Since I mentioned Kevin Durant in the first post, it makes sense to start with the 2007 NBA draft, made famous by the Durant/Oden debate and Yi Jianlian’s workout against a folding chair. I probably won’t touch on everyone, but there are usually a few highly ranked comps that I find interesting and/or comical so who knows. Again, all of this information comes from Layne Vashro’s Prospect Comparison Tool.
I wish Greg Oden’s list was more interesting. Bryant Reeves, Greg Ostertag and Shelden Williams all show up three times each in Oden’s Top 50. The problem here is there just aren’t many basketball players like Greg Oden. 7’0″ freshman who put up amazing numbers just exist in the college landscape all that often. Oden’s comps list is basically just 39 guys that were good centers in college.
Al Horford, however, starts off his comp list perfectly. His top two comps, at the time, were two fellow Gators. #1 was Joakim Noah from the same season. #2 (technically, #3, but I’m avoiding looking into the future unless it tells a good story) was David Lee’s 2005 season. The Noah comp is amazing. Only 229 minutes separate Horford and Noah in the NBA. Total separation by Win Shares: 4.6. It’s no wonder Florida was amazing.
#4 pick Mike Conley has Ty Lawson twice in his first four comps, plus Tyus Edney showing up at #6 AND #7, but the most interesting part of Conley’s comp list is Aaron Craft showing up four times. The VAL number for Craft is -0.49. VAL goes from -1 to +1. Anything negative means the person in question was better, statistically, than the comp. Positive means the opposite. Vashro’s tool explains it as a “rich man/poor man” comparison. In this case, Mike Conley is the Mark Cuban version of Aaron Craft.
Jeff Green is the first guy to land on the list of “Guys That Might Not Have Been Drafted So High If This Tool Existed In 2007.” Besides Richard Jefferson at #10, there is a lot of crap on that list, including the O’Bannon brothers. Surprisingly, Jeff Green is #10 in Win Shares in this draft class, so maybe he wasn’t such a gigantic overdraft after all.
Corey Brewer had a pretty interesting comp list, with Todd Day showing up three times in the top 17, with fellow Gator Mike Miller coming up twice. The Todd Day comp has been pretty accurate, with similar numbers across the board through their first 7 seasons. Mike Miller represented Brewer’s “upside” heading into the draft.
#8 pick Brandan Wright might be the most fascinating person of all. His top 10 comps contain a lot of NBA talent. Rasheed Wallace, Antawn Jamison, Nick Collison, David Lee, LaMarcus Aldridge. Wright’s per minute numbers in the NBA have been amazing. His WS/48 is well above average. He’s efficient from the field, has great rebounding numbers and is an excellent shot blocker. The problem is, he has only played 4,460 minutes in coming into the league. To give you a frame of reference, Kevin Durant played just short of 4,000 minutes between the regular season and playoffs LAST SEASON. Injuries have derailed most of his early career, but the past two seasons have been incredibly productive while playing 18 minutes per game over 60 games for the Mavs. For someone who played in all 37 games of his freshman season at UNC while averaging 27 mpg, Wright becomes another datapoint in the unpredictable nature of the draft.