ESPN Ranks Your Favorite NBA Prospect Low

Durant rates highest on Hollinger's board Or, maybe he ranks higher than you thought. Today on ESPN, John Hollinger unveiled his intriguing methodology for evaluating college players and projecting how they’ll fair in the pros. And in conflict with’s mission statement of making you pay for most mildly interesting content on their site, the entire article is free to the you’s and me’s of the world.

For his ranking system, Hollinger has whittled down the basic stats, thrown them into a strength-of-schedule grinder, and applied age, steals, blocks, rebounds, three-pointers, and what he calls “pure point rating.” THEN (hang with us here) he threw in four “red flags:” short player, 7-footer, perimeter guy with poor three-point shooting, and lousy rebounder.

After *all* that, Hollinger gives some perspective of his formula based on prior drafts, and, of course, his rankings for Thursday’s big one. In the end, Kevin Durant is ranked first by a landslide, followed by Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Thaddeus Young, and Brandan Wright. Check it out for yourself, but here’s two other interesting finds:

Rodney Stuckey looks like the real deal. The unheralded guard from Eastern Washington actually had even better numbers in 2005-06 and rates as one of the 10 best players in this draft. Fans also might be surprised to see Duke punching bag Josh McRoberts so high, but he had the assist ratio of a point guard and fairly high rates of blocks and steals. Boston College’s Jared Dudley finishes out of the top 10 — it’s a bit troubling that he blocked only 10 shots all year, but he shot well from distance and has strong previous seasons helping him out.

Acie Law and Spencer Hawes are best to be avoided. Both are viewed as late-lottery picks, but they look like solid second-rounders from here. Hawes has an unimpressive rebound rate, which is a huge red flag considering he was bigger than everyone he played against. And for all the talk of his great post skills, he had a run-of-the-mill 55.0 true shooting percentage and didn’t even have the best PER on his mediocre team (that belonged to Jon Brockman). A lot of folks think he can become a quality pro post player; based on his numbers, I just don’t see it.

As for Law, his athleticism is a major question mark. He had 39 steals and one block, a pittance for a 6-3 guard. His 5.3 rebound rate is another poor indicator, while his age (22) only adds to the list of negatives. Additionally, Law’s pure point ratio was only average, and he doesn’t seem to be nearly dangerous enough a scorer to make up for it.

The 2007 NBA Draft will be aired on ESPN this Thursday, starting at 7:30pm.


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