The Length and Success of NBA Careers: Does College Production Predict Professional Outcomes?
This paper uses data on players drafted in 1987 through 1989 covering both their collegiate and their professional careers. This time period is chosen because we wanted recent players whose playing days have ended. Our analysis evaluates the role of college productivity on draft position and the relationship between college career productivity, measured in three different ways, with professional career productivity measured similarly and with the length of the career. At issue is the effectiveness of NBA executives in identifying college players who will be successful in the pros. Our results suggest an interesting puzzle regarding scoring. The NBA literature suggests scoring is paramount for evaluating professional players, while our results suggest college scoring has little to do with draft position and is relatively weakly associated with professional scoring.
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