NBA Stats

Jun 25 2013 4:53PM

Draft Preview: Lottery Picks

By Jay Cipoletti

A Four Factors Look at the NBA Draft

No team sets out to be average, and no fan base will tune in to the NBA Draft on Thursday in the hopes of their lottery team becoming average. However, taking a look at the league average and using it as a compass to guide a team through the Draft might be a worthwhile exercise.

In a league where 16 teams make the playoffs and 14 teams are relegated the Lottery, being better than average likely means being a playoff team. (Except in the case of Toronto -- absent from both the playoffs and the Lottery; and the Thunder -- present in both, a scary proposition for the rest of the League).

The key is to look at League averages through a lens that correlates to producing wins. The Four Factors have been shown to do just that, with Offensive and Defensive Rating giving us a quick clue as to which end of the floor should be the focus. As you might expect, some Lottery teams need to upgrade production on both ends.

One last point before we get into a team-by-team look: production can come from anywhere. The lineups both the Spurs and Heat used in the Finals are examples of that. The concept of pigeonholing players into five static positions makes things easier for pregame introductions but are not all that relevant when looking at a team's needs in the Draft.



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 24-58
Fifth place, Central Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #1, #19
Round 2: #31, #33

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Cleveland47.3%0.26514.6%28.1%
Opponent52.3%0.30416.1%27.4%

The Cavs won the possession battle this season, a hidden positive for a team that won only 24 games. Their 14.6% Turnover Rate topped the League average of 15.3%, while they forced opponents into a 16.1% rate. Their offensive rebound rate of 28.1% also topped the League average of 26.5%. Where they struggled was in Effective Field Goal Percentage -- their 47.3% mark was well below the League average of 49.6% while their 29th-ranked eFG% defense allowed opponents to shoot 52.3% eFG and rebound 27.4% of their misses.

Needs: HIGH impact player on both Offensive and Defensive eFG%; improved DR%

The Mock Drafts suggest: Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Otto Porter, Anthony Bennett
The Four Factors agree with the Mock Draft selections



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 20-62
Fifth place, Southeast Division
Did not make playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #2
Round 2: #51

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Orlando48.5%0.19715.3%25.4%
Opponent50.8%0.26513.1%25.4%

Despite shooting better than the Cavaliers, the Magic were less efficient offensively due to a higher turnover rate, lower offensive rebounding rate and a League-worst 0.197 FTA Rate. Defensively they are nearly identical, although they take a different route to get there. The Magic don't force many turnovers, their 13.1% TOV Rate ranking last in the League, although they do limit second-chance opportunities and defend shots (50.8% eFG allowed) better than half of the Lottery teams.

Needs: Improved offensive and defensive eFG%, defensive disruptor, scorer with high FTA rate

The Mock Drafts suggest: Ben McLemore, Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo
The Four Factors suggest: Anthony Bennett



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 29-53
Third place, Southeast Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #3
Round 2: #38, #54

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Washington47.5%0.26115.8%24.6%
Opponent48.3%0.27915.3%25.4%

The Wizards are the first team in the Draft that can concentrate on one end of the floor. Their youthful backcourt and veteran frontcourt produced a Defensive Rating of 100.6, well below the League average of 103.1. Maintaining that level of play defensively will be important; drafting to improve their League worst 97.8 Offensive Rating is what they will be attempting Thursday night. The encouraging aspect is that while they were below average in all four offensive categories, they were only marginally so in FTA and Turnover Rate, with an Offensive Rebounding rate higher than several playoff teams. They need to improve on their 25th-rated 47.6% eFG.

Needs: Reliable shot-maker

The Mock Drafts suggest: Otto Porter, Nerlens Noel, Anthony Bennett
The Four Factors suggest: Ben McLemore



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 21-61
Fourth place, Southeast Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #4

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Charlotte46.0%0.31014.8%25.7%
Opponent52.4%0.26414.9%28.9%

With a Net Margin Rating of -10.6, it would be easy to say the Bobcats need help everywhere. That is not entirely true -- their 0.310 FTA Rate and 14.8% Turnover Rate are both better than the League average. It is what happens on the possessions when they get field goal attempts where they need the most help, shooting a League low 46.0% eFG last season. Coupled with allowing a League high 52.4% eFG, the Bobcats are very similar to the Cavaliers.

Needs: HIGH impact player on both Offensive and Defensive eFG%

The Mock Drafts suggest: Alex Len, Anthony Bennett, Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo
The Four Factors suggest: Nerlens Noel



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 25-57
Fifth place, Pacific Division
Did not make playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #5, #30
Round 2: #57

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Phoenix47.7%0.23416.1%27.0%
Opponent51.2%0.27415.9%28.1%

Only the Pacers and Rockets turned the ball over more than the Phoenix Suns. Those playoff teams were able to overcome their sloppy ballhandling by being one of the top shooting teams (Rockets) and the NBA's best defense (Pacers). The Suns didn't have either as a fall back option. While they struggled defensively, they are another team whose greatest need is on the offensive end, where they need a high usage ballhandler to reduce their Turnover Rate and not only make shots but create good shots for teammates. If Kendall Marshall can grow into the role of ball protector and shot creator, grabbing a scorer in this draft could be the way to go.

