The following is some additional background to the Dodds on Sports story that ran on the initial Value Add Basketball rankings of the 2018-2019 season.
Duke has had more seasons (4) with more than two players in the top 1% than all other schools combined going back to the 2001-2002 season in the database. The only other schools were Illinois, Villanova, and Baylor - who was unluckiest of all teams since their 2010 team with three players in the top 1% lost to Duke’s 2010 team with the same. Duke also had three players in the top 1% in 2002 and 2004, and their 2015 team that beat Kentucky is the only team in history to have four players in the top 1%.
On average, just three teams a season have two players in the top 1%. While Travis Diener and Dwyane Wade were clearly the top MU duo of the century, the actually never did in the same season and Diener did not crack the top 1% until 2004 and 2005, the two years after Wade. Both players nearly missed being rated by Value Add as the top player in the nation their final season. In addition to Wade’s 2003 Final Four season, Diener was actually the most valuable player in the country for the 23 games he played - rating ahead of Andrew Bogut, JJ Redick and Chris Paul - with a rating of almost 13.0 Points Above Replacement or Value Add. However, Value Add awards a player a 0.0 value every time his team plays without him, so that weighted him down to a 9.74 for the season, still the 11th best total player but slightly off his junior mark that placed him 7th.
As for the time the Chicago Bulls called, it was Matt Lloyd, who was called the “Bulls eye for talent” in this media story, who called. Lloyd was not surprised I ranked Lazar Hayward in the top 1% his senior year, but was stunned Jimmy Butler ranked as the 5th most valuable player in the country when he averaged just 14.7 points per game. Another time I met him at the Bradley Center because a guy was visiting who Value Add said could be a bench player in the NBA - Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn, who nearly stunned Marquette that night, and did stun Missouri in March Madness as a 15-seed later in the year, and Lloyd moved onto the Orlando Magic and picked him up as well.
It is early in the season, and there is no guarantee where the Hauser brothers and Howard will finish playing on a team with the kind of balance that has been missing for several years (as-in, no one is pushing our bigs around any more and if you want to guard the three-pointer Sacar Anim might just take you to the rim every time. However, sometimes the Value Add calibrations point to potential history to be made, and a duo that ranks even with Butler and Hayward and behind only Wade and Diener, and with a little brother that ranks in the top few freshmen of the century certainly holds out hope.