Pete: Have thoughts on the NBA Draft? I’d love to hear them! I’ll be back at 12 p.m. PDT today and look forward to discussing with all of you NBA redditors!
I feel like, while every organization is moving toward embracing analytics with regard to evaluating NBA talent, there's a much larger gap when it comes to how teams use analytical tools in Draft evaluations.
Granted, it's intrinsically more difficult there because there's not nearly as much data available for college players (yet).
Still, how important of a tool do you feel like advanced analytics are when it comes to Draft evaluations, as compared to more traditional measures?
Pete: Thanks James, this is a fantastic question. Like you, we are all striving to find the right metrics to evaluate the draft. In fact, in my interview with Vivek I discussed a concept which I think hasn’t been done before. There is so much talent and so much information out there today outside of the walls of the NBA. I told him I felt like we could tap into that vast wealth of knowledge. For that reason I was actually planning on reaching out to advanced fans and asking for their help in this Draft. I had my analytics team here at the Kings create a website where I’m asking fans to rate college players by position in the 2014 NBA Draft. I would like more than just the ranking for fans that are interested. I would like to know how they came to their decision. From this crowdsourcing, I will select a smaller group to be in my Draft think tank. A few of which I plan to invite to my war room. Below is the link and I’ll be here for any questions!
Iamtheraptor: Hey Pete. I'm a huge fan of evaluating college and international prospects to the pro level to the point that I even created the small subreddit /r/nba_draft.
And if you ever need an extra scout I'm here for you. Thanks in advance.
Pete: I’d like to actually ask you a question, what do you do to compare college players with International players for Draft purposes?
Iamtheraptor: I'm obviously no expert but what I've always tried to do is analyze a player based what they can do in their respective leagues. A Dario Saric is always going to be harder to evaluate than a Parker or Wiggins because you have no idea how good their competition is. For this reason it constantly seems like foreign born players are a riskier pick. Rather than looking at a players stats and output like I do in college I often find myself trying to grade their quickness, first step, instincts above everything else. For me this done almost to the point where I don't even look at a foreign players stats because they mean almost nothing to me. In college O believe stats are a pretty good indicator but for foreign players I tend to rely solely on how well you can quantify their individual skills, not how well it actually translates to numbers. You obviously still do this a lot for American players but it becomes much more important for international prospects. Hope that actually made sense. Thanks for the response.
- Gomie420: I know you weren't specifically asking me, but I always use the tried and true "defend the 7 footer with a man on a chair and a broom" routine. You see, the broom equals another player with a large wingspan, which will give you solid information about the international prospect's ability to score even if said prospect hasn't had the chance to play against another person of equal stature.
- Pete: Do you still believe in a hands-on approach to evaluating internationals? And I agree that it is helpful, but is there a data-driven approach that you’ve thought about? These are the types of projects I’ll be providing for my Draft Advisory Council.
Zoop22: If you get quality responses from the challenge this year would you consider doing it again next year? I would love to participate in something like this, but would need more than 10 days to create a quality model for analysis. Thanks!
Pete: Everyone has 10 days to do it, why don’t you give it a shot. I would like to have a Draft Advisory Council of analytically-minded people and we’d definitely like to do this moving forward. At one point I was outside of the wall of the NBA scratching to get in and I know there are many, many others who are in the same situation. So this is really exciting for me.
makeyoucry: How much do personality traits play into evaluating prospects for the Kings? (e.g. Marketability, Interview Skills, Maturity, Coachable, etc.)
I believe someone that is likable with a good head on their shoulders at least raises their floor as far as potential.
Pete: It is one piece of the puzzle and I would call it an important piece. I do believe personality and passion for the game play a huge part in team success.
Jumpman0469: As a GM, how hard is it to battle the “Best Player Available” vs. “Best Player at Position of Need” debate? How do you approach that conundrum now with a good pick and heading into one of the deeper drafts we’ve seen in a while?
Pete: In our stage you always look at the best player available. I can see how teams that are further along in development can draft for a position of need.
AlexLeSage: What do you think is the most underrated thing a prospect needs? Like being able to talk to media, etc.
Pete: I think, for me, mental toughness to go through the Draft process. Sometimes you have to go workout for teams in three consecutive days in three different cities.
Roseyrosey: Why doesn’t Draft 3.0 allow for ranking of international players?
Pete: I think it’s hard analytically to compare the college game with the international game. However, my Draft Advisory Council will be evaluating all levels of Draft talent.
GameLocks: How exactly do you, the rest of the front office and the coaches agree on choosing a player in the draft? I would imagine there would be a lot of disagreement over who should be picked.
Pete: I’m looking forward to a spirited conversation and debate throughout this process. That’s the only way we would do it for this organization and it’s the healthy way.
Hozjo: How would you feel about expanding the draft to a third or fourth round, obviously not guaranteed contracts but maybe a payment (say 50 and 25k) in exchange for summer league/training camp rights?
Demstacksdoe: I won't be here, and it would be cool if someone would copy/paste my question (and maybe everyone elses question in this thread) when the actual AMA is being taken place. My 2 questions are:
Who do you think is the best player in the talent stacked upcoming draft and why?
Who do you believe will impact a franchise the most in contending for a championship?
edit: why the downvotes? I would think people would want to genuinely ask this type of question anyway?
is it really against reddit to request a question to be posted on an AMA?
Pete: Thanks for the question, so let me understand this, you want me to give my rankings? That’s going too far, even for reddit!
Factsarntstraight: Hi Pete! Huge Kings fan: If (god forbid) you find the Kings stuck behind the eighth pick this season, what strategy do you suppose you'd use to make the most out of that position? I understand that the draft is allegedly very deep this season, but I can't see huge value after seven or eight for a team that has so many urgent needs.
Pete: I clearly believe we need to be willing to move up, down or even out of the draft. We’ve been aggressive since we took the team over and will continue to be so until we see the progress we’d like to see.
Pete: Thanks guys, I have to go submit my entry. But seriously, I look forward to some additional thoughts and will come back on and read all of your comments later on this afternoon. Thanks so much for your time!
Courtesy of Sacramento Kings media relations