2021 Draft Theory: Introduction

This year’s draft series is going to be a little different than in the past for one simple reason: I am not ranking the prospects this year. If you are the type of draftnik who is only interested in lists of players, this is not the draft series for you. 

I have now been doing draft projection since 2014 and my draft series articles since 2015. They continue to build on each other, and so throughout this year’s, there will be many links to previous articles. It is good to read these articles (or re-read, if you have been following my work), as I try not to simply repeat things I have previously written, yet they often remain just as important as they were when written. Sometimes they link to other articles. Everything is linked for a reason.

I’d like to highlight some of those older articles specifically that I will not be covering elsewhere in this draft series but which are still as important now as when they were written:

The Four Horseman of the Argument-pocalypse (2016)

The first article I ever wrote on my own website, this article is as true and relevant as the day it was written. If you find yourself making any of these arguments, consider this a renewed plea to stop and reconsider and to participate in more productive, relevant, and useful discussion.

It’s All About the Game, And How You Play It (2016)

The draft is not just about finding the most talent, but maximizing the value of draft picks. The value of a draft pick goes far beyond merely the talent of the player drafted when they hit their prime. I believe every concept in this article has been expanded on by future articles I’ve written, which is a good indicator of how relevant I consider everything in here to be.

Reference Series: Defense (2017)

Much of the offense that is romanticized today was only efficient in a long-gone era. If you are not aware just how much both offense and defense changed as a result of the massive rule changes made at the turn of the millennium, make sure to read this. This one could probably use an update regarding how offensive and defensive schemes have continued to evolve, but the general principles generally remain the same.

Draft Theory: On Age, Development, and Value (2019)

Expanding on Reference Series: Age (2017), it’s always good to remember that age is a massive factor in projection and readiness and is a much more consistent indicator than college year. It’s equally good to remember that drafting teenagers outside the top 5 almost always fails because even if they turn into the player you think they will turn into, they almost never generate value for the team that drafts them. Why do NBA teams keep doing it? I honestly have no idea.

Draft Theory: Leftover Food for Thought (2019)

This is a hodgepodge of ideas that did not merit a full article. Just a lot of really good, useful, important stuff in here. One of the quick hits in this article will be getting expanded into a full article in this series.

2020 NBA Draft: The Samepocalypse Has Arrived (2020)

A primer on where the NBA was a decade ago compared to today. 3PA and 3PAr both rose again from last season to this season. Two of the articles later in this series are direct follow-ups to this one, looking at how games played out this year and digging deeper into just what this means for players going forward.

And with those highlights out of the way, let’s take a look at some new and updated concepts as we head into the 2021 Draft!