Which college coach has produced the best NBA talent?
Since the 2000 draft, 17 coaches have had at least five players reach the NBA as first-round draft picks. Without taking into account expectations based on where in the first round a player was chosen, projections based on college statistics, or the situation a drafted player was entering in the NBA, ESPN Stats & Information looks at which coach has produced the best NBA talent.
Although Billy Donovan has produced fewer than half the first-round picks of John Calipari or Roy Williams, Donovan arguably has produced the best NBA talent since the turn of the millennium. Donovan’s eight first-round draft picks have produced an average of 36.3 win shares, best among these 17 coaches. (A win share is an estimate of the number of wins a player produces for his team.)
Four of those eight former Florida players -- Al Horford, David Lee, Joakim Noah and Mike Miller -- have exceeded 50 career win shares. Seven of Donovan’s eight first-round picks are still making an impact in the NBA, including three who played in this year’s NBA Finals: Lee, Miller and Marreese Speights.
The Bill Self Effect
Bill Self has produced 14 first-round picks since 2000, but his players have failed to make a lasting impact in the NBA. Markieff Morris has the most win shares among those 14 draft picks, and none of them has produced more than 15 win shares in his career.
Mario Chalmers, a second-round pick, has been Self’s most successful player in the NBA. Chalmers, a two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, has 27.9 win shares in his career.
Of Self’s last four first-round picks -- Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Ben McLemore and Thomas Robinson -- one has lived up to expectations: Wiggins, who won the rookie of the year award this past season. Embiid might sit out a second season, McLemore ranked 25th among NBA shooting guards in Real Plus-Minus, and Robinson has bounced around four teams in three seasons and might be looking for a fifth team this offseason.
Chad Ford lists Kelly Oubre Jr. as a fringe lottery pick. Will Oubre Jr. break the trend of Self’s mostly underachieving players?
What about John Calipari?
Since taking over as Kentucky’s coach before the 2009-10 season, John Calipari has produced 18 draft picks -- eight more than any other coach during that span -- and 14 have been first-round choices.
His players’ success in the NBA might be more impressive than the volume, with six of the 14 players eclipsing 10 win shares in the five seasons since Calipari became Kentucky’s coach.
No other coach has produced more than three such players during this time frame.
Trust in Krzyzewski
Since the 2000 draft, Mike Krzyzewski has produced 15 first-round picks (third-most among coaches) and seven second-round picks (tied for second-most). The performance and the lasting careers of these second-round draftees make Duke and Krzyzewski stand above other programs and coaches.
Led by Carlos Boozer, the seven second-rounders under the tutelage of Krzyzewski have averaged 19.3 win shares, more than four times the average of 4.8 win shares that second-round picks deliver in their careers. Josh McRoberts, Kyle Singler and Ryan Kelly have carved out solid careers after being second-round choices. That is especially impressive considering that 31 percent of all second-rounders drafted since 2000 have not played one minute in the NBA.
Will Quinn Cook (ranked 57th in Chad Ford’s Big Board) benefit from the Blue Devils’ reputation and latch on as a second-round pick Thursday?