Posted on: March 24, 2009 4:33 am
Edited on: March 24, 2009 4:47 am

Review: 2008 NBA Prospect Ratings

Obviously my ratings are tough to prove after not even a full NBA season because they are long-term projections, but we have a better idea now than last summer because actual games have been played. Here's a look at my final ratings for 2008 draft eligible prospects:

Top 30

  1. Michael Beasley
  2. Jerryd Bayless
  3. Derrick Rose
  4. O.J. Mayo
  5. Anthony Randolph
  6. Brook Lopez
  7. Nicolas Batum
  8. Darrell Arthur
  9. Serge Ibaka
  10. Marreese Speights
  11. DeAndre Jordan
  12. Donte Greene
  13. Danilo Gallinari
  14. Joe Alexander
  15. Kevin Love
  16. Brandon Rush
  17. Eric Gordon
  18. Russell Westbrook
  19. Kosta Koufos
  20. D.J. Augustin
  21. Bill Walker
  22. Ryan Anderson
  23. JaVale McGee
  24. Robin Lopez
  25. Jason Thompson
  26. DeVon Hardin
  27. J.J. Hickson
  28. Mario Chalmers
  29. Nathan Jawai
  30. Kyle Weaver

If I could do it over:

  1. Derrick Rose -- Rose has been up and down and still needs to develop his shot, but he's shown that his athleticism, defense and play-making ability are elite. Even if the shot doesn't develop he's on his way to becoming an all-star point guard. 
  2. Brook Lopez -- Looks like an all-star center in the making. His defense has been very sound for a rookie and his offensive game is working. The rebounding needs to improve but there's no indication it won't.
  3. Russell Westbrook -- Westbrook jumps 15 spots in my ratings. It looks like he'll be able to make it at the point after all. He's a potential top 5 defender at the point in the future and he's been able to score. Needs to develop his perimeter shooting.
  4. O.J. Mayo -- Mayo has been very good for a bad team. The only thing holding him back from being the top guard is his defensive ability. It's not bad by any means but he's not the elite defender Rose and Westbrook are.
  5. Anthony Randolph -- Nelson drives me crazy. Randolph should be playing more minutes more consistently than he is. This kid is a real talent. Still young and thin but he's coming along and is very skilled. His height, wingspan and athleticism are an amazing combination. He's a really dangerous shot-blocker at the small forward or power forward position. I still think he has a chance to be the top player of his class.
  6. Jerryd Bayless -- Victim of circumstance. Portland is the best of the lottery teams and Bayless is stuck behind more experienced players. He's still a heck of a talent, though, so it's hard to drop him very far. Probably won't be the defender Rose and Westbrook are and may not develop into a great point, but I still think he's the best scorer of the top guards. Doesn't have the size to be a combo in the League so Mayo gets the nod over him.
  7. Michael Beasley -- So he's not the next Barkley, but he's still good and has a lot of potential. His playing time has been up and down so it's tough to get a good read on what he'll do as a full-time starter, but I think he'll rebound a bit in his second season. Then again you never know. Maybe the character concerns were legit.
  8. Eric Gordon -- I undervalued this guy in a big way and he's done nothing but prove me wrong. He's been great immediately for an underachieving team. I think he's got a bright future. Great shooter and scorer and can defend better than I thought.
  9. Marreese Speights -- He's skilled with great athleticism for his size. Has a chance to rise like Randolph. Very high ceiling. Wait till year three or four comes; he could be an all-star forward. Not on the Al Jefferson level but will be very good.
  10. Jason Thompson -- From what I saw before the season Thompson was a skilled big man around the basket who took advantage of weak competition. I had no idea he would be that good away from the basket. A fun player to watch who's only going to get better.
  11. DeAndre Jordan -- Hasn't had the consistent playing time to really prove himself, but the talent is there and he's done very well in short stints. Is it too early to say he's the steal of the draft? Too bad he plays for the Clippers.
  12. Javale McGee -- Very athletic and tall and long. And he's got skill, too. Probably needs to beef up a little bit and adjust to the NBA level but he's got a bright future. 
