The Sacramento Kings want your brain for an analytics contest for the NBA draft (and probably not nourishment)

The Sacramento Kings brain trust wants you. (Credit: Ed Szczepanski USA Today Sports 2013)

Fancy yourself an analytics guru? Think you have the best system for determining which players will succeed in making the leap to the NBA — and what pick is best for their selection? In that case, the Sacramento Kings would like to pick your brain, as well as your methodology. 

From now until May 19th, the Kings are accepting submissions for “evaluating the long-term value of potential NBA draftees by position.” (The data set is limited to players who participated in the 2013-14 NCAA college basketball season.) And if they decide they enjoy your model and the insight it provides, you might be able to take part in the actual selection of Sacramento’s next draft pick. From the official rules:

Participants who provide the most insightful and inventive analyses in the opinion of Sponsor will be considered for invitation to be part of a Kings Draft Advisory Council. In addition, up to two individuals or teams will also be considered for an invitation to join Pete D’Alessandro and members of the Sacramento Kings’ basketball operations group in the team’s Draft Room on June 26, 2014. Those who are invited to be a part of the Kings Draft Advisory Council will be contacted by May 31, 2014.

It’s mostly a win-win scenario. For the winner(s), there’s the potential for networking, the establishment of a #brand and actual influence on the decision-making of an NBA team — though there’s no money involved. That a gratis work is in turn a boon for the Kings, who get to couple the power of crowdsourcing with a research and development branch that doesn’t cost them a dime. If nothing comes of this, then they generated good PR (hello, this article) for the cost of the campaign. If they find a model (or modeler) they like, then they gleaned legitimate information and perspective for pennies. Bad news, though, wunderkinds: the contest is open to persons age 19 and older.

So step up to the plate, analytics entrepreneur. The Kings are ready to feast on your knowledge. It sustains them. Or it means nothing to them. Either way!

Andrew Lynch

When God Shammgod created the basketball universe, Andrew Lynch was there. His belief in the superiority of advanced statistics and the eventual triumph of expected value-based analytics stems from the fact that he’s roughly as old as the concept of counting. With that said, he still loves the beauty of basketball played at the highest level — it reminds him of the splendor of the first Olympics — and the stories that spring forth from the games, since he once beat Homer in a game of rock-paper-scissors over a cup of hemlock. Dude’s old.