The PG class of 2012 looks like it could be the worst group since 1992, an otherwise strong draft that included Lee Mayberry and Brent Price as the top two floor generals. I can’t say whether or not 2012 will beat that draft for PG futility. There are some interesting prospects, but none who stand out as sure things.
The most interesting thing about this group of PGs is there are three prospects who put up very high assist rates, as measured by A40 (assists per 40 minutes). I’m going to look at those 3 players and their chances of NBA success. They are Kendall Marshall of North Carolina, Scott Machado of Iona and Jesse Sanders of Liberty.
There have been several college PGs who posted 9+ A40 over the years. The majority of them were never drafted. While it isn’t the most important thing for a PG prospect to do, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Since it would be way too cumbersome to compare every last college PG who finished with an A40 over 9.0, I put up a sampling of all-stars, journeymen and busts for a look at how their numbers compare to those of Marshall, Machado and Sanders.
Player 2PP 3PP P40 A40 S40 RSB40
Jason Kidd .545 .362 19.0 10.3 3.6 11.8
Rod Strickland .541 .444 24.9 9.7 3.6 8.5
Eric Snow .547 .292 13.2 9.5 2.3 6.5
Sherman Douglas .594 .368 20.6 9.7 2.1 4.8
Rafer Alston .513 .337 13.9 9.1 2.7 5.8
Brevin Knight .407 .409 20.4 9.8 3.5 8.3
JJ Barea .485 .291 25.1 10.0 1.5 6.8
Moochie Norris .483 .424 24.5 9.3 3.1 9.1
Jacque Vaughn .493 .345 11.5 9.1 1.2 5.8
Bobby Hurley .421 .421 19.2 9.2 1.7 4.7
TJ Ford .429 .265 17.8 9.2 2.4 7.2
Mateen Cleaves .472 .292 15.0 9.3 2.3 4.5
Jared Jordan .511 .298 18.1 9.2 1.4 7.7
Omar Cook .424 .309 16.1 9.1 2.4 5.8
Chris Herren .435 .383 16.6 10.6 1.5 3.9
Kendall Marshall .527 .354 9.2 11.0 1.4 4.5
Scott Machado .537 .404 15.0 11.0 1.8 7.5
Jesse Sanders .514 .356 14.2 9.1 1.4 10.4
1. Denver Nuggets: When you look back at the past decade of Denver Nuggets history, yet another first round loss might seem like stagnation. The Nuggets have made the playoffs each of the last nine seasons but made it past the first round only once (2008-09 when they lost to the Lakers in the Conference Finals). But there is progress. Really! Trading Carmelo Anthony and Nene has gotten Dener some nice young players (Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Javale McGee and some other parts) and has reset the clock on Denver. Throw in a great draft pick in Kenneth Faried and Denver is still oozing young talent.
The cap situation is fairly stable too with Gallinari locked in at a good price and Faried and Ty Lawson still on rookie contracts. This will allow the Nuggets to re-sign McGee, who is a question mark but is young enough that to have a tom of upside and it young enough that he won’t be immovable if he doesn’t develop. The other decision will come with Andre Miller, who has aged really well and was a big part of the team. Given his age and willingness to stay in Denver, Miller should be back on a cheapish contract. None of this makes Denver a title contender but they are now in place to convert some of depth for a star if one becomes available by trade. If not, they still have a 48-50 win team.
