NBA Draft 2010: Power Forwards

I like analyzing the PFs. They’re a fairly easy bunch to look at. Basically they need to meet the following benchmarks:

  • Hit .580 on 2-point shots and score 20.0 P40. In both cases, the higher the better. The best have typically been over .600 and pushed 25.0 P40 as they got older. For freshmen some leeway is given.
  • At least 10.0 R40, preferably higher. The best have been at least 12.0. Again the higher the better here.
  • Combined 3.5 steals and blocks per 40 minutes, or SB40. Blocks are more important, but if combining blocks and steals is what it takes to get a player to 3.5, that has been good enough. Players who fall way below this level need to develop an outside shot to stick.
  • An A/TO that is at least 0.3. This one doesn’t need to be great, just not disastrous.

The 2010 group is pretty intriguing. Favors stands above the crowd and Davis looks like a solid pro. After that there just isn’t much, unless you want to count an impressive group of combo forwards or some of the smaller centers as PFs. Adding them makes the group a pretty impressive bunch. This is just the pure PFs. Here are the numbers:

Player

2 pt pct

P40

R40

SB40

A/TO

Derrick Caracter

.585

20.7

11.9

2.7

0.6

Dwayne Collins

.604

19.4

12.6

2.7

0.4

Bryan Davis

.482

14.2

12.4

4.6

0.7

Ed Davis

.578

18.0

12.8

3.7

0.5

Tony Easley

.648

18.1

10.6

6.0

0.6

Derrick Favors

.613

17.6

11.9

4.2

0.4

Gani Lawal

.531

19.7

12.7

2.7

0.2

Jarvis Vanardo

.582

17.6

13.1

6.0

0.5

Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech: An impressive young player. Favors handles all the important PF tasks very well. His numbers don’t exactly blow you away, but he’s very solid. Look at the PFs who had freshman seasons with numbers over .575 2-pt pct, 11.0 R40 and 4.0 SB40:

Player

2 pt pct

P40

R40

B40

A/TO

Chris Webber

.601

19.5

12.5

5.1

0.8

Rasheed Wallace

.607

18.2

12.7

4.8

0.4

Elton Brand

.592

22.8

12.5

4.8

0.3

Chris Bosh

.576

20.3

11.6

4.0

0.8

Christian Laettner

.722

21.0

11.2

4.2

0.8

Waymon Tisdale

.580

28.5

12.0

4.0

0.3

Tyrus Thomas

.606

19.1

14.2

6.4

0.7

Brian Skinner

.598

18.8

11.9

6.7

0.2

Byron Houston

.583

18.6

11.9

4.2

0.4

Derrick Favors

.613

17.6

11.9

4.2

0.4

This is a pretty strong list. The top 4 will be on any short list of the best PFs of this generation. Laettner and Tisdale didn’t live up to their clippings, but still had solid careers. Skinner was a useful reserve for several years, Houston is 6’4” and Thomas is an angry young man who doesn’t take coaching well. Favors has put up numbers that place him with the best and has displayed none of the height or attitude problems that held back Houston and Thomas. His P40 is a little on the low side, but for a freshman I’d rather that be low than the shooting percentage.

Something I’ve mentioned occasionally during the season with Favors is the possibility that his teammates may have had a negative affect on his numbers. This one is always a tough call, because it is more subjective than anything. Georgia Tech is a team that featured a veteran in Gani Lawal who played the same position as Favors and is considered a prospect himself. For Favors this meant sharing the inside chores and numbers. Lawal didn’t like to pass the ball, finishing his 3-year career with 43 total assists in 99 games. Tech also featured a shoot-first PG in Iman Shumpert who can’t shoot. As a team they finished 256th in the nation in A/TO and 324th in TOs per game. Now I can’t say for sure that this affected his numbers in a negative way but it doesn’t appear to be the best situation for any freshman. It wasn’t a disaster either, because he’s slated to go in the top 3. But it is something to think about when assessing whether Derrick Favors might be a much better player than his already-impressive numbers suggest he is.

