NBA Draft 2014: Analyst offers player comparisons for top prospects

Andrew Wiggins - Andy Lyons

Comparing Draft prospects to current NBA players is an inexact science. One site endeavored to make it a bit more exact using a new metric with 21 criteria.

In an effort to draw more meaningful, objective comparisons between 2014 NBA Draft prospects and their professional counterparts, Ian Levy of Hickory-High.com has devised a similarity score metric which uses 21 criteria ranging from height and weight to assists per field-goal attempt and points per possession. He posted the results Monday, and they're fascinating.

One example: according to Levy's methodology, Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins freshman season is most similar to Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris' at Tennessee, with a score of 913 of 1000. Wiggins' next-highest match is Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Luol Deng, a two-time NBA All-Star.

Harris is also the best comparison for Duke forward Jabari Parker, another highly regarded prospect likely to rank among the first six players selected on June 26th. The similarity score for the two versatile forwards stands at 906. New York Knicks combo forward Carmelo Anthony, a seven-time All-Star, ranks as another strong comparison for Parker, with a similarity score of 905.

The similarity scores for other top prospects are less encouraging: the best matches for Kansas center Joel Embiid and Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis are Tyrus Thomas (868) and Javaris Crittenton (891), respectively. Neither Thomas nor Crittenton played in the NBA in the 2013/14 season.

Levy acknowledges his model, a mere "snapshot," to use his term, has flaws: "it doesn’t capture potential, patterns of development, personality, or athleticism; besides how they are tangentially reflected in a player’s production," he says. Nonetheless, Levy's metric offers a great jumping-off point for discussions of potential and play style.

Visit Levy's similarity scores page at Hickory-High.com for complete comparisons. He promises to update it throughout the pre-Draft process.

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