Re-Drafting the 2013 NBA Draft Using Advanced Analytics
The 2013 NBA draft class may still be in its professional basketball infancy, but it's already considered by some to be one of the worst groups of prospects in league history.
The first overall pick, Anthony Bennett, is on his fourth team in four years and has 0.0 win shares after 1,641 NBA minutes. The 2013-14 Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, recently lost his starting job to Rashad Vaughn (3.1 points per game and 30.5% shooting from the field in his 2015-16 rookie season) on a Milwaukee Bucks team that went 33-49 last year. Even the rebuilding Orlando Magic recently gave up on Victor Oladipo -- once considered the best player of this class -- when they packaged him up and sent him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a year of Serge Ibaka this summer.
But all is not lost.
C.J. McCollum is fresh off being named the Most Improved Player for the 2015-16 season after averaging 20.8 points and shooting 41.7% from long range last year. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most coveted players in the entire NBA, having recently signed a four-year, $100 million extension with the Bucks that is arguably a bargain, given his potential and unique body and skillset. Rudy Gobert is shaping up to be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate for years to come.
This group might only produce an All-Star or two, but there are still plenty of guys who are starting to look like solid role players and even like they could be legitimate first or second options on playoff teams.
Looking back on draft night in 2013, it's pretty well a given that the Cleveland Cavaliers would've done something different with their first overall pick, if they had known then what we know now about Anthony Bennett. Then again, that small flap of a butterfly's wings caused the storm of transactions that led to LeBron James coming home to Cleveland and delivering the Cavaliers franchise its first title this year. Maybe they made the right choice after all?
Either way, it can be an interesting exercise to explore the "what if" scenarios that come with re-drafting a class years after the fact with the benefit of hindsight and cold, hard statistics.
Three years removed from Anthony Bennett getting his name called first on draft night in 2013, what do those numbers say about how the draft should have gone?