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North Carolina Tarheels and UCLA Bruins Produced Most Wins in Modern NBA Era

Reservoir GodCorrespondent IIOctober 9, 2016

North Carolina Tarheels and UCLA Bruins Produced Most Wins in Modern NBA Era

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    NBA players from the University of North Carolina and University of California, Los Angeles produced over 200 more wins than players from any other college since 1978.

    The NBA drafted players from 346 different institutions of higher learning from 1978 to 2010. Let's review the top 10 schools in wins produced. See this spreadsheet for the full list.

Which Colleges Produced the Most Wins in the NBA: The Ranking Process

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    This article will use Wins Produced, a statistical model created by sports economist David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal, to measure how much a player's box score statistics contributed to his team's efficiency differential and wins. The stats used in this article are powered by NerdNumbers. More information on Wins Produced can be found at the following links:

    What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say
    Calculating Wins Produced
    Frequently Asked Questions


1. University of North Carolina

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    Fifty-four UNC Tarheels produced 1,285.8 wins in the NBA.

    Most productive alum: Michael Jordan with 284.2 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Joe Wolf with -17.7 wins produced

    Jordan was more than twice as productive as the second-best Tar Heel, but nine other UNC alumni produced more than 50 wins in the NBA:

    • Vince Carter, 105.7 wins produced
    • Antawn Jamison, 83.5 wins produced
    • Brad Daugherty, 81.3 wins produced
    • James Worthy, 73.6 wins produced
    • Rasheed Wallace, 70.0 wins produced
    • Sam Perkins, 69.8 wins produced
    • Bobby Jones, 68.2 wins produced
    • Walter Davis, 61.7 wins produced
    • George Lynch, 58.5 wins produced

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of UNC alumni in the modern NBA era.

2. University of California, Los Angeles

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    Sixty-five Bruins produced 1,052.5 wins in the NBA.

    Most productive alum: Reggie Miller with 161.3 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Ryan Hollins with -7.4 wins produced

    The stats required to calculate wins produced only go back to 1978. The first eight seasons for the career of UCLA’s best alum in the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, were not included in this analysis. That’s why Kareem is not the most productive UCLA alum since 1978. See this spreadsheet for the full list of UCLA alumni.

3. Duke University

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    Thirty-eight Blue Devils produced 826.5 wins in the modern NBA era.

    Most productive alum: Grant Hill with 137.9 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Bobby Hurley with -5.2 wins produced

    Six other Duke players produced more than 50 wins in the NBA since 1978:

    • Elton Brand, 113.7 wins produced
    • Carlos Boozer, 96.9 wins produced
    • Shane Battier, 69.4 wins produced
    • Mike Gminski, 66.4 wins produced
    • Christian Laettner, 61.6 wins produced
    • Luol Deng, 59.2 wins produced

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of Duke alumni in the modern NBA era.

4. Michigan State University

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    Twenty-six Spartans produced 759.5 wins in the NBA.

    Most productive alum: Magic Johnson with 303.2 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Mateen Cleaves with -3.0 wins produced

    Magic was three times better than the next best Spartan, but five other alumni managed to produce more than 50 wins in the NBA:

    • Kevin Willis, 98.2 wins produced
    • Steve Smith, 64.3 wins produced
    • Zach Randolph, 62.3 wins produced
    • Jason Richardson, 61.4 wins produced
    • Eric Snow, 51.1 wins produced

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of Michigan State alumni in the modern NBA era.

5. University of Houston

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    Twenty-one Cougars produced 724.6 wins in the modern NBA era.

    Most productive alum: Hakeem Olajuwon with 262.6 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Andre Owens with -0.7 wins produced

    The University of Houston is the only school in the top 10 with two alumni that produced more than 200 wins in their careers - Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler (222.9 wins produced). The next closest school is Georgetown with Dikembe Mutombo (221.3 wins produced) and Patrick Ewing (172.2 wins produced). With that much talent, it took Georgetown, Jordan and a miracle to keep the Cougars from winning a national title.

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of Houston alumni in the modern NBA era.

6. Georgetown University

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    Twenty-five Hoyas produced 721.6 wins in the modern NBA era.

    Most productive alum: Dikembe Mutombo with 221.3 wins produced

    Least productive alum: John Duren with -5.5 wins produced

    Georgetown is one of only two schools in the top 10 with three players that produced more than 100 wins in the modern NBA era: Mutombo, Patrick Ewing (172.2 wins produced) and Alonzo Mourning (102.2 wins produced).

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of Georgetown alumni in the modern NBA era.

7. University of Arizona

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    Thirty-nine Wildcats produced 570 wins in the modern NBA era.

    Most productive alum: Andre Iguodala with 91.7 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Larry Demic with -3.4 wins produced

    Arizona is the only school in the top 10 without a player that produced more than 100 wins. See this spreadsheet for the full list of Arizona alumni in the modern NBA era.

8. Clemson University

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    Thirteen Tigers produced 568.8 wins in the modern NBA era.

    Most productive alum: Larry Nance with 155.6 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Sharone Wright with -5.4 wins produced

    Clemson powered its way into the top 10 with three power forwards that produced more than 100 wins each: Larry NanceHorace Grant (142 wins produced) and Dale Davis (120.8 wins produced).

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of Clemson alumni in the modern NBA era.

9. University of Nevada-Las Vegas

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    Twenty-nine Runnin' Rebels produced 561.6 wins in the modern NBA era.

    Most productive alum: Shawn Marion with 184.4 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Elmore Spencer with -5.1 wins produced

    Larry Johnson is probably the most popular Runnin' Rebel, but injuries limited him to being the second-most productive player from UNLV with 66.6 wins produced which was just ahead of the recently deceased Armen Gilliam with 64.7 wins produced. 

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of UNLV alumni in the modern NBA era.

10. Wake Forest University

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    Twenty Demon Deacons produced 547.1 wins in the modern NBA era.

    Most productive alum: Tim Duncan with 251.8 wins produced

    Least productive alum: Darius Songaila with -4.9 wins produced

    Duncan and Chris Paul combined to produce 368.2 wins (fifth highest of any duo in the top 10) to land Wake Forest among the top 10 schools.

    See this spreadsheet for the full list of Wake Forest alumni in the modern NBA era.

Kansas, Kentucky and Final Thoughts

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    Traditional basketball powerhouses Kentucky and Kansas placed the third and fourth-highest number of players in the NBA after UCLA and UNC, but only rank 15th and 18th in wins produced. Of course, if Kansas alum Wilt Chamberlain's stats could be included, the Jayhawks might be ranked higher.

    No Kentucky Wildcat produced more than 100 wins in the modern NBA era. Rajon Rondo is the all-time leader with 65 wins produced.

    Paul Pierce is the all-time leader in wins produced by Kansas Jayhawks with 157.9 wins produced but no other alum produced more than 50 wins.

    Now that we know which colleges produced the most wins, the next question is whether the NBA overpaid for the college education of those players. That issue will be addressed in a future article.

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