After my 2014 iteration appears to have shown some level of predictive power at the tails, it is worth examining which guards and wings have created their own shot at the rim the best. Using hoop-math.com’s splits, I take unassisted rim FG in the half-court minus putbacks to approximate who had the most frequent success of slashing through a set defense and finishing. This could also include post-ups and the splits are at the whim of NCAA play by play keepers, so this should not be treated as gospel. But it is an interesting perspective that can illuminate why an otherwise weak prospect like Jordan Clarkson might have value to NBA teams. I am splitting up the sample into point guards and wings since I found last season that point guards tend to get to the rim more often since they have greater ball handling responsibility.
|Player||UA Rim FG||Minutes||UARF/40|
|Cam Payne Fresh||37||1111||1.33|
|Cam Payne Soph||23||1127||0.82|
Olivier Hanlan leads the pack, and this might be a hint that he is worth a mid-late 2nd round flier.
Delon Wright is the real winner of this analysis in my mind. Not that his grade is exceptional, but I perceived him as a player who would struggle to create against superior defenses since he is neither a high usage scorer nor is he a great athlete. But this suggests he has more slither than I had credited him for in my mind, and with his length, sharp instincts, and stellar NCAA production he may be the hidden gem of the draft.
Kris Dunn and Jerian Grant are right around where I expected them to be. If anything I am slightly disappointed that neither showed much more slashing potential than expected.
I showed Cameron Payne’s freshman and sophomore split to display how wonky a single season sample can be. Payne actually showed large upticks in his two point volume and efficiency from freshman to sophomore season, yet fell off a cliff with respect to this specific split. Perhaps the Murray State play by play keeper became much more stingier with the definition of a rim attempt, as Murray State went from 42% rim, 22.6% mid-range splits to 34.9% rim, 31.4% mid-range splits with almost entirely the same roster. Payne does throw up a bunch of short range floaters so it would stand to reason that he would have a number of FG’s on the border between rim and non-rim attempts. Either way this is a bit of a red flag, he is a sophomore playing in the Ohio Valley Conference and probably will not be a lock down defensive player in the pros. And even if he gets to the rim in the NBA, he may not have the size or athleticism to consistently finish. This is a friendly reminder to not get too carried away with the mid-major sweetheart as draft sleeper.
D’Angelo Russell’s split is a big disappointment, and the only major red flag in his draft profile. He is only a freshman, and he does appear to have the handle and shake to become a decent slasher in the NBA. But perhaps this is a sign that his lack of burst outweighs his shifty ways, and that he will struggle to create rim attempts the same way that James Harden does. Harden overcomes his lack of burst with an elite euro-step, and if Russell is only decent at stepping through the defense he may be a big disappointment. Perhaps this stat is a fluke, or maybe Russell overcomes it as he adds bulk and continues to polish his skill set. He still does have a stellar skill package and this is not necessarily reason to disregard that. But it explains his shaky splits vs. good competition and it prevents him from being a guaranteed stud like Karl Towns and Justise Winslow.
Tyus Jones also has a disappointing split. He is a freshman projected to go in the mid-late 1st round, so this is not quite cause to firesale his draft equity. But it is worth pondering what his edge will be over the other talented PG’s in the NBA as a small jump shooting PG.
Terry Rozier’s splits show why I do not perceive him to be much of a prospect. He is 6’2″, just turned 21, and is below average at slashing, passing, and shooting. At best he is a late 2nd round pick.
Andrew Harrison is not an NBA caliber basketball player. Not much new to see here. He would be a waste of a draft pick.
|Player||UA Rim FG||Minutes||UARF/40|
Norman Powell and Dez Wells stand out as possible round 2 sleepers as both are toolsy wings who may be solid roleplayers with some 3 point shooting upticks. Powell is especially intriguing as he is a great athlete who measured to have a monster 6’11” wingspan 5 years ago.
I called Sam Dekker a boring prospect, but this is one area where he stands out. He has the athleticism and handle to get to the rim, and the size to finish over anybody. I am warming up to him after seeing him beat Willie Cauley-Stein off the dribble and finish over him, which is something that happens approximately never.
Rashad Vaughn continues to strengthen my belief that he is an underrated one and done due to playing for arguably the worst NCAA coach in Dave Rice. He can probably get buckets at the NBA level, and it’s only a matter of gambling on his BBIQ and feel developing into a complete player. The latter is not likely to come to fruition, but in the late 1st it is worth a shot.
Justise Winslow grades out extremely well for a freshman SF who was alleged to lack creation skills. His explosiveness paired with a nice euro-step gives him sneaky upside as a slasher, especially if he continues to polish his handle and finishing ability. His draft profile is completely loaded with green flags, and he is at worst my #2 prospect in the draft behind Karl Towns.
Stanley Johnson does not assuage my creation concerns for him with his score, as some of his buckets could even be from post-ups. But Kelly Oubre ranks even worse, which throws cold water on my affinity for him as a sleeper, even though I knew that he does not have much shake in his game.
Devin Booker did not get much ball handling responsibility sharing the floor with the Harrisons and Tyler Ulis, but this is a red flag nevertheless. He has solid 2p% statistics but it is not because of his ability to create for himself. Without athleticism, length, defense, rebounding, or creation I simply do not see how he is worth a look in the lottery.