Every year, the top prospects in the NBA Draft class are invited to the “Green Room” wherever the draft may be held. The Green Room is a waiting room where the top prospects spend some time with one another and their families in anticipation of being one of the high first-round picks in that year’s draft.
Here is the list of 2013 Green Room invitees:
Nerlens Noel- Center, Kentucky
Victor Oladipo- Guard, Indiana
Tyler Zeller- Forward, Indiana
Otto Porter- Guard, Georgetown
Alex Len- Center, Maryland
Anthony Bennett- Forward, UNLV
Ben McLemore- Guard, Kansas
Trey Burke- Guard, Michigan
Michael Carter-Williams- Guard, Syracuse
C.J. McCollum- Guard, Lehigh
It’s an interesting exercise to evaluate how guys invited to the Green Room actually fared once their NBA careers were a few years on track.
What did I find?
In general, the Green Room is a moderately strong predictor of the NBA’s next crop of impact players.
I created a plus/minus system to evaluate how well players invited to the Green Room fared after at least three seasons in the league. Did they turn into superstars? Role players? Wash-out all together?
There are some basic statistical metrics which any basketball fan knows and these were applied to the career stats of players drafted between 2006-2010. Overall, these guys have averaged 10.78 points per game, 4.78 rebounds per game, and 4.47 assists per game. I used the top two most impactful stats from each player to eventually tally these averages.
Each player in this class was given either a + or a – based on how impactful they have been in their careers overall. Of the 77 players I evaluated, 43 were given a + rating, while 34 were given a -. On the surface, this makes being invited to the Green Room a moderate, but far from a “strong” predictor of success in the NBA.
Some interesting trends emerged in the draft classes as well.
In evaluation of the classes since 2006 (without using assists per game since they aren’t statistically significant), the 2009 Green Room class has had the biggest impact overall on the NBA, while the 2006 Green Room class was the weakest, with the most guys who never made a mark.
The 2009 class — led by Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant — has averaged 12.91 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game over their time in the league. Nine of the 13 players invited to the Green Room in 2009 have had an impact career in the league given our metrics.
The 2006 class, on the flipside, was full of guys that had plenty of promise that never materialized. As a class, they averaged 9.40 points per game and 4.22 rebounds per game, with 10 of the 15 players earning a – rating. Guys like Cedric Simmons and Patrick O’Bryant never played anything beyond garbage minutes in the NBA and only LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy had any real impact on their teams.
When you watch the NBA Draft here in a few days, understand that the guys sitting in the Green Room have a better than average chance at being an impact player in the NBA, but it’s far from certain. For every Kevin Durant, there’s a Patrick O’Bryant.
Nothing is a sure thing.