2. Dallas Mavericks: It wasn’t the weakest title defense we’ve seen but this wasn’t too impressive. Dallas floundered early and was ultimately swept by a young Thunder team. The popular wisdom is that Dallas punted on the title defense because they didn’t want to overpay for Tyson Chandler, who has had some injury issues in the past. Rather, Dallas planned to get by with patchwork short-term signings and then go for Dwight Howard and Deron Williams in the summer. The plan looks worse in retrospect than it was at the time. Chandler was a great defensive presence but a repeat seemed unlikely. In fact, the Mavs’ defensive efficiency was totally unchanged from 2010-11 (the Mavs were 8th both years). Rather, the fall off came on offense when the efficiency plummeted from 8th at 109.7 in 2010-11 to 22nd at 103.3 this year. How did this happen? Let’s take a look the per/36 minute stats of the major players from each season:
-PG, Jason Kidd: 8.5 pts, .361 FG%, .340 3-FG%, 4.8 rebs, 8.9 asts, 14.4 PER
-SG, Jason Terry: 18.2 pts, .451 FG%, .362 3-FG%, 2.1 rebs, 4.7 asts, 15.9 PER
-SF, Shawn Marion: 16.0 pts, .520 FG%, .152 3-FG%, 8.8 rebs, 1.8 asts, 17.0 PER
-PF, Dirk Nowitzki: 24.2 pts, .517%, .393 3-FG%, 7.4 rebs, 2.7 asts, 23.4 PER
-C, Tyson Chandler: 13.1 pts, .654 FG%, 12.1 rebs, 0.6 asts, 18.4 PER
-G, JJ Barea: 16.6 pts, .439 FG%, .349 3-FG%, 3.4 rebs, 6.8 asts, 14.8 PER
-C: Brendan Haywood: 8.7 pts, .574 FG%, 10.2 rebs, 0.5 asts, 11.7 PER
-G: DeShawn Stevenson: 11.9 pts, .388 FG%, .378 3-FG%, 3.3 rebs, 2.4 asts, 9.8 PER
-PG, Jason Kidd: 7.8 pts, .363 FG%, .354 3-FG%, 5.2 rebs, 6.9 asts, 13.1 PER
-SG, Jason Terry: 17.1 pts, .430 FG%, .378 3-FG%, 2.4 rebs, 4.1 asts, 15.7 PER
-SF, Shawn Marion: 12.6 pts, .446 FG%, .294 3-FG%, 8.7 rebs, 2.4 asts, 15.0 PER
-PF, Dirk Nowitzki: 23.2 pts, .457 FG%, .368 3-FG%, 7.3 rebs, 2.4 asts, 21.7 PER
-C, Brendan Haywood: 8.8 pts, .518 FG%, 10.2 rebs, 0.6 asts, 12.9 PER
-G, Vince Carter: 14.4, .411 FG%, .361 3-FG%, 4.8 rebs, 3.2 asts, 13.6 PER
-G, Rodrigue Beaubois: 14.8 pts, .422 FG%, .288 3-FG%, 4.7 rebs, 4.8 asts, 15.3 PER Continue reading First Round Fall Out (Western Conference)…
Andre Drummond is considered the top center available in the 2012 draft. He was highly-touted coming in as a freshman this past season, but struggled to get things going and did not live up to expectations. He wasn’t terrible, but was hardly the dominant force some were expecting.
For a look at how Drummond compares to other players at a similar time in their careers, here are NCAA freshmen centers who played at least 500 minutes who posted a R40 of at least 10.0 and B40 of at least 3.5, as Drummond did.
Player 2PP P40 R40 B40
Patrick Ewing .631 17.6 10.5 4.5
Alonzo Mourning .609 18.6 10.3 7.0
Hakeem Olajuwan .607 18.2 13.5 5.4
Erick Dampier .588 20.3 14.8 3.8
Shaquille O’Neal .573 19.8 17.1 5.1
Michael Southall .557 17.9 10.6 4.3
Benoit Benjamin .555 18.4 11.9 4.2
Yinka Dare .551 17.6 14.8 4.0
Tim Duncan .543 13.0 12.7 5.0
Chris Mihm .527 20.0 12.9 4.7
Shawn Bradley .517 20.5 10.7 7.2
Samuel Dalembert .503 11.1 11.1 6.7
Marcus Camby .502 18.7 11.7 6.6
Jamaal Magliore .490 12.5 11.3 5.1
Eric Chenowith .456 13.9 11.5 3.7
Andre Drummond .541 14.2 10.7 3.8
I listed the players in order of 2-point shooting percentage and the HOFers in bold. This stat more than any other seems to set the HOFers apart. Whether it’s the HOFers, solid players or busts, Drummond does not match up well with this group. His numbers aren’t terrible, but he’s on the low end in both rebounds and blocks. Considering his offensive game is so raw, this makes him quite a risk as a prospect. I can’t even say that if his offense never develops, at least he’ll be a decent rebounding/defense/energy player.
In Drummond’s defense is the fact that Connecticut could not have been an easy place for a talented, but raw freshman to develop in 2012. The legendary coach missed a lot of time due to suspension and health problems. The team was in trouble with the NCAA and underachieved after having been ranked in the top 10 in preseason polls. I can’t say that the situation affected Drummond’s stats, but I doubt it helped. This and the fact that Drummond actually did show some slight improvement during the year should boost his stock a smidge.
Another factor that has to be considered in drafting Drummond is that big guys who were high picks often maintain some trade value for years into their careers whether they’re actually valuable or not. Teams are much more likely to give a 2nd or 3rd chance to a big guy who had been highly rated coming into the draft. Looking at top 2 picks in the past decade alone:
• Hasheem Thabeet struggled in Memphis, but was dealt for Shane Battier, who helped the Grizzlies to the conference finals last year.