I like Favors as a prospect and see no reason he shouldn’t be considered one of the top players in this draft. He has shown terrific PF skills for a freshman and he has the size to play some center. He needs to keep the progression going. In particular his offensive game needs work. But he’s a player who, at the very minimum, looks like he can step in and handle the defense and board work in strong fashion. He has the size and athleticism and appears to have the right attitude to get his complete game to the all-star level. That’s a valuable player and it seems like the league has him pegged about right in the top 3.

Ed Davis, North Carolina: With Davis we have limited information. His first season was spent as a role player in support of a veteran roster that went on to win a NCAA championship. His 2nd season started well in the non-con games as he started to develop into one of the core players on a young, talented team. When the ACC season started he mostly played injured, spraining his ankle in the 2nd game against Clemson. He struggled after that, but seemed to be getting back to where he was before breaking his wrist and being put down for the remainder of the season. The problem here is while we have numbers from 2 seasons and 1357 minutes of major college play from Ed Davis, it’s better to have one complete season where he was on of the top players on his team. This way the numbers aren’t skewed by a heavier percentage of games played against weaker competition or too many garbage minutes he may have gotten as a freshman backup playing in blowouts. But this is what we were given to work with and that is what we’ll do. The first thing to do is look at Davis’ splits:

Ed Davis

2 pt pct

P40

R40

SB40

A/TO

Freshman Nov-Dec

.537

13.5

14.6

3.6

0.5

Freshman Jan-Mar

.508

12.7

11.8

4.4

0.4

Sophomore Nov-Dec

.647

20.8

13.6

5.5

0.6

Sophomore Jan-Feb

.466

13.7

11.4

4.1

0.3

Ed Davis was a player who gave solid support to a veteran, championship team as a freshman. He showed some promise, but there were questions about his ability to carry an offensive load effectively. In the early part of his sophomore season he looked as if he would make the jump to star, averaging 22.2 P40 while shooting .631 and improving other parts of his game. This was extra impressive because NC plays one of the tougher non-conference schedules and Davis performed well against the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Texas and Marshall. Things didn’t go as well once the conference games started. A lot of that could have had something to do with an injured ankle he was playing with for most of the conference season. But the only real bad game he had was at Clemson, where he went 2-11 from the field and grabbed only 4 rebounds. That game skews his numbers downward some and he never got the chance to get them back because of the injury.

The most impressive thing about Ed Davis is his ability to rebound and block shots. He’s well above the norm in both skills, at 16.5 per 40 minutes when the two are combined. Here’s a table showing all NCAA sophs who posted a RB40 number over 15.9 in recent years.

Player

2 pt pct

P40

R+B40

Emeka Okafor

.580

19.3

19.3

Antonio McDyess

.514

21.3

18.7

Shelden Williams

.589

19.4

17.6

Joey Dorsey

.631

13.0

17.6

Joe Smith

.586

25.5

16.5

Michael Ruffin

.566

12.1

16.3

Elton Brand

.620

24.2

16.4

Kenyon Martin

.629

13.9

16.3

Larry Johnson

.648

26.2

16.3

Dale Davis

.670

20.9

16.2

PJ Brown

.457

14.2

16.0

Charles Barkley

.644

20.7

15.9

Chris Webber

.679

24.2

15.9

Ed Davis

.578

18.0

16.5

I used 15.9, because that seemed to be the point where the good players became much less frequent. Once a player fell below 15.9 RB40, it was much less likely they would have an impact.  This is a pretty strong group. Not every player gave a career that matched where he was drafted, but all either played a long time in the league or were recent draft picks and are still in the league. So I think it is safe to say that Ed Davis projects to having a reasonably long NBA career based on this alone. That’s good, but a team spending a top 10 draft pick would probably like to get something more than 10 seasons of solid, above-average workmanlike effort from their investment. So let’s separate the all-stars from the rest. The players in this group who have made the all-star team at least once are Barkley, Webber, Davis, Johnson, Martin, Brand and McDyess. Some made multiple games, others just one. But these seven reached the level of NBA all-star, which is a pretty good measuring stick for a successful career. The most glaring number that separates the all-stars from the non-all-stars is scoring. Six of the seven all-stars hit well over 60% of their shots and scored over 20 P40. Only one of the six non-all-stars hit over 60% and one other scored over 20 P40. Davis is at 18.0 and .578. This casts more doubt on Davis’ ability to become anything more than a solid journeyman PF in the mold of Okafor, Smith or Brown.

