The College Player of the Year and the NBA Draft
Posted by Andrew McKillop on June 24, 2011
In pro basketball when a team selects the College Player of the Year (CPOY) in the draft, extra attention is brought to that pick. I thought it would be interesting to examine the history of CPOY award winners in the NBA Draft. The analysis includes the NABC, Naismith, Robertson, Rupp, Sporting News (1958-, and Wooden CPOY awards.
Although the Milwaukee Bucks traded Jimmer Fredette after selecting him, it marked the 6th time the Bucks selected a CPOY. Thus the Bucks win the NBA’s version of the Al Davis Award for selecting “trophy players”. The Clippers have selected a CPOY on five occasions.
The Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, and Phoenix Suns have never selected a CPOY in the draft. The Los Angeles Lakers only CPOY draft selection came in the defunct territorial draft (Walt Hazzard).
Success in the college ranks doesn’t always transfer to the pros; however college success does help with a players draft position. Only eleven out of the 62 eligible (territorial picks not counted) CPOY’s have been selected outside the first nine picks in the NBA draft.
- CPOY’s are most commonly selected with the #1 pick (22 times), followed by the #2 pick (10 times).
- On average the CPOY is selected with the 5th overall pick (territorial picks not counted).
- Danny Ainge (1981-2nd round, 31st selection) and Dee Brown (2006-2nd round, 46th selection) are the only former CPOY’s to be selected outside the first round of the draft.
CPOY’s have won 43 NBA titles (29% of CPOY’s have won an NBA title), 20 MVP awards (12% of CPOY’s), and have made 182 All-Star Game appearances (55% of CPOY’s).
It’s interesting to note that four CPOY’s won NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, without being drafted by the Lakers.
Listed below are the players that have won the CPOY and NBA MVP award.
|Player||League MVP||Finals MVP||CPOY||NCAA MOP|
|Kareem Abdul-Jabbar *||1971-72, 74, 76-77, 80||1971, 85||1967-69||1967-69|
|Larry Bird||1984-86||1984, 86||1979||–|
|Michael Jordan||1988, 91-92, 96, 98||1991-93, 96-98||1984||–|
|Tim Duncan||2002-03||1999, 03, 05||1997||–|
* Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went by Lew Alcindor early in his career.
As you can see Abdul-Jabbar and Walton are in an exclusive club, winning NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, CPOY, and NCAA Tournament MOP awards.