The Thunder Almost Drafted Brook Lopez Over Russell Westbrook

In a fascinating conversation with Grantland’s Zach Lowe, Ben Alamar, former director of analytics of the Oklahoma City Thunder and author of Sports Analytics, Alamar discusses the team’s analytic practices, specifically how they related to drafting Russell Westbrook in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Alamar says he was in favor of drafting Westbrook over Lopez, and though he admits he overstated his position beyond what the data should have allowed, he made the right decision. The Thunder took Westbrook 4th overall, and Lopez ended up sliding to the Nets at 10th.

Some really cool nuggets in here, both about how the Thunder broke down draft prospects analytically. Take it in below: