FanPost

NBA Draft 2014: Cookie Monster Throws Hat In the Ring

Welcome to the official Eyriq the Red Draft Board 1.0. Grab some cookies and milk and indulge my appetite to opine on this most important of draft years. Chad Ford's top 100 provides the prospects, Draft Express the measurements, Sports-Reference the statistics, Robert Ayer the conceptual model on optimal Big 2's and 3's, Jeff Goodman a tier ranking framework, and YouTube the embedded video content. Links are embedded above, just click to be taken to the source.

To put it simply, when building a draft board you are looking for the best player first, team fit second. With this approach in mind, breaking prospects into tiers can create synergy within the process while avoiding costly mistakes such as Atlanta missing out on drafting Chris Paul or Deron Williams. When considering players in the same tier you always chose fit, when comparing players between tiers you always choose the better player, regardless of fit. It is that simple

The tiers are as follows: Tier 1 - Elite, Tier 2 - Perennial All-Star, Tier 3 - Occasional All-Star, Tier 4 - Solid Starter, Tier 5 - Quality Reserve. The breakdown of the top 20 prospects: 2 Tier 1, 1 Tier 2, 2 Tier 3, 7 Tier 4, and 8 Tier 5. I do not project any tier 6 or beyond players in the top 20 and as such only the first 5 tiers are relevant here.

Type

Cluster

pts/g

reb

asts/g

fg%

3fg%

ft%

STOCKS

RP Center

1

5

4

1

47%

27%

67%

1.2

Dynamic Wing

2

22

5

4

48%

32%

81%

1.8

RP Guard

3

6

2

2

43%

34%

77%

0.8

3 PT Specialist

4

9

3

2

43%

38%

78%

1.0

Dynamic Forward

5

16

8

2

49%

27%

74%

1.9

Stud PG

7

16

4

8

47%

30%

79%

2.4

Point Forward

8

16

4

5

43%

37%

81%

1.6

Pass First PG

9

9

3

5

45%

31%

78%

1.4

POWER Forward

10

11

9

1

50%

29%

69%

2.3

Stretch 4

11

16

5

3

45%

36%

79%

1.6

Stud Center

12

23

12

3

52%

22%

71%

3.4

SF

13

13

4

2

47%

30%

78%

1.3

RP Big

14

9

5

1

48%

27%

72%

1.3

To determine team fit you need a team evaluation and a framework in which to understand it. I recommend reading Robert Ayer's meta-analysis "Big 2's and Big 3's: Analyzing How a Team's Best Players Complement Each Other", linked to in the introduction. He found that certain cores over-perform expectations: 8-12, 8-11, 10-12, 2-8, 2-2 for the Big 2's and 7-8-12, 8-10-12, 2-2-5, 2-5-8 for the Big 3's.

A core ideally is anchored by Tier 1 and 2 players, and can be augmented with Tier 3 player(s) if necessary. In assigning tiers to our current players I am projecting forward for our rookie contracts while using current production for our veterans. A breakdown of Orlando Magic players into tiers and ideal clusters follows.

Tier 2: Victor Oladipo- Cluster 2

Tier 3: Nikola Vucevic- Cluster 12

Tier 4: Aaron Afflalo- Cluster 2; Tobias Harris- Cluster 5

Tier 5: Jameer Nelson- Cluster 4; Harkless- Cluster 13; Andrew Nicholson- Cluster 11; O'Quinn Cluster- 10

No other Magic player comes into consideration for fit purposes. You can see that Orlando has the beginnings of a core with Oladipo and Vucevic. The top 5 promises to add to this, though really a top 2 pick is needed to add a core piece that will put us in the driver's seat towards a championship. And with that, let us jump to the draft board.

1. Jabari Parker Wing Span 7'0 PER 27.9 WS/40 .218 Cluster 5 Tier 1

Analysis At 6'8 241 lbs he is built like Carmelo. Carmelo, who at 6'8 233 lbs has since been a perennial all-star and league top scorer, is not a bad player to be compared to! Unlike Carmelo though, Parker is an efficient shooter: 50/39/77 compared to Melo's 45/34/71. Jabari is the most skilled Freshman in college, will be the favorite to win ROY, and is the most ready to come in and make a difference in the standings from day one. He tops Orlando's draft board, beating out Embiid due to fit.