• Darko Milicic might have been the biggest bust ever, considering the players still on the board when he was drafted, but he held enough value that Detroit was able to get the draft pick that became Rodney Stuckey in exchange for him.
• Kwame Brown was traded for Caron Butler after disappointing as the top overall pick.
There were other pieces in each trade, but the fact remains that there’s always going to be a market for players who offer both size and potential. Even if Drummond shows little in his first 2-3 years, the team that drafts him will likely be able to cash him in for something. This has to be considered when weighing a Drummond against the likes of Beal or Kidd-Gilchrist for the #2 pick.
In Drummond we have a talented, young big guy with some potential. While his numbers say he’ll be nothing more than a decent backup at the high end, there are some extenuating circumstances that could have hurt his development and his numbers. He remains a longshot for NBA success. While he certainly was in a tough situation at UConn and did show some improvement as the year went on, there is still nothing in his numbers that stood out as dominant. I see Drummond as a huge risk at #2
While the playoffs rage on, it is still a fine time to stop for a minute and consider those who have already been knocked out. So we begin our annual Fall Out series, in which we assess the departed and their future prospects. The losers have been gone for at least a week and this gives us a little more perspective and avoids quickly pronouncing failure and success. Today, we look at the Eastern Conference:
1. Chicago Bulls: Losing in the first round as one seed really hurts. In the case of Chicago, the hurt is slightly different than those of past one seeds to be knocked out. There was no shocking upset here but rather a loss off Derrick Rose, which made an upset much more likely. One could imagine that the loss still was a bit surprising because even without Rose the Bulls were a very good team this year. Even so, the Bulls were going win a title without Rose. Instead, the Bulls are left with losing a shot at a title and spending next season without their best player, as well as a possibility that Rose won’t be the same player when he comes back. In short, the whole situation sucks. Going forward, the Bulls will probably be in the playoffs in 2012-13 but the gaping hole at the point will prevent any meaningful contention.
At the moment, the team is pretty much locked into the roster it has. Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng have contracts for at least three more seasons, all at pretty big money. While all three could be traded, only Noah has both the youth and reasonable salary to command actual good value in return. Noah my actually be worth trading too since his strengths (defense/rebounding) can possibly be replaced by Taj Gibson on the cheap. Noah, in turn, could fetch a scoring guard that the team needed before Rose got hurt and even more so. We aren’t saying Noah should definitely be traded for a shooting guard but he is the prime candidate if the right opportunity presents itself.
As for Boozer, he is destined to be considered another Bulls big ticket free agent bust a la Ron Mercer and Ben Wallace. But Boozer is nowhere near so disappointing a bust. His raw numbers look down because he played his fewest minutes per game since his rookie year (29.5). In reality, he improved upon his 2010-11 numbers and his PER shows him as an asset at 19.7. Yes, Boozer has his downsides: he won’t ever reach his career highs of five years ago and his lack of defense is notable on the Bulls and, at 30, he isn’t going to be getting any better. Nor is any team going to assume the three years and $46 million without sending back a bad contract. The only way to clear Boozer from the cap is to amnesty him and the production right now justifies his roster spot.
Chicago should hover at the 45-win mark next year but all eyes will be on Rose’s return. That is a bit of limbo for fans but it is more hope than most NBA teams have.
2. New York Knicks: Weird season for the Knicks. It was several seasons in one really. We won’t recap the rollercoaster events but, at the end of the day, the Knicks are Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin and some role players. The first test of the off-season will be to see whether the NBPA’s challenge of the restricted free agency rules for waiver wire picks ups (Lin and Steve Novak) will be left intact. If so, the Knicks can basically offer Lin and Novak more cash than anyone else. If not, both players will hit the open market and the Knicks could be outbid by teams with cap room. The reports indicate that the NBPA challenge is a longshot because the CBA did not specifically provide for unrestricted free agency for such players. Hopefully, these sources are correct because the Knicks will be totally screwed if they lose Lin, the only above-average NBA point on the roster.
Assuming Lin does return, the other issue is that Knicks are locked into a roster that is not a title contender. Carmelo should be the same really good scoring forward for the next three years but Amare is a problem. His numbers were down markedly this season and he looked a lot less athletic. A look at Amare’s similarity scores at Basketball-Reference show a few players that fell off to a lower level for a variety of reasons (Elton Brand, Marques Johnson, Grant Hill). Hopefully, Amare’s explosiveness returns but it’s safe to say that most GMs would greatly prefer having Booze and his contract going forward than Stoudemire and his contract.