Needs: High usage ball-handler and reliable shooter, shot creator

The Mock Drafts suggest: Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore, C.J. McCollum, Shabazz Muhammad
The Four Factors agree with the Mock Draft selections



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 27-55
Fifth place, Southwest Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #6

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
New Orleans48.9%0.24815.9%29.2%
Opponent52.0%0.27414.6%25.6%

Six teams made the playoffs with less efficient offenses than the Pelicans' 102.7 Rating. While New Orleans would like to see that slide above the League average next year, their primary concern is on the defensive end. New Orleans ranked 28th in Defensive eFG%, in large part because they allowed the fourth most FG attempts from the two highest value scoring areas on the floor -- at the rim and from the corner -- while ranking 30th in shots allowed from mid-range, 140 shots behind 29th-ranked Charlotte.

Needs: Rim protector, wing length to defend Corner 3s, disruptor to increase defensive TOV%

The Mock Drafts suggest: Trey Burke, Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Len
The Four Factors suggest: Steven Adams, Cody Zeller, Michael Carter-Williams, Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey, Lucas Nogueira



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 28-54
Fourth place, Pacific Division
Did not make playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #7
Round 2: #36

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Sacramento49.1%0.27115.0%26.6%
Opponent51.7%0.29015.2%29.0%

The Kings are similar to the Pelicans just ahead of them, scoring well enough to be a playoff team at a 103.0 Offensive Rating but struggling to get stops. Only the Bobcats allowed a higher Defensive Rating than the Kings' 108.6, and nobody grabbed fewer of their opponents' misses than Sacramento's 71.0% defensive rebounding rate. Defensive rebounding is more of a commodity than a premium product, so the Kings will likely look to shore up their league worst 66.7% FG Pct allowed in the Restricted Area with the best rim protector still on the board.

Needs: Rim protector, glass eater

The Mock Drafts suggest: Anthony Bennett, Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter
The Four Factors suggest: Alex Len, Steven Adams, Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey, Rudy Gobert, Lucas Nogueira



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 29-53
Fourth place, Central Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #8
Round 2: #37, #56

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Detroit48.7%0.28216.1%28.3%
Opponent50.5%0.27414.7%27.0%

The Pistons are coming off a 29-win season and local favorite Trey Burke will likely be off the board by time they are on the clock...so why should Pistons fans be smiling? Detroit defended opponent shots better than the league average from mid-range and Corner 3s and matched the league average defending shots in the paint. They struggled at the extremes -- in the Restricted Area and on above the break 3s. With a young core that scored at an efficiency rate approaching the low end of playoff teams (100.9 OffRtg), the Pistons stand to make great strides should they defend RA shots better next season.

Needs: Rim protector

The Mock Drafts suggest: C.J. McCollum, Cody Zeller, Shabazz Muhammad
The Four Factors suggest: Steven Adams, Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey, Rudy Gobert, Lucas Nogueira



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 31-51
Fifth place, Northwest Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #9, #26
Round 2: #52, #59

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Minnesota47.3%0.30515.5%27.4%
Opponent51.1%0.24816.7%26.0%

The Milwaukee Bucks made the playoffs with 100.9 Offensive Rating/102.3 Defensive Rating, shooting 47.6% eFG. The T-Wolves are on the clock Thursday with the ninth selection after a 100.3 OffRtg/102.9 DefRtg, 47.3% eFG season. The difference? Milwaukee limited opponents to 57.1% in the Restricted Area and 35.6% from Corner 3s -- Minnesota allowed opponents to shoot 63.5% and 42.1% from the same zones. The T-Wolves' 29.2% mark on above the break 3s needs improving as well.

Needs: Rim protector, lock up wing defender, pure shooter

The Mock Drafts suggest: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Len, Mason Plumlee, Shabazz Muhammad
The Four Factors suggest: Steven Adams, Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey, C.J. McCollum, Rudy Gobert, Lucas Nogueira



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 33-49
Fourth place, Northwest Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #10
Round 2: #39, #40, #45

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Portland49.8%0.25015.5%25.3%
Opponent51.2%0.24813.9%26.7%

With Rookie of the Year Damian Lilliard leading an offense that scored at a 102.7 OffRtg clip, Portland can focus on the defensive end. Their 106.9 Defensive Rating topped only Sacramento and New Orleans in the West. Only the Bucks allowed more shots in the Restricted Area -- but whereas Larry Sanders & Co. limited opponents to a 57.1% make rate, the Blazers allowed opponents to shoot 60.8%. Ranking 29th in frequency and 23rd in make rate allowed in the most productive shooting zone on the floor, coupled with a forced TOV% of only 13.9% (League average -- 15.3%), Portland's below average defense is easy to understand.

