Every year, Hollinger performs a regression analysis to compare this year's prospects to last year's prospects. As he explains, the error rate on the analysis is pretty high, but the information provided by the Rater can identify some busts and some sleepers. Significantly, if the Rater puts a guy in the Top 5, there's almost no way he's a bust.
So what does the Rater say to Bulls fans?
1. Ty Lawson is undervalued. Hollinger talks about this at great length, so I won't parrott what he says. What does it mean for the Bulls? Not much, I think. Most mock drafts have him gone before 26, and with the Bulls having two starter-ready point guards already, I don't think he makes sense at 16 (even if he might be an All-Star some day). If he does drop to 26, though, he could be the steal of the draft.
2. DeJuan Blair is indeed the truth. He rates 7th on the Rater (out of the 90 prospects Hollinger runs through the analysis) with a score of 13.56. That compares favorably to some guys from years past: Chris Wilcox (13.28), Chris Bosh (13.08), Nick Collison (13.03), David West (12.85), Chris Kaman (12.2), Emeka Okafor (13.08), LaMarcus Aldridge (13.01), Tyrus Thomas (13.44), and Al Horford (13.45). Anyone who has looked into it knows he's got some of the prime indicators of a beast (his rebound rate is off the charts, and that's usually a good indicator). If only his knees weren't mush, I'd be all about him at 16. I still might be, as the medical risk might be less than the risk of suckitude with the other Bulls prospects. Speaking of which . . .
3. Cool your jets on Hansbrough. Hollinger doesn't say much about him (or anything at all, actually), but he shows up at the bottom of the second tier at 24th. Maybe that's not a surprise, but for all of us who have been increasing our opinions of Hansbrough based on his measurements, we might want to readjust opinions to pre-combine levels. The Rater takes into account things like height, weight, and such, so it's not blind to such things. Overall, I guess, he's the player we all thought he was: steady, low-ceiling but high floor. It's just that the ceiling might be lower than we thought.
4. Cool your jets on Mullens. Again, not that surprising. Hollinger points out that the Rater is least reliable with one-and-dones. It's going to be even less reliable with a one-and-done who barely played. Nothing to see here: Mullens didn't do anything in college to impress. We knew that. Hollinger speculates, however, that maybe the middle of the first round is still too high for the risk.
5. Extinguish your jets on Toney Douglas. Chad Ford's most recent mock had Douglas to the Bulls at 26, but the Rater has him at 62nd. Another non-surprise: short shooting guards don't tend to do well in the NBA. Some do, and the Rater looks for those indicators, but apparently Toney don't got 'em.
Before seeing these numbers, I was pretty much ambivalent about the three main reported targets for the 16th pick (Blair, Hansbrough, Mullens). Now, I think I'd rank them Blair, Mullens, Hansbrough. I know I'm putting the riskier guys ahead of the "safe" pick, but there's the risk, too, with Hansbrough: maybe he doesn't produce enough to justify him being in the rotation. The assumption that he's safe depends on thinking he can be at least an 8th or 7th man. I don't think that's a given. Blair, if he can play, will produce, so he gets the nod in my book; you'll roll the dice on how much he plays, but you know you're getting quality when he does. And as for Mullens, I think the upside is just too great. While he might not have the googly-eyed intensity that Hansbrough does, he also doesn't have the couch-potato mentality of a Sweetney. The guy's going to work. With some coaching, I have no doubt he could be at least a rotation guy (like a Mihm on a good day, or a Krstic type guy).
Anybody see anything else significant in the Rater?
(For comparison's sake, here are previous years' Rater results.)