NBA Draft Overrated Prospects

In this article we dive into a few (college basketball) prospects that our Draft Models view as overrated compared to other draft ranking websites and experts (e.g., Draft Express). Our rankings are based on our PNSP Model, but we also use our NBA Role Probability Model and Similarity Scores in our evaluation of prospects.

Justin Jackson | SF | UNC | Junior

Draft Express #13 | Model 284 PNSP #54
Physical Measurements: 6’8.25″ | 204lbs | Wingspan: 6’11” | Max Vertical: 35.5″
Top Player Comps: Tamar Slay, Malachi Richardson, Anthony Brown

Season School Age PTS/40 TRB/40 AST/40 STL/40 BLK/40
2016/2017 UNC 22.2 22.9 5.8 3.5 1.0 0.3
Model 284
Ratings
PNSP All-Star % Starter % Bench % Non-NBA %
42.8  5.9%  29.5%  35.0%  29.6%

Justin Jackson shoots a pretty ball and moves well with appealing physical tools, projecting as a 3-and-D NBA wing player. While the 3-point shooting is present, the defense leaves a lot to be desired at this stage. Additionally, Jackson’s 10.8% defensive rebounding percentage puts him near the bottom of 2017 draft-eligible wing prospects. Furthermore, among draft prospects since 2009, Jackson is one of seven players with a free throw percentage below 80%, a steal percentage below 1.5% and a block percentage below 1.5% in their last season of college basketball (table below). None of these players have turned into anything more than bench players.

Player FT% STL% BLK%
Deng Adel 77.1% 1.2% 1.4%
Lance Thomas 74.3% 1.4% 0.8%
Justin Jackson 74.8% 1.3% 0.8%
Kevin Murphy 72.1% 1.4% 0.7%
James Young 70.6% 1.4% 0.6%
Anthony Brown 79.5% 1.3% 0.6%
Shabazz Muhammad 71.1% 1.3% 0.4%

PNSP projects Jackson as an above average – but not elite – NBA 3-point shooter due to his average free throw shooting ability (74.8%). In every other statistical category, Jackson projects below average for an NBA wing. Being 22 years old and providing limited production outside of shooting has not historically translated well to the NBA. Our NBA Role Probability Model sees little upside in Jackson, with roughly a 65% chance Jackson ends up as a bench player or out of the NBA all together. On top of that, Jackson’s top player comps do not provide much room for optimism. Ultimately, an old, one-dimensional shooting prospect is a tough sell in the first round.

 

Jarrett Allen | C | Texas | Freshman

Draft Express #16 | Model 284 PNSP #48
Physical Measurements: 6’10.25″ | 234lbs | Wingspan: 7’5.25″ | Max Vertical: 35.5″
Top Player Comps: Tony Bradley, DeAndre JordanHarry Giles

Season School Age PTS/40 TRB/40 AST/40 STL/40 BLK/40
2016/2017 Texas 19.1 16.7 10.5 1.0 0.7 1.9
Model 284
Ratings
PNSP All-Star % Starter % Bench % Non-NBA %
46.4  6.0%  34.5%  10.4%  49.2%

The 19 year old 6’10.25″ 234 lbs center with a pterodactyl-esque wingspan of 7’5.25″ and an impressive vertical for his height has the look of another physical freak Center. Allen’s physical tools resemble another Texas-born player in DeAndre Jordan, whom our Similarity Score Algorithm has as one of Allen’s top player comps. Despite playing 32.2 minutes per game and rarely getting into foul trouble, Allen provided below average production for a collegiate big man with exceptional physical tools. Allen had a concerningly low defensive rebound and block percentages for a Center. The scatter plot below displays block percentage and defensive rebound percentage for drafted big men since 2009, with Jarrett Allen colored black (note hovering over points displays the player name).

Players with roughly a 19% DRB percentage and 5% block percentage (Allen’s marks in his Freshman season) include the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Kelly Olynyk, Cody Zeller, and Josh Harrellson. These are not horrible players, but low DRB percentage and block percentage in college are predictive of poor rebounding and rim protection in the NBA. While Okafor, Olynyk, and Zeller display less than adequate rebounding and block percentage, they have held an NBA role through the ability to knock down jumpers and provide an offensive game – things Allen has yet to do.

Even with Allen’s low DRB percentage and block percentage, his physical tools project him as an above-average NBA rebounder and average rim protector. In regards to playmaking and shooting, Allen projects to provide little in those areas relative to other Centers. Allen’s physical tools scream of a prospect with a high ceiling and low floor, but our NBA role probability model sees a much higher chance of busting than reaching his full potential, with roughly a 50% chance of not making the NBA. In a draft filled with a glut of bigs in a similar mold to Allen (e.g. Tony Bradley, Thomas Bryant, etc.), I’d pass on the Jarrett Allen project in this year’s NBA Draft.

 

Semi Ojeleye | SF/PF | SMU | Junior

Draft Express #23 | Model 284 PNSP #51
Physical Measurements: 6’6.25″ | 241lbs | Wingspan: 6’9.75″ | Max Vertical: 40.5″
Top Player Comps: Matt Bonner, Rodney White, Kyle Wiltjer

Season School Age PTS/40 TRB/40 AST/40 STL/40 BLK/40
2016/2017 SMU 22.5 22.3 8.0 1.8 0.5 0.5
Model 284
Ratings
PNSP All-Star % Starter % Bench % Non-NBA %
44.6  8.0%  13.2%  60.3%  18.5%

Semi Ojeleye is literally a tank that can jump really high. A 6’6.25″ 241lbs prospect with a max vertical of 40.5″ who shot 42.4% from three in his last collegiate season is somebody that will catch your eye. Despite those impressive physical measurements, Ojeleye provided minimal production in other areas (e.g. defense, playmaking, etc.) and is already over 22 years old after sitting out a year while transferring from Duke to SMU. Given the fact that 2 of his top 3 player comps include Matt Bonner (GOAT) and Kyle Wiltjer, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Ojeleye’s ceiling projects fairly low. One may ask: well isn’t Ojeleye just a more physically equipped 3-point specialist? It is true Ojeleye is an athletic 3-point specialist, but his athleticism isn’t enough to overcome the lack of college production outside of shooting in our models. Also, for what it is worth, Wiltjer was longer and more athletic than you’d think, with a wingspan greater than 7’0″ and max vertical of 35.5″.

Ojeleye projects above average in 3-point and free throw shooting, but below average in everything else. Because of his ability to shoot and rare physical tools, our NBA role probability model gives Ojeleye a somewhat high floor and a low ceiling. Ojeleye has the highest probability of being an NBA bench player among all 81 draft eligible prospects for 2017 (60.3%).  While Ojeleye’s strengths are appealing in today’s NBA, our models are skeptical of his upside, as well as his ability to become a complete player. Another so-called 3-and-D prospect that projects to provide minimal production outside of 3-point shooting is not someone I would be overly eager to draft in the first or early second round.

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