  13. J.J. Hickson -- Another overlooked guy. He's strong and athletic and is quicker than I thought. He'll get more playing time in the future and when he does he'll do well. I think he's got close to 20/10 potential.
  14. Nicolas Batum -- His numbers won't wow you but the guy has started as a rookie for a playoff team. He has to develop his offensive game but, as expected, he has a chance to be an elite defender on the wing.
  15. Serge Ibaka -- Hasn't played this year but he'll get to the League eventually. Tons of potential but very, very raw. It'll be a couple years before he makes a name for himself but keep an eye out for him.
  16. Kevin Love -- Better than I thought he would be. He's a great rebounder and a smart player. He could be a 16 and 12 guy. If Jefferson is healthy the Wolves have to be feeling good about the combo they'll have going into the future.
  17. Darrell Arthur -- Started out really hot and then cooled off. Still young and a couple years from filling out his potential. When he does he could move up the list. It's all about how well he can defend. His offense is going to be solid. The fact that he's 17th on this list speaks volumes about the strength of this draft class.
  18. Danilo Gallinari -- Anyone else getting tired of European players. Sure, the kid has offensive potential but is he ever going to be able to defend? He's athletic for his size so it's possible, but not while playing under D'Antoni.
  19. Courtney Lee -- Surprisingly good. Good defender and smart player. Another good value pick.
  20. Kosta Koufos -- Skilled big man has a ways to go but he's got offensive potential. Has made decent contributions to a playoff team in his rookie season.
  21. Mario Chalmers -- Great on-ball defender. Has shown he can play the point well enough, too. Good shooter as well. In fact, now that I'm writing this I think I'm still underrating him. Oh well, too late to go back now.
  22. D.J. Augustin -- Good shooter and playmaker. I think he'll always be a defensive liability but if he continues to improve on the other end he'll be worthy of a starting job at this level.
  23. Kyle Weaver -- Still not well-known amongst casual fans, Weaver is a very good defender and a smart offensive player with a great midrange game. His perimeter shooting will improve and he should be another great value pick.
  24. Donte Greene -- Okay, so I reached and missed. He still has talent but who knows what it will turn into. I could see him being a top 10 player or the next Darius Miles.
  25. Robin Lopez -- I didn't like the Suns taking him at 15 and he hasn't done much this season but he's got good size and could turn into a very solid defender and rebounder down the road.
  26. Brandon Rush -- Was supposed to be the most NBA-ready player but he got stuck playing for the Pacers. It's not his fault. A good player but I'm not sure he'll ever be much more than he is now.
  27. Joe Alexander -- Bust? Maybe, but it's too early to write him off. After all, we all knew he was a project when he was drafted. He hasn't lost that athleticism.
  28. Ryan Anderson -- Good shooter but won't be a good defender or rebounder at his position. Was a heck of a college player, though.
  29. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute -- It's not surprising to see Moute getting on the floor because of his defense and rebounding. He's a smart, hard-nosed player who does the little things a team needs to win. That doesn't mean he doesn't have any skill, but at this point it doesn't look like he'll ever be a great perimeter player which would be the way he climbs this list.
  30. Roy Hibbert -- His slow feet haven't been as bad as I thought they would be. Still, he's not much more than a journeyman second-string center.
Category: NBA
Tags: NBA, NBA Draft, NCAAB
Posted on: March 23, 2009 5:44 am
Edited on: March 23, 2009 2:57 pm

NBA Prospect Ratings

These are long-term ratings of NBA prospects currently eligible to enter the 2009 NBA draft. Keep in mind it's not strictly an assessment of how good a player is now but rather a mix of current performance, potential and positional value.

