Predictive Validity of National Basketball Association Draft Combine on Future Performance

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Abstract

Teramoto, M, Cross, CL, Rieger, RH, Maak, TG, and Willick, SE. Predictive validity of national basketball association draft combine on future performance. J Strength Cond Res 32(2): 396–408, 2018—The National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft Combine is an annual event where prospective players are evaluated in terms of their athletic abilities and basketball skills. Data collected at the Combine should help NBA teams select right the players for the upcoming NBA draft; however, its value for predicting future performance of players has not been examined. This study investigated predictive validity of the NBA Draft Combine on future performance of basketball players. We performed a principal component analysis (PCA) on the 2010–2015 Combine data to reduce correlated variables (N = 234), a correlation analysis on the Combine data and future on-court performance to examine relationships (maximum pairwise N = 217), and a robust principal component regression (PCR) analysis to predict first-year and 3-year on-court performance from the Combine measures (N = 148 and 127, respectively). Three components were identified within the Combine data through PCA (= Combine subscales): length-size, power-quickness, and upper-body strength. As per the correlation analysis, the individual Combine items for anthropometrics, including height without shoes, standing reach, weight, wingspan, and hand length, as well as the Combine subscale of length-size, had positive, medium-to-large–sized correlations (r = 0.313–0.545) with defensive performance quantified by Defensive Box Plus/Minus. The robust PCR analysis showed that the Combine subscale of length-size was a predictor most significantly associated with future on-court performance (p ≤ 0.05), including Win Shares, Box Plus/Minus, and Value Over Replacement Player, followed by upper-body strength. In conclusion, the NBA Draft Combine has value for predicting future performance of players.

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