So yesterday, Achilles put up a nice post discussing the fact that Ben Ball Warriors tend to exceed expectations on the next level, due in large part to their strong fundamentals. That sounds great! When the optimist and CBH supporter in me processes that information it comes out as follows
"Ben Howland is one of the best coaches in the country at preparing his kids for the NBA."
Of course, if I were to take a step back and think about the "UCLA factor" from the perspective of a talented high school b-ball stud, I might come away with the following notion -
"nobody consistently churns out undervalued prospects like Ben Howland."
To further examine this thought, I decided to look back at the last several drafts and compare where Ben Ballers were drafted to where they should have been drafted, using the 2010-2011 NBA player rankings from CBSsportsline to denote each player's relative value. Not surprisingly, each and every player that Ben Howland sent into the draft was undervalued on draft day, from Russell Westbrook who could have gone one spot higher, to Ryan Hollins who could have gone about 36 spots higher. Of course, this wasn't taking into account the specific needs of teams on draft day, but I'd be willing to bet that the Knicks, knowing what they know now would be willing to take point guards DC or Jrue Holiday over power forward Jordan Hill regardless of their needs at the time.
Here's a breakdown of where CBH's players were drafted and where they probably would go if teams had a shot at that same draft knowing what we know now:
|Player||Draft Year||Draft Position||Redraft Position|
|Mbah a Moute||2008||37||14|
Now, here's that same graph viewed through the eyes of a modern high elite prospect:
|Player||Draft Year||Draft Position||Redraft Position||Actual Annual Salary||Redraft Salary|
|Mbah a Moute||2008||37||14||$782,603||$1,837,520|
While you and I may be thinking, "that's all well and good, but it's the second contract that counts," I have a feeling that most modern prospects are smart enough to consider the financial implications of their college choices but still cocky enough to think that the coaching they recieve is less important to their eventual success than their natural talents. In other words, my guess is that most high school studs are looking for a springboard into a big rookie contract and banking on their ability to prove themselves once they get to the next level. Unfortunately, UCLA under CBH has proven to be a relatively springless springboard.