By the Power of PER

Who do you want Tim and Sidizens at #5?
Sid’s discussion today on Tim and Sid: Uncut got me thinking about past #5 selections in the NBA Draft Lottery. Do the Toronto Raptors have a chance at getting a solid player? Is there a chance we get Walker or Knight? Does Colangelo continue bringing in International flavours? And lastly, how have past #5 picks in the draft fair in the the NBA?

The Player Efficiency Rating (PER) was first introduced by ESPN writer John Hollinger. PER is an all-in-one basketball rating system which attempts to rate a player’s per-minute productivity. Basically, it summarizes all the stats for an individual NBA player and breaks it down into one number. This number = PER. It’s definitely not the final word on how a player performs, but it does give help when determining the productivity of a player or comparing them with others. But like most equations and theories, it can have flaws. It doesn’t quantify intangible qualities like leadership or durability, and it doesn’t include defense (beyond blocks, steals, fouls). And any basketball fan know those 2 characteristics are huge on the court.  However, this is what I’m going by and in celebration of the Toronto Raptors receiving the #5 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery (fuck, that sucks), I thought I would do a little run down of the last ten draft lottery picks that were selected at the #5 slot and do a comparison of their PERs.

2001 Jason Richardson Orlando Magic
2002 Nikoloz Tskitishvili Langun Aro GBC
2003 Dwayne Wade Miami Heat
2004 Devin Harris Utah Jazz
2005 Raymond Felton Denver Nuggets
2006 Shelden Williams New York Knicks
2007 Jeff Green Boston Celtics
2008 Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves
2009 Ricky Rubio Minnesota Timberwolves
2010 DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento Kings
2011 ?

Obviously, for some of these players, they only have played one or two seasons and I’m well aware it may not give a true reading on the value of their productivity. As with anyting in life, maturity/development can make a player better and their PER can rise, but it’s also a double-edged sword; their PER may decrease. Since 2001, there’s been some #5 picks that have been complete duds (Tskitishvili, Rubio), but there’s also been some players who’ve had success (Wade, Love). If you ask me, the last ten #5 draft lottery picks could be seen to have been somewhat successful. We have a couple of all-stars and other players that have grown into legit starters. I understand that the depth of a draft also influences how successful a #5 pick will be and unfortunately, the 2011 NBA draft lottery gets pretty murky after the first couple of picks. But this list does offer some hope for the Raptors and Colangelo – let’s hope our #5 selection is more “beast” than “beastly”.

* The daily Tim and Sid: Uncut review will be up this evening or tomorrow morning. Until then, enjoy the NBA/NHL playoffs.

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