2. Joel Embiid Wing Span 7'5 PER 28.7 WS/40 .228 Cluster 12 Tier 1

Analysis Excellent size at 7'0 and 240 lbs, his 7'5 wingspan is longer than Vucevic's 7'4. To further compare against Vucevic, his advantage in TS% (67.5 vs 57.8) and in TRB% (19.1 vs 17.7) shows the two are in completely different tiers. Vucevic was a good college center and is a good NBA center. Embiid is a great college center and projects to be a great NBA center. Needs to bulk up a bit to reach his potential.

3. Andrew Wiggins Wing Span 7'0 PER 19.0 WS/40 .158 Cluster 2 Tier 2

Analysis Tracy McGrady was freakishly long at 7'2, while Vince Carter at 7'0 and Paul George at 6'11.25 are more in Wiggins typecast. Consider that Wiggins has the physical tools and athleticism of Vince Carter and is more gifted than Paul George in both areas. Now compare their freshman stats, Carter 8/4/1 on 49/35/69, George 14/6/2 on 47/45/70, and Wiggins' 16/6/2 on 45/34/78. You can see why Wiggins is considered one of the best wing prospects to enter the NBA in the last decade. If I felt more comfortable about his shooting and intangibles I'd bump him up a tier, and due to fit he'd top my board. For right now though he sits in Tier 2 and is an easy choice.

4. Marcus Smart Wing Span 6'8 PER 27.6 WS/40 .256 Cluster 2 Tier 3

Analysis Best sophomore in college and a difference maker at both ends of the court. A good handle allows him to move with the ball and attack the paint, while great passing instincts allows him to create plays for his teammates. Terrific leadership, motor and drive promises continued improvement. His decision to stay another year appears to be paying off as his production has increased across the board; his scoring is up 23%, WS/40 up 22%, FTA's up 21%, assists up 16%, turnovers down 13%, rebounding up 10%, PER up 10%, and TS% up 6%. He tops Exum due to fit, and the greater availability of information on him.

5. Dante Exum Wing Span 6'9.25 PER N/A WS/40 N/A Cluster 7 Tier 3

Analysis Great height at 6'6 to go with lighting quick speed and amazing length for his level of ball handling skills. Penny Hardaway comes to mind though I don't know his wingspan. Exum has dominated on the world stage and after combine stats come in he could leap up the draft board. Right now I see him as more of an assist machine than Marcus Smart, projecting as one of the better stud PG prospects to enter the league in a long time.

6. Noah Vonleh Wing Span 7'4 PER 26.3 WS/40 .239 Cluster 10 Tier 4

Analysis Terrific length and athleticism allows him to eat up space, promising great defense and rebounding. More agile than our own Nicholson though with less offensive polish, he none-the-less has a nice shooting stroke, with percentages 55/56/72. Yes, he is shooting 56% from three with a little under one attempt per game. He is a double-double machine and projects to be a double-double threat in the NBA, too. He tops the list of Tier 4 prospects due to potential fit next to Vucevic.

7. Doug McDermott Wing Span 6'8.5 PER 31.2 WS/40 .271 Cluster 11 Tier 4

Analysis The best offensive player on the best offense in the nation, McDermott uses 35.6% of his units offensive possessions with a TS% .621. He is a lights out shooter with great intangibles. He can stretch the floor, giving Oladipo ample driving lines and a terrific target. Considering our offense is 26th in the league, we can use all the help we can get.

8. Dario Saric Wing Span 6'10 PER N/A WS/40 N/A Cluster 8 Tier 4

Analysis Standing at 6'10 it is safe to say that Saric has a shooter's wingspan, while his shooting numbers indicate rawness. A skilled player, he creates for himself and others and looks like a point forward in the NBA. While not a core player, an extra ball handler at the 3 with great size is something our current roster lacks.

9. Kyle Anderson Wing Span 7'2.5 PER 27.0 WS/40 .228 Cluster 8 Tier 4

Analysis His passing skills allow him to maximize his height and pass over, under, or around defenders, ending 34.4% of his possessions with an assist. Rebounds the ball very well and is shooting 53% from three, complimenting his passing skills. Lack of athleticism and how that will impact his position is the main concern, with Saric's ability to play the 3 giving Saric the advantage.

10. Zach LaVine Wing Span 6'6 PER 20.4 WS/40 .173 Cluster 2 Tier 4

Analysis 6'3 with a 6'6 wing span, terrific athleticism, and deadly shooting, LaVine makes it into Tier 4 even though he is an undersized SG. His shooting and athleticism would complement Oladipo's game, adding depth to our wing rotation that we sorely lack.

