Cameron PAyne, D'angelo Russell, Delon Wright, Devin Booker, Dez WElls, Justise Winslow, Kelly Oubre, Norman Powell, Olivier Hanlan, Tyus Jones
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.
Thanks. Interesting numbers.
With Russell, I think it’s a technical thing. He chooses to stop a lot of his drives short of the rim, though he could often get there. And consequently he ends up taking a much more difficult shot than he has to. In the Arizona game, this happened on at least 3-4 occasions in the first half alone. (All misses.)
I don’t know if it’s something that he will improve, but it’s definitely something that can be improved. Regardless, he is going to have to develop better touch around the rim to be a huge star. Now that Nash is retired, I’d love it if Russell sought out the Great One (he seems like basketball’s version of Gretzky to me) for some instruction.
Nice insight, I haven’t watched a ton of Russell and that sounds like a plausible explanation. Maybe he just doesn’t want to bang with the trees and will gain the confidence to go the distance as his frame fills out?
Based on eye test he doesn’t look like a guy who isn’t good enough to get all the way there, so I hesitate to invest too much into this split.
He definitely seemed a little gun shy for some reason. He also lost his legs a little bit the last 1/3 of the season. Seemed like he was playing tired. So that might be a factor too, at least for the games that came after the first Indiana game. He seemed to turn a corner in his development and understanding after this game.
Before that game, there were times Russell looked really bad last year against defenses that pressured him. If you want to watch one that might scare you a little, the 2nd half and overtime of the first Minnesota game he looked abysmal if you want to check one game out, as the first half he was amazing. Think he scored 25 in the first half and almost lost the game for his team with turnovers and poor shots in 2nd half and overtime. Only finished with 27.
He definitely opts for pull ups and floaters more than the average player these days. I think the idea that he can’t beat people off the dribble in over rated. Is he Allen Iverson? No. But in the Arizona game he beat RHJ off the dribble several times, and everyone says RHJ is a NBA level defender.
I do think pressure and length bothers him, but I am not sure who it doesn’t bother.
A team that drafts him has to consider how his game will transform when he surrounded by NBA level talent, which he hasn’t at OHSU. His jump shot will be more valuable in the NBA than it is in college depending on who he is playing with. Also, if he is paired with a taller guard, length may not be as much of a issue for him as he is much taller than the average NBA PG.
Also, think everyone is underrating Wright. (Not necessarily you.) He’