At best, we are looking at the Knicks staying on the 45-win treadmill next year unless they keep Lin and Lin turns into Steve Nash and Amare gets back some of his mojo. This won’t be a boring team. The team they have is entertaining and far preferable to the crap that had been at MSG the last decade but the realistic ceiling is low. Continue reading First Round Fall Out (Eastern Conference)…
I’m starting my 2012 draft analysis with a look at the players who are considered potential 2nd overall picks. Today it’s Florida SG Bradley Beal. Using the 2nd overall pick on a SG has been very rare. We’d have to go back to the 70s when David Thompson (1st overall ’75), Otis Birdsong (2nd overall ’77) and Darrell Griffith (2nd overall ’80) went in the top 2. Since then #3 is as high as any SG has been drafted. While the group drafted at #3 includes the greatest player ever, Michael Jordan in ’84, there have been more reaches and outright busts taken at #3. This group includes Dennis Hopson ’87, Jerry Stackhouse ’95, Ben Gordon ’04, OJ Mayo ’08 and James Harden ’09. What this says is drafting a SG in the top 3 is a risky proposition.
Statistically, Beal measures up OK as a prospect. He has the high RSB40 (combined rebounds, steals and blocks per 40 minutes) and 2PP (2-point field goal percentage), but he didn’t score as frequently as good SG prospects should. The statistic that stands out as a red flag for Beal is his low, 17.4, P40 (points per 40 minutes). Historically it has been important for SG prospects to be at 20.0 and preferably higher. A scorer’s mentality is vital for any NBA SG and it isn’t clear whether or not Beal has this yet. What Beal has going for him is he’s still very young. Freshmen get some leeway on hitting all the benchmarks. In the case of Beal, he joined a college backcourt that already featured a couple of mad bombers in Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker. It is likely Beal found FG attempts difficult to come by as a freshman.
There have been freshmen who overcame low-scoring starts, upped their P40 in subsequent years and became solid NBA SGs. The tables below compare Beal with similar players. Those being SGs who scored less than 18.0 P40 as college freshmen, but also posted a high RSB40. The first group is players who were drafted and went on to have a successful NBA career. The second group is players who were drafted in the first or early 2nd round, but didn’t live up to expectations. In all cases these numbers are from the player’s freshman season.
Successes 2PP 3PP P40 S40 RSB40
D. Christie .600 .255 14.6 2.6 11.2
R. Harper .497* n/a 16.2 2.8 12.9
H. Hawkins .581* n/a 15.7 1.9 9.0
F. Hoiberg .641 .260 15.8 2.5 9.7
Ed. Jones .517 .351 17.4 3.0 10.2
A. McKie .521 .321 15.4 2.5 9.3
J. Richardson .546 .296 13.0 1.4 12.3
L. Sprewell .541 .339 17.4 1.6 10.6
B. Beal .541 .339 17.4 1.6 10.6
Just a quick note, Hoiberg might be a reach as a “success”. I included him, because he was a 2nd round draft pick who played close to 10,000 minutes in his career and was very productive when he played.
Busts 2PP 3PP P40 S40 RSB40
S. Burrell .415 .313 12.7 2.9 12.9
D. Boyce .462 .278 17.8 2.9 9.7
J. Grayer .529* n/a 14.4 1.2 9.3
D. Hopson .474* n/a 11.5 1.6 9.1
S. Jacobson .517 .321 16.2 1.4 11.7
R. Minor .526 .233 14.0 1.9 9.5
B. Rush .474 .472 17.0 1.1 9.4
J. Sasser .448 .262 18.0 1.8 12.3
J. Trepagnier .452 .200 15.3 2.4 12.2
B. Beal .541 .339 17.4 1.6 10.6
The 2PP numbers for Harper, Hawkins, Grayer and Hopson are simple FG pct. The breakdown of 2- and 3-point percentages weren’t available. What stands out here are two things. The successful group of players had a higher 2-point percentage and more steals as a group. The 2PP being well over .500 seems almost essential for successful prospects. Beal is there at .541. His steals are low, at 1.6, but not low enough that I would even call it a red flag.
The two players Beal most resembles in this group are Sprewell and Richardson. A similar career to either of these players would represent Beal’s best case scenario. Both players were considered among the 5-10 SGs in the league during their prime. Both were at best the #3 player on a contender. That’s not a bad thing and I feel this is probably the best guess at where Beal will be in 10 years.
Whether or not this is a player worthy of the #2 pick is another matter. The second overall pick comes with a high price tag. He’ll probably cost something in the neighborhood of $17 mil for the first 4 seasons. Considering there will be at least a couple of developmental years involved with Beal that seems like a high price to pay just to develop the next Latrell Sprewell.