11. Julius Randle Wing Span 6'11 PER 27.1 WS/40 .233 Cluster 5 Tier 4

Analysis The hype machine had this guy #2 overall at one point and his production is terrific. However, that 6'11 wingspan scares me away from projecting NBA top 30 potential . Lack of steals as discussed by Pelton at ESPN is also a huge red flag. Great build with terrific athleticism, will be a good candidate for double-doubles nightly, just without any defense. Due to fit he falls, since we have Harris on board already.

12. Aaron Gordon Wing Span 6'11.5 PER 19.7 WS/40 .197 Cluster 5 Tier 4

Analysis An even better athlete than Randle, he projects to be a solid defender in the NBA. His lack of an offensive niche weighs him down, and ultimately as a tier 4 dynamic forward he finds his spot already taken by Harris, and so falls to the last spot among the tier 4 prospects.

13. Rodney Hood Wing Span 6'8 PER 24.1 WS/40 .225 Cluster 4 Tier 5

Analysis Standing 6'8.5, his wingspan of 6'8 is comparatively short. This is what I call a shooters wingspan, and this dude can shoot. 45% on 5 attempts a game, he is one of the best shooters in the draft. He is an average rebounder and passer, with average athleticism, combining to make him one of the better all-around offensive players in college. Our roster is terribly short on shooters and he would happily take a rotation spot away from Lamb or Moore.

14. Mario Hezonja Wing Span N/A PER N/A WS/40 N/A Cluster 2 Tier 5

Analysis Projected to go 8th in the DraftExpress 2015 Mock Draft, Mario Hezonja from Croatia sits 18th on Chad Ford's top 100 rankings. He has decent size at 6'6 but isn't producing or providing any other measurables for us to go by. The hype machine is enticing and his skill set does promise a dynamic scorer, so I've pegged him as a cluster 2, 5th tier prospect.

15. Andrew Harrison Wing Span 6'8 PER 12.6 WS/40 .132 Cluster 2 Tier 5

Analysis The 4th ranked freshman recruit, Harrison is struggling to make an impact. The good: Great length for his skillset, which includes ball handling, shooting, and attacking the basket. The bad: turnovers, defense, and 2P%. Not a bad addition to a rotation that lacks any quality wings outside of Harkless and Nelson.

16. Spencer DinWiddie Wing Span N/A PER 24.2 WS/40 .238 Cluster 2 Tier 5

Analysis Stands 6'6 and finishes 25.3% of his possessions with an assist, 13.9% with a turnover. Shoots the 3 extremely well at 41% on 4 attempts a game. Average athleticism and defense. Is a leader with great intangibles. Could jump up even higher on the board.

17. Gary Harris Wing Span 6'7 PER 24.2 WS/40 .228 Cluster 2 Tier 5

Analysis The Draft Express weakness section covers my concerns "how high is his ceiling as a 6'4 SG with AVG athleticism? However, he is the leader of a very good Spartans team, can shoot and play defense, and is listed as standing 6'5 with a 6'7 wingspan. Does look smaller to the eye test though. Is finishing 16.4% of his possessions with an assist, with 2.5 STOCKS a game. Definitely versatile and certainly someone that will help our wing rotation.

18. Tyler Ennis Wing Span 6'5 PER 23.4 WS/40 .226 Cluster 9 Tier 5

Analysis Having Nelson on the roster limits our need for Ennis. However, standing at 6'2 with a 6'5 wingspan, Ennis is an assist and steals machine, shooting the 3 with great accuracy (41%). One of the best players on the best team in the nation, his intangibles are terrific. A pass first PG with good range, we could find him a role even with Nelson crowding him out.

19. Chris Walker Wing Span 7'1.5 PER N/A WS/40 N/A Cluster 5 Tier 5

Analysis 7th ranked recruit coming out of high school, Walker has great size and length along with outstanding athleticism. Not enough data out there to determine his skill level but he could easily leap from up a tier based on performance.

20. Wayne Selden Wing Span 6'10 PER 12.0 WS/40 .088 Cluster 3 Tier 5

Analysis Decent shooter with solid athleticism and great length for a 2 guard. Can handle the ball and is strong enough to impact rebounding and defense. Turnovers are a big issue for him, raising doubt about his versatility.

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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