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Oladipo rated consensus top player by NBA GMs

2013 June 24
by Brian Serra


In his latest effort to evaluate how teams feel about the talent in Thursday’s draft, Chad Ford of ESPN reached out to NBA teams to find out their thoughts on the incoming class.

“About half of the NBA’s 30 teams participated, rating prospects on a 0-to-10 scale. A rating of 0 meant that the player “won’t make the league or will have a very minimal NBA career,” while a score of 10 meant he was a “top-of-the-line, elite prospect.” Our respondents were asked to rate each prospect against all such NBA prospects in recent years.” Ford writes, “We took these scores, averaged them and prorated them on a 100-point scale. This created a consensus “wisdom of the crowd” effect, the same thing that drives our ESPN Forecast panel to great success in predicting NBA outcomes.”

While the top six candidates are the same as you’ve seen on every Mock Draft for the last six months, the order changes quite a bit in terms of how teams view each player when taken as a whole. Despite most teams having Nerlens Noel as the top player in the draft, Victor Oladipo out of Indiana had the consensus highest big board rating – by a large amount at that. Ford cites that McLemore’s recent off-court issues with agents as presenting red-flags for BMc, but his sluggish and ill-prepared workouts are likely much more to blame for his recent drop.

While this information on the surface seems very valuable, it is still just a piece of the puzzle. How honest were teams? Certainly none would throw smokescreens into the draft process to protect -or increase value- a pick, right? For instance, it benefits Orlando on every level for teams to love Oladipo. It creates value for them to trade down and even if they keep the pick, it helps the franchise sell the pick to fans.

Players who had higher big board ratings than expected: C.J. McCollum (7th), Michael Carter-Williams (10), Dennis Schroeder (12), Allen Crabbe (18) and Isaiah Canaan (21)

Players with lower ratings than expected: Trey Burke (9th), Shabazz Muhammad (21), Rudy Gobert (36) and Archie Goodwin (40)

Love ’em or hate ’em. Players of note w/ large variations b/t ceiling and floor: Len (high of 9, low of 4), MCW (high of 9, low of 3), Shane Larkin (high of 9, low of 3), Giannis “Mystery Greek” Antetokounmpo (high of 9, low of 3), Jamaal Franklin (high of 8, low of 1), Mason Plumlee (high of 8, low of 2), Ray McCallum (high of 8, low of 0)

You can read the full breakdown from Ford of the top six on the “Secret Big Board” after the jump:

1. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

Secret NBA Draft Big Board Rating: 85.0 (of 100)

High Score: 9 (of 10)

Low Score: 7 (of 10)

Ford’s comments: While Oladipo’s ranking may surprise some, I’m not shocked. The key to his ranking is that his low score is only 7. With a narrow range between his low score of 7 and his high score of 9. Oladipo is widely regarded as the safest pick in the draft. While he doesn’t garner a 10 from anyone, teams believe he’s unlikely to fail. A number of GMs have privately confided in me that he’s their favorite player in the draft — not necessarily ranked No. 1 on their boards, but their favorite player. His range looks like it’s from No. 2 to No. 5 on draft night.

2. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

Secret NBA Draft Big Board Rating: 82.5

High Score: 10

Low Score: 4

Ford’s comments: With the exception of one 4 rating (does this guy have info we don’t have?), Noel received an 8, 9 or 10 from every voter. Clearly someone in the NBA thinks he’ll be a bust, but the majority have him ranked as the top player in the draft. While Noel certainly has question marks thanks to ACL issues and a thin frame, most scouts and GMs still see him as an elite prospect. Right now we’re projecting his draft range as 1 to 2.

3. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

Secret NBA Draft Big Board Rating: 81.7

High Score: 10

Low Score: 7

Ford’s comments: McLemore, like Oladipo, is seen as a sure thing by most GMs. He didn’t garner as many high scores as Noel, but he also didn’t have anyone rank him as a potential bust. While teams have been recently concerned about his agent issues, his combination of athletic ability and shooting touch seem to have made them confident that he’s a can’t-miss prospect. Despite his high ranking here, McLemore’s off-court situation could push him down slightly in the draft. That’s why he is currently projected in the 2 to 7 range.

4. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

Secret NBA Draft Big Board Rating: 81.5

High Score: 9

Low Score: 6

Ford’s comments: Bennett landed one 6 rating and one 7 rating and scored an 8 or 9 on every other ballot. He finished just a tick under McLemore and is also seen by most as a very safe pick. Yes, he’s a bit of a tweener, but most NBA GMs and scouts see versatility. He’s projected to go between 1 and 7 on draft night.

5. Otto Porter Jr., SF, Georgetown

Secret NBA Draft Big Board Rating: 80.0

High Score: 10

Low Score: 6

Ford’s comments: Porter was only one of three players to get a 10 rating (Noel and McLemore were the other two). But he also received several 6 ratings, showing a significant split between voters on Porter’s future in the NBA. Where some see the next Scottie Pippen, others see Tayshaun Prince. It looks like his draft night range is 1 to 6.

6. Alex Len, C, Maryland

Secret NBA Draft Big Board Rating: 77.5

High Score: 9

Low Score: 4

Ford’s comments: While Len has a legitimate shot at going No. 1, our voters overall weren’t nearly as high on him. He didn’t garner a 10 from anyone and was rated as low as 4 by one voter. That lack of consensus from our panel shows up around the league as well in private conversations. Some GMs love him, while others are very wary. But his overall rating of 77.5 puts him just five points behind Noel. Like the five players above him, he’s expected to be one of the top six picks on draft night.

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