Point Guard

  1. Jrue Holiday
  2. Ricky Rubio
  3. Brandon Jennings
  4. Jeff Teague
  5. Ty Lawson
  6. Stephen Curry
  7. Malcolm Lee
  8. Patrick Mills
  9. AJ Price
  10. Nick Calathes
  11. Kemba Walker
  12. Elliot Williams
  13. Darren Collison
  14. Eric Maynor
  15. Daniel Hackett
  16. Jonny Flynn
  17. Jeremy Pargo
  18. Sherron Collins
  19. Nolan Smith
  20. Scottie Reynolds

Shooting Guard

  1. Demar DeRozan
  2. James Harden
  3. Willie Warren
  4. Tyreke Evans
  5. Chase Budinger
  6. Evan Turner
  7. Gerald Henderson
  8. Klay Thompson
  9. Scotty Hopson
  10. Terrence Williams
  11. Dwight Lewis
  12. James Anderson
  13. Jerel McNeal
  14. William Buford
  15. Jodie Meeks
  16. Iman Shumpert
  17. Wayne Ellington
  18. Robert Vaden
  19. Matt Thornton
  20. Manny Harris

Small Forward

  1. Al-Farouq Aminu
  2. Earl Clark
  3. James Johnson
  4. Devin Ebanks
  5. Kyle Singler
  6. Austin Daye
  7. DaJuan Summers
  8. Sam Young
  9. William Witherspoon
  10. Anthony Jones
  11. Damion James
  12. Chris Singleton
  13. Tyler Smith
  14. Derrick Brown
  15. Delvon Roe
  16. Luke Babbit
  17. Stanley Robinson
  18. Paul George
  19. Chris Wright
  20. Marcus Morris

Power Forward

  1. Blake Griffin
  2. Greg Monroe
  3. Jordan Hill
  4. Patrick Patterson
  5. Craig Brackins
  6. Gani Lawal
  7. Michael Dunigan
  8. Josh Heytvelt
  9. Samardo Samuels
  10. Dejuan Blair
  11. Ed Davis
  12. Drew Gordon
  13. Jarvis Varnado
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Terrence Jennings
  16. Taj Gibson
  17. Jeff Pendergraph
  18. Tyler Hansbrough
  19. JaJuan Johnson
  20. Kenny Kadji


  1. Hasheem Thabeet
  2. Cole Aldrich
  3. BJ Mullens
  4. Tony Woods
  5. Jerome Jordan
  6. Donatas Motiejunas
  7. Dexter Pittman
  8. Ty Walker
  9. Andrew Ogilvy
  10. Ty Zeller
  11. Ralph Sampson III
  12. J'Mison Morgan
  13. Solomon Alabi
  14. Henry Sims
  15. Luke Nevil


  1. Blake Griffin
  2. Demar DeRozan
  3. Greg Monroe
  4. James Harden
  5. Jrue Holiday
  6. Ricky Rubio
  7. Jordan Hill
  8. Hasheem Thabeet
  9. Brandon Jennings
  10. Al-Farouq Aminu
  11. Earl Clark
  12. Willie Warren
  13. Jeff Teague
  14. James Johnson
  15. Tyreke Evans
  16. Devin Ebanks
  17. Cole Aldrich
  18. Patrick Patterson
  19. Ty Lawson
  20. Chase Budinger
  21. Stephen Curry
  22. Kyle Singler
  23. BJ Mullens
  24. Austin Daye
  25. DaJuan Summers
  26. Gani Lawal
  27. Michael Dunigan
  28. Tony Woods
  29. Evan Turner
  30. Gerald Henderson
  31. Malcolm Lee
  32. Patrick Mills
  33. Jerome Jordan
  34. Josh Heytvelt
  35. Samardo Samuels
  36. Dejuan Blair
  37. Donatas Motiejunas
  38. Sam Young
  39. Klay Thompson
  40. AJ Price
  41. William Witherspoon
  42. Anthony Jones
  43. Dexter Pittman
  44. Scotty Hopson
  45. Ty Walker
  46. Terrence Williams
  47. Nick Calathes
  48. Dwight Lewis
  49. Ed Davis
  50. Kemba Walker
  51. Elliot Williams
  52. Drew Gordon
  53. Jarvis Varnado
  54. Chris Johnson
  55. Darren Collison
  56. James Anderson
  57. Eric Maynor
  58. Daniel Hackett
  59. Andrew Ogilvy
  60. Damion James
  61. Jonny Flynn
Category: NCAAB
Tags: NBA, NBA Draft, NCAAB
Posted on: April 26, 2008 3:29 am
Edited on: June 30, 2008 8:32 pm

Non-conference scheduling: a difficult decision?