The next, and final, question is whether a healthy Davis could have continued at or close to the .647 and 20.8 he was putting up before the conference schedule started. My guess is no. The reason is one near certainty in a college season has been that the numbers of big men decline as the season progresses, sometimes dramatically so. It would be naïve to think Davis would have continued to hit 65% of his shots. Considering his .518 mark as a freshman, I’m guessing the .578 is pretty close to what he would have put up in a healthy season. So with Ed Davis a team is at the very least likely getting a solid PF who plays good defense and holds his own on the boards. I doubt he’ll be anything other than adequate on offense, but there is obviously some decent potential there. Definitely a player worthy of a selection at the top of the 2nd tier of players drafted.

Jarvis Vanardo, Mississippi State: Vanardo blocks shots very well. He has other skills, but that’s been his calling card and the reason he’s going to be drafted. What works against him is he’s smaller than a typical PF, at 6’9 210. So instead of looking at all the great college shotblockers, I’ll stick with the thinner players who are less than 7’ for comparison. It hasn’t been a wildly successful bunch:

Player

2 pt pct

P40

R40

B40

A/TO

Theo Ratliff

.551

17.7

9.3

6.3

0.5

Roy Rogers

.525

14.8

10.2

5.3

0.5

Sean Williams

.548

14.9

8.5

6.2

0.5

Justin Williams

.517

14.8

14.6

7.2

0.3

Ken Johnson

.578

16.9

9.9

5.5

0.3

Stephen Lasme

.611

16.8

11.9

6.3

0.4

Shawn James

.594

19.8

10.9

6.2

0.5

Jarvis Vanardo

.582

17.6

13.1

6.0

0.5

This is interesting group. Ratliff beat the odds, but none of the others had an impact. Each player falls a little short in one or two of the other statistical categories. Shawn James is the exception to this, but he was 24 at the time of the 2008 draft. Vanardo falls short in P40. What I like about Vanardo is he’s a better rebounder and has a higher FG pct than most of these guys. I don’t know that this will be enough to make up for a weak offensive game.

Vanardo looks like he can become a good bench player. He has the good rebounding and shot blocking skills that are necessary for a strong energy player off the bench. He’ll never be a great scorer, but he doesn’t miss many shots and such players can get by on their active inside game. I feel he’d be a good pick late in round one.

Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: He had somewhat of a disappointing season. He was touted in some places as a preseason POY candidate. His numbers were down a tad for the season, he got injured and his team went on a tear without him. He did come back and showed some class and grace in accepting a lesser role for the team when he did. Harangody is a scorer more than anything. Here is how he stacks up with other NCAA senior PFs who have scored over 25.0 P40:

