records in baseball belong to teams ranking 23rd (Arizona), 8th (Chicago Cubs), 28th (Oakland), 30th (Florida)and 6th (LA Angels). 

No matter how you look at it, spending a lot of money is no longer a guarantee of success.  The six division leaders include Oakland, Chicago White Sox (5th), Baltimore (22nd)/Tampa Bay (29th), Arizona, Chicago Cubs and Florida.  If the playoffs were to start today, the top four payrolls would all be watching at home. The top 5 payrolls (total $739,139,520) are a combined 67-61.  The bottom 5 payrolls (total $217,250,008 or $8.1 million more than the Yankees are spending all by themselves) are 65-63.

It’s similar if you look at individuals.  The three highest paid position players all play in the Bronx.  Alex Rodriguez (.286, 4 HR, 11 RBI) is making $28 million, Jason Giambi (.167, 5 HR, 11 RBI) is making $23.4 million and Derek Jeter (.279, 0 HR, 13 RBI) is making $21.6 million.  Chase Utley, at $7.8 million, is outplaying that trio virtually single-handedly (.359, 10 HR, 21 RBI).  Add in Pat Burrell (.349, 8 HR, 25 RBI) at $14.3 million and the Phillies have 18 HR and 46 RBI for less than the Yankees are paying Giambi.

Pitchers are somewhat similar.  The four highest-paid pitchers are Johan Santana (3-2, 3.12 ERA) at $16.9 million, Andy Pettitte (3-2, 3.23) at $16 million, Carlos Zambrano (4-1, 2.21) at $16 million and Mike Hampton, who hasn’t pitched since 2005 and is currently rehabbing for the Richmond Braves, at $15.9 million.  The MLB leader in wins is Brandon Webb (6-0, 1.98) at $5.5 million.  The ERA leader is Cliff Lee (4-0, 0.28) at $4 million.  The strikeout king is Felix Hernandez (2-1, 2.22, 41 Ks) at $540,000.  The Yankees have four pitchers and ten players overall who make more than those three combined.

[via Kottke]

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Baseball Stat of the Day

Posted by Fred on April 4, 2008

The most surprising thing about the 2008 baseball season after the first set of series must be that the Detroit Tigers, widely expected to win the AL Central, if not completely annihilate the competition, are 0-3, having been swept at home by the Royals.  Not only did the Tigers get swept, but they looked rather pitiful in doing so. Here’s the Tigers line so far:

102 21 5 5 9 3 24 9 .206 .270 .353 .623

Here’s how that stacks up against the AL Central (the Twins have played one extra game):

CHI 105 28 12 12 11 6 23 13 .267 .347 .486 .833
CLE 97 24 18 18 8 2 21 12 .247 .342 .381 .723
KC 113 29 13 13 8 3 20 8 .257 .311 .389 .700
DET 102 21 5 5 9 3 24 9 .206 .270 .353 .623
MIN 126 30 8 8 7 1 17 10 .238 .290 .310 .600

Obviously, 3 games down means there are 159 to go, and one expects this group of kitties to turn the season around.  History, while an imperfect guide, suggests this may be a challenge.  From 2000-2007, 26 teams started the season 0-3 or worse.  Their average final record was 74-88. Only 8 of 26 ended the season with winning records.  Only three won 90 or more games (the 2003 Braves, 2002 Dodgers and 2001 Cardinals).  Only three (the 2007 Phillies, 2003 Braves and 2001 Cardinals) made the playoffs. Each lost its Division Series matchup.

Does this mean the Tigers are going to lose 85 games and miss the playoffs?  Probably not, but it is awfully surprising.

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