Every year the revolving door of discussion brings two parties together to argue the best way to achieve success through non-conference scheduling. One side adopts the theory that scheduling tough games for their non-conference slate raises their RPI and preparedness for the tournament. The other believes that a less strenuous and more balanced non-conference schedule can achieve the same result. Both ideologies preach eventual success, and both have statistical support for their arguments, but to get a better feel for what the effects and advantages of each really are, further examination is required.

What does competition do for a team and its players? Does a team improve by having their abilities and execution challenged against more difficult competition? Are the players and team then given an opportunity to see their faults and make adjustments to become better players with more of a chance to succeed in the future against that more difficult competition? Or does less difficult competition and easier routes to victory teach a team to win, and therefore instill a winning mentality and confidence? Do players improve through untested repetition?

The numbers work both ways. According to, only two of the past ten champions have had a non-conference strength of schedule greater than 50. Duke had the number 17 non-conference SOS in 2001, and Maryland had the 15th-best in 2002. Only one team can win it all, though, and that limits the probe into the effects of a tough or easy non-conference schedule. Take a look at the number of teams that have advanced to the Elite 8 and Final 4 over the last ten years per non-conference SOS rating.

Teams advancing to Elite 8 (SOS rating range: # of teams)
  • 1-25: 30
  • 26-50: 15
  • 51-75 : 8
  • 76-100: 4
  • 101-125: 6
  • 126-150: 2
  • 151-175: 7
  • 176-200: 3
  • 200-225: 2
  • 226-250: 1
  • 251-275: 2
  • 276+: 0
Teams advancing to Final 4
  • 1-25: 16
  • 26-50: 5
  • 51-75: 5
  • 76-100: 2
  • 101-125: 4
  • 126-150: 1
  • 151-175: 5
  • 176-200: 1
  • 201-225: 0
  • 226-250: 0
  • 251-275: 1
  • 276+: 0
There is an obvious correlation between high non-conference SOS ratings and performance in the tournament, but that's not to say it's the main reason teams advance. Talent is a common theme with past champions. There are 30 current NBA players from the rosters of the 10 past champions, and Kansas is likely to add another two or three to that list in June. That's an average of three future NBA players playing for each champion. None had less than two and some had as many as six. Does a tough or weak schedule even matter for teams like that? Maybe.

Quality non-conference matchups usually expose teams to fresh audiences, or at least sporadic ones. Visibility is a big part of recruiting, and these games provide teams an opportunity to showcase themselves and their styles to a host of recruits. Like winning championships, there are other factors involved in landing recruits, such as the coaching staff, style of play, athletic facilities, tradition and academic appeal. However, even those programs rich in tradition or armed with a successful coach need to remain visible. Contemporary society demands recent success and tends to forget about the past. Athletic directors and general managers dismiss coaches like burned firecrackers. Why shouldn't players do the same with programs?

The NCAA tournament committee has sent a message, still unclear to self-influentially befuddled fans, that they want teams to play difficult non-conference schedules. While part of that is because they want the best and most tested teams in the tournament, it really shows smart marketing. If teams from different sides of the country are playing each other, not only are recruits tuning in, but so are consumers. People naturally think less of and have less interest in teams they've never seen play before or haven't heard much about. The NCAA doesn't want a group of quiet teams in the tournament. They want teams that have been seen, heard and will hike television ratings. It's all about the money. No surprise.

After taking a closer look, it's apparent that teams have found success on opposite ends of the spectrum. Which is the best way to go? Move in the circles of the Boeheimites and Donovanans, or those of the Olsonians and Fewtans? The truth is that the choice is ultimately contingent. Just another revolving door of discussion.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or