Needs: Rim protector, defensive disruptor

The Mock Drafts suggest: Steven Adams, Cody Zeller, Jamaal Franklin
The Four Factors suggest: Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey, Rudy Gobert, Lucas Nogueira



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 34-48
Fourth place, Atlantic Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #11
Round 2: #35, #42

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Philadelphia48.1%0.20013.9%24.9%
Opponent49.5%0.26415.3%26.6%

The third and last non-playoff team in the Lottery to play defense at or better than the League average, the Sixers are a study in how the Four Factors correlate to overall performance.

DEFENSIVE STATSLEAGUE AVERAGEPHILADELPHIA
Defensive Rating103.1103.0
Effective FG%49.6%49.6%
FTA Rate0.2700.264
TOV%15.3%15.3%
OR%26.5%26.6%

Now, about the 26th-ranked offense. The Sixers took good care of the ball last year (13.9% TOV); they struggled to do anything with it, however. While they could stand to improve upon their 57.3% make rate in the Restricted Area, what the Sixers really need to do is decrease their League-leading 2,400 shots from mid-range. Not only do those shots rarely go in -- 39.4% for Philadelphia, 39.3% across the NBA -- they rarely lead to foul shots. The Sixers were 29th in FTA Rate at 0.200, ahead of only Orlando. Only two other teams attempted more than 2,300 mid-range shot last season. The Bulls fired up 2,305 (100.4 Offensive Rating) and the Suns attempted 2,341 (98.2 OffRtg). Philadelphia doesn't need shooters as much as it needs better shots.

Needs: Shot creator and distributor, floor spacer(s)

The Mock Drafts suggest: Cody Zeller, Lucas Nogueira, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk, Alex Len
The Four Factors suggest: Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, C.J. McCollum, Shane Larkin



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 60-22
First place, Northwest Division
Lost in second round to Memphis
Draft Picks
Round 1: #12, #29
Round 2: #32

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Oklahoma City52.7%0.33815.9%26.7%
Opponent46.9%0.25415.2%26.6%

What do you get for the team that has everything? First in the NBA in Net Margin at 11.0 (110.2/99.2), the Thunder have the luxury of drafting to fine tune an already highly efficient machine. As you would expect, they do not do anything poorly. In addition to their obvious offensive prowess the Thunder limited opponents to a Western Conference best 46.9% eFG. The only Factor that was negative for Oklahoma City last year was Turnover Rate, where they turned it over 15.9% of the time and took it away 15.3%. This Draft isn't about need, it is about leverage.

Needs: Match up nightmare, versatility

The Mock Drafts suggest: Kelly Olynyk, C.J. McCollum, Rudy Gobert, Michael Carter-Williams
The Four Factors suggest: Shabazz Muhammad, Cody Zeller, Tony Mitchell



Team Overview
2012-13 Record: 41-41
Fourth place, Southwest Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #13
Round 2: #44

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Dallas50.6%0.24214.3%21.8%
Opponent49.2%0.30215.0%26.9%

Dallas missed the playoffs despite a 103.6 Offensive Rating, above the League average and higher than six playoff teams. Like most teams drafting in front of them, Dallas was let down by their defense. The Mavericks flaws were a little different than their Draft predecessors, however. Despite holding opponents to a respectable 49.2% eFG, Dallas faltered defensively (104.0 DefRtg) due to a combination of excessive fouling (0.302 FTA against) and slightly below average defensive rebounding and TOV% forced.

Needs: Defensive disruptor, ball stoppers

The Mock Drafts suggest: Michael Carter-Williams, Rudy Gobert
The Four Factors suggest: Jeff Withey, Gorgui Dieng



Team Overview
2012-13 record: 43-39
Third place, Northwest Division
Did not make the playoffs
Draft Picks
Round 1: #14, #21
Round 2: #46

Four Factors
TeameFG%FTA RateTO RatioOREB%
Utah49.2%0.28115.6%28.8%
Opponent50.1%0.29815.6%26.8%

The Jazz finished two games ahead of the Mavericks despite identical Offensive Ratings (103.6) and a slightly worse Defensive Rating (104.3). Utah allowed a League worst 43.8% Corner 3 percentage and like the Mavs, sent teams to line at a very high rate (0.298 FTA Rate). Utah needs to add perimeter defenders to reduce their foul rate and close out on Corner 3 shooters.

Needs: Wing defenders, ball stoppers

The Mock Drafts suggest: Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee, Dennis Schroeder, Shane Larkin
The Four Factors suggest: Victor Oladipo [trade up?], Michael Carter-Williams, Jamaal Franklin