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Fanpost: SPTSJUNKIE’s 2020 NBA Draft Model and Guide

SPTSJUNKIE presents his 7th Annual NBA Draft Model and Guide, with results from his five models, statistical insights, and potential strategies and selections for the Kings.

Editor's Note: The following is a reader submission from our friend and longtime community member SPTSJUNKIE. Dating back to our previous home, he shared his annual draft analysis in FanPosts, and we're happy to share his work this year and continue the tradition.

After an uneventful 2019 draft where our beloved Kings did not make a selection until the 40th pick, this year we have four draft picks, including picks #12 and #35 with plenty of rumors that McNair is actively exploring trades that could net us extra picks in any range.

Given the energy and enthusiasm I always have for the draft and my desire to not slowly go insane during quarantine and recreate the scenes from The Shining with my husband and puppy - I have completed my 7th annual draft projection models and created some detailed write ups on the top prospects based on deep dives into hours and hours of both scouting / watching video and diving deep into the model and other metrics via resources like Synergy Sports, Basketball Reference, Hoop Math, and more.

For those of you not familiar with my models or how draft projection models work - the short answer is that it’s letting computers do math that would take me years to look at everything from basic box score stats, advanced metrics (i.e., BPM, net rating), efficiency statistics (i.e., true shooting percentage), scouting variables (do scouts describe a player as “a high IQ player” or having “a strong motor”), combine measurements, and more to try to figure out what makes a college player more likely to be successful in the NBA and then applying those to this year’s class.

Because there are so many ways to approach the problem - I actually do 5 models every year.

  • One that uses all players.
  • One that only uses players drafted after 2010 to consider see if the game has evolved.
  • One that looks at individual positions and tries to separate if there are differences in what makes a great PG versus a great SF.
  • And two that also incorporate mock draft order (via ESPN) to see if the scouts rankings can make our predictions even better because they see things beyond the numbers

Of course, as I caution every year, these models are great and I learn a lot doing them.  But no credible front office or analyst would simply use a model as their draft order.  They are simply another tool to combine with what we see on film, our intuition, and outside factors (i.e., is he the type of player who can’t stay in shape, doesn’t love basketball, has severe anger issues, or gets  into constant trouble off the court).

Additionally, models are based on performance data - they can’t tell if a coach badly misused a player, if a school had so much talent that a player’s skills were hidden, or if a team had no shooters and a player was triple teamed on every drive.  So these models should serve as a point of discussion versus the final word that serves to shut down the conversation.

For me personally, I learn a lot from the types of variables the models use and how that relates to players - often helping me understand strengths and weaknesses.  Additionally, if a player rates much higher or lower than expected - it makes me go review more film and revisit their performance data to try to understand why.

With that said, below are links to two different resources that I have put together for fellow Kings Herald readers.  We are lining to both of these Google docs externally as picture compression can make the rankings hard to read and to keep all of the write ups together and easy to reference before and after the draft instead of spread across several articles:

SPTSJUNKIE’s 7th Annual Model and draft guide with model results, explanations of what metrics predicted success, full player writes ups, and thoughts on who we should draft.
Larger model rankings in Google Sheets with all 76 player projections and rankings across all 5 models that are explained in the first Google document.

Please click through to read and come back here to comment below.  Which model do you think is most accurate?  Any surprises or does this change how you think about certain prospects?  Any additional prospects you would like to see more detailed write ups or statistical profiles on?

Follow @SPTSJUNKIE on Twitter.



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November 15, 2020 1:38 pm

Well there goes my afternoon…luckily don’t need to watch the Niners anymore anyway! Great work, this is amazing stuff : )

November 15, 2020 1:43 pm

Great stuff as usual. Happy to see it come back here at TKH.

One question:

That it is not fair to measure Ball’s effectiveness as an 18 year old playing against grown men like a college player.

How does this impact your / your models’ view of other international players like Hayes, Avdija and Maladon, who played in much better leagues than Ball?

November 15, 2020 1:59 pm

Get it ready for Josh Giddey!

November 15, 2020 2:07 pm

Great, thanks.
And one more question: when comparing this draft to previous ones, is it indeed a weak draft?

November 15, 2020 2:00 pm

Incredible work, as always.

November 15, 2020 3:49 pm

The models like Paul Reed. I like the models.

November 15, 2020 5:32 pm

I’m taking 4/5 of the models loving Isaac Okoro as just more proof that the Kings should trade up and get him.

Excellent work as always, Chris – I’m glad this came over in the THK transition! I appreciate the level of detail and work you’ve put into this. We truly agree on most of our draft preferences, save that you’re silly high on Aaron Nesmith and I’m rightfully correct on Tyrese Maxey.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
November 15, 2020 5:42 pm

These are awesome.

I’d like to point out high high Haliburton is in these models and I’d also like to say TRADE UP FOR HALIBURTON IF HE IS AVAILABLE.

I’m now convinced. Poku at #12 or trade up for Haliburton. Make it so.

November 15, 2020 7:42 pm

Man you’re going to make me read a spreadsheet to understand your draft goodness? Piss on you Junkie. How dare you make me read?

November 16, 2020 11:22 am

It was interesting what I did peruse so far. But it always is. Also: For the picture book I’m requesting pop ups and dinosaurs. That’s just the best, really.

One question: What makes you think this draft is comparable to 2017? Actually, nevermind. I think you explained it already. Maybe I’m just skeptical of that comp because of all the unknowns for 2020. It’s just going to be a weird draft, no matter what, this year.

Last edited 3 months ago by Kingsguru21
November 18, 2020 11:51 am

That would be nice to get a break!

November 15, 2020 10:40 pm

Thanks for the hard work. Interesting read.

November 16, 2020 3:07 am


November 16, 2020 11:51 am

Always awesome! Just amazing and I learned a lot from reading through this. I had been sort of on the fence about Killian Hayes but the more that I read the more I think that if he’s available at 12 he’d be a smart pick. I also noticed that Givony has had Hayes going to the Kings at 12 and it does make me wonder if there’s some smoke there unless he goes higher which is clearly possible.


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