Michael A. Zilis

Associate Professor, University of Kentucky

AMERICAN POLITICS | Law & Courts | Political Behavior

The Value of Drafting Youth

Performance of young players relative to draft position

Outside Interests

Draft Pick Values (WS), 2000-2012


Inefficiencies in the NBA Draft

In my spare time, I enjoy combining my interests in sports with my analytic skills to study, for instance, decision making in the National Basketball Association.  An example project, exploring the biases that may hamper teams' ability to make the optimal draft selections, is discussed below.  

The Questions

Do teams display biases when drafting?  How can a successful organization exploit these biases to make the most effective draft decisions?

The Theory

In a perfect world, the only predictor of success in the NBA would be a player's draft position.

The Data

The effectiveness, measured by Win Shares, of all players drafted into the NBA since 2000 (over 700 players total)


The Findings

NBA teams display a systematic bias by overvaluing certain player attributes that do not correlate to success. Teams are consistently drafting certain types of players higher than their eventual performance would dictate.