Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Get Ready for the NBA Draft with a Post-Lottery History Viz

One of the great things about data and software like Tableau is the ability to answer a lot of questions at once. A couple of weeks ago I was wondering which college basketball programs produced the most "one and done" players- those leaving after their freshman season for the NBA. What surprised me was that a quick jaunt to basketball-reference.com did not answer my question. I was able to find the data at Draft Express but I had to look year by year. As a data geek, I instantly thought: I'll create a viz in Tableau and share it with others. As I built the viz I decided to mash the rich stats and profiles available at basketball-reference with the draft history available at Draft Express and The Draft Review to create a deep history of the NBA Draft in the lottery era (since 1985).

In this viz, you can look at the top players by various metrics (points, rebounds, win shares, etc) and filter by school, country, or class when they entered the draft (high school, freshman, etc). Who was the highest scoring 2nd round pick of the lottery era?(Cliff Robinson- over 19,500 points!)
What school has had the most seniors drafted in the last ten years?  (Duke- 8 total, 5 in the first round)
Who was the best player drafted out of Louisville?  Pervis Ellison?! (As a Kentucky fan that absolutely cracks me up).

You can also check the draft history for every NBA team. Since some players are traded on draft night I used the acquiring team for this view. This view can show why some teams stay strong- the Spurs drafting Tony Parker late in the first round- and why others continue to struggle- Peja Stokavic being the best draft pick of the Kings.

For the player dashboard page, I used the "jitter plot" style featured on Data Revelations recently to separate the players spatially. Check out the viz below or see it in action here.


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