Looking for the Next Analytics Draft Darlings
Applying the Memphis Grizzlies' statistical criteria to potential 2023 draft prospects
We’re always on the hunt for the next diamond in the rough prospect. A lot of time is spent combing through stats and filtering to see which players hit important benchmarks that typically lead to on-court success. As we discussed with good friend Chip Jones on a recent episode of The Box and One Podcast, there isn’t time to watch film on every prospect in America; instead, we use statistics to help find the guys who might have the most intrigue.
The trouble can be in coming up with exactly what the statistical filter(s) need to be to accurately identify NBA-worth prospects. Luckily for us, another friend (and great Twitter follow) Bryan Kalbrosky helped unearth a filter that appears to be utilized by an NBA team. According to Kalbrosky, the Grizzlies three draft picks from last year (as well as three other players on their roster from prior drafts) pass the same statistical thresholds: an eFG% over 57%, BLK and STL rates above 2% and D-REB and AST rates above 14%.
Other research around the Grizzlies tried to predict which prospects they’d target, only to see those names fly off the board before Memphis could prove the theory correct. As a team that has nailed the margins of the draft and quickly built a reputable roster under general manager Zach Kleiman, they may be onto something here.
That’s the impetus behind this study we’re conducting. While last season only produced three prospects who met all those statistical rungs on the ladder, we can look at some prospects who got close last year. If those players have another crack at it with an additional college season, they could be our next draft prospect sleepers to unearth.