NCAA Senior PF

2 pt pct

P40

R40

SB40

A/TO

Horace Grant

.657

25.8

11.8

2.4

0.9

Christain Laettner

.580

26.6

9.8

3.8

0.6

Kenyon Martin

.573

25.7

13.2

6.6

0.8

Michael Cage

.562

25.3

13.0

3.0

0.2

Kurt Thomas

.554

35.8

18.0

5.4

0.4

Keith Van Horn

.537

28.0

12.0

2.3

0.6

Raef LaFrentz

.552

26.2

15.1

3.2

0.4

Danny Ferry

.544

27.2

8.9

2.6

1.4

Alan Henderson

.605

26.7

11.1

3.9

0.6

Mark Bryant

.565

25.3

11.3

2.5

0.4

Pat Garrity

.516

26.2

9.4

1.4

0.7

Adam Keefe

.553

27.2

13.2

2.3

0.9

Doug Smith

.508

27.0

11.8

4.0

0.9

Lee Nailon

.515

28.6

11.6

2.7

0.8

Brian Cook

.536

25.9

9.8

1.5

0.7

Alec Kessler

.497

25.2

12.4

1.4

0.4

Michael Smith

.552

28.4

9.2

0.9

0.7

Norris Coleman

.528

25.7

10.4

2.9

0.3

Tyler Hansbrough

.521

25.2

9.9

1.9

0.6

Luke Harangody

.514

26.7

11.2

1.4

0.9

This is a fairly long, relatively unimpressive list of players. That’s often the case with seniors though. The top 3 players each made one all-star game. Cage and Thomas put together long, productive careers. Van Horn, Lefrentz and Henderson all had some big moments, but never hit 20,000 total minutes. The others only stuck around a long time if they learned to hit a 3-pointer. In general the more successful players had the higher shooting pct, rebound rate and SB40. There are some exceptions. Horace Grant had a low SB40, but became a 4-time all-defensive 2nd team member. Everything about Alan Henderson looked solid, but he struggled with injuries some and just never got his game to the all-star level. Harangody looks like one of the weaker players on this list. The FG pct is low and the SB40 is brutally low. But I would add that if Pat Garrity had the career he had, Harangody could do the same if his 3-pointer starts to fall.

For Harangody it probably will be all about whether or not he can get the outside shot to fall consistently. If he can do that, he probably has enough in the way of rebounding skill to make it as a stretch-the-defense reserve PF. I remember reading last year that he was a pretty impressive shooter in some workouts. On the court he has hit 42 of 129 on his career, which is less than a third. I tend to go more with what happened during the games than the workouts, so I’m going to say he isn’t there yet as a shooter and for that reason he’s a long shot to make it.

Derrick Caracter, UTEP: Most probably remember him as the highly-touted Louisville prospect who just never got things going in his two seasons there. Caracter transferred to UTEP and rebounded with a solid year. His numbers still come up a little short and his messy episode at Louisville doesn’t help his cause. Like the rest of these players listed from here down, he’s worth a look.

Dwayne Collins, Miami: Collins gets a mention because he’s been a very efficient scorer and a solid rebounder in his 4 seasons. He gets to the line a lot. As a junior he had 193 FGAs and 192 FTAs. For some reason he played low minutes his entire career. He averaged about 24 minutes per game for his career and was never over 26 for a season. I’m not sure why this was, because he doesn’t have a high foul rate. It can’t be good though. I can say that he won’t be averaging close to 26 minutes per game in the NBA. But he has shown enough that he might be able to give a team some decent minutes as an inside player.

Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech: I mentioned him briefly in the Favors comment. The focus was on his TOs and that has been a big problem for him. He hasn’t gotten above 0.25 A/TO in three seasons and that says he’s too error-prone a player to make it at the next level. If he is able to improve this TO problem, he’s a good enough rebounder and defender that he can probably give a team some help on the inside.

Bryan Davis, Texas A&M: Davis is a long shot, but someone worth mentioning. His defense looks very good and he has the size and length to play some center. The offense is pretty poor, but he his FG pct did hit .532 and .541 in his sophomore and junior years, so he’s probably better than the .482 he posted this year. As a rebounder he’s also a little shaky. He posted a solid 12.4 R40 as a senior, but that was his first year in double figures. In his defense he spent three years sharing the inside with the likes of Joseph Jones, D’Andre Jordan and Chinemelu Elonu. This was the first year he was the main man in the middle and he responded pretty well on the boards. Not in his defense is the fact that it took this long for him to take charge. Davis is a good player to go the UFA route with. He has shown enough to think that he’s capable of being a useful big body off the bench.

Tony Easley, Murray State: Listed as a center, but is only 6’9” 200 lbs. I thought I’d toss his name out there as someone who might catch on somewhere as an energy player off the bench. The thing to know about Murray State is they play a very balanced offense and players rarely average more than 30 minutes per game under Bill Kennedy’s system. As an example, this past season their top 6 players averaged between 21 and 27 minutes per game and 9.7 and 10.6 points per game. Each year under Kennedy has been like this. It is a system that works, culminating in an NCAA tournament first round upset of Vanderbilt this season. The system does keep players who may be good pro prospects hidden though. Easley’s per minute numbers suggest there is a pretty good player here who is worth a look. There are some negatives though. He’s a 5th-year senior, is too small and wasn’t much of a shot blocker until this season. With that in mind he isn’t worth more than a look as an UFA. But he definitely is worth a look.

2 comments for “NBA Draft 2010: Power Forwards

  1. Jason
    June 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Nifty. I wasn’t sure how numbers would look for Favors, since everything I’ve heard is that he underperformed at GT. Thank you for all the work you put into this.

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