Peak NBA Statline Projection (PNSP) is a model used to project NBA success for college and International basketball players. PNSP considers each player’s individual and team statistics, physical measurements, high school scouting ranking, and age/experience. The PNSP model returns a single rating value from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a “better” NBA prospect. We provide a detailed article outlining how PNSP is formulated here, and PNSP rankings from previous years can be found here. Below are a few highlights for the 2019 NBA Draft Class, and a listing of each player’s PNSP.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that a player’s PNSP score is calculated relative to players within the same position. Ranking of players by PNSP across different positions is a different use than originally intended. For example, saying Brandon Clarke is a “better” prospect than R.J. Barrett because his 85.1 PNSP rating is higher than Barrett’s 83.1 is not necessarily true, because they play different positions.
Without further ado, PNSP’s 2019 top NBA Draft prospect is … drum roll … Zion Williamson. Unsurprisingly, Zion ranks as one of the model’s top prospects ever, as he obliterated everything in his path this past season. Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett come in at 2nd and 4th, respectively, with PNSP ratings of 87.9 and 83.1, respectively. These ratings make Morant and Barrett strong prospects; however, in most drafts, not worthy of a top 2-3 selection. Beyond the consensus top 3 (Zion, Morant, and Barrett), a number of interesting prospects round out the top 10; most notably, Gonzaga Big Man Brandon Clarke with an 85.5 rating. Clarke posted one of the best statistical seasons in recent memory but remains a polarizing player at nearly 23 years old and standing 6’8″ with T-Rex arms and an unproven jump shot. The next group includes a slew of injured players: Bol Bol, Jontay Porter, and Chuma Okeke, all of which are skilled, smart big men with length or, in Bol Bol‘s case, exceptional length.
Buyer beware on consensus top prospects Darius Garland, Cam Reddish, and De’Andre Hunter. Garland’s numbers are suppressed by his limited sample of college games, giving reason to doubt the model on his projection. Hunter, on the other hand, has two full years of college basketball in which he appeared to perform very efficiently on the surface. PNSP discredits Hunter for his age, lack of volume shooting, and lack of any strong single skill. Some suggest that Hunter is one of the better defensive players in the draft, where our model has historically struggled to capture value. Reddish’s prediction leaves less room for question, as he produced an extremely low two-point percentage, especially given his size and position. Additionally, even though he shot 3s at a high volume, his 33.3% left something to be desired for a proclaimed 3&D wing player.
The consensus opinion of the 2019 NBA Draft is that it lacks the depth of the 2017-2018 Drafts, particularly in the lottery. PNSP agrees, ranking only 5 players with a PNSP above 80 compared to 10 and 13 players in 2018 and 2017 respectively (or, 6% of players in 2019 compared to 12% in 2018 and 16% in 2019). Given the overall weakness of the 2019 Draft class, outside of the top 3, taking a shot on an unconventional and/or less heralded prospect such as Bol Bol, Brandon Clarke, Jontay Porter, Chuma Okeke, etc. appears to be a defensible strategy for certain teams. Trading out of the draft entirely seems like another reasonable strategy assuming an adequate return.
|28||Kevin Porter Jr.||SG/SF||59.5|
|65||Zach Norvell Jr.||SG||28.3|
|78||Didi Louzada Silva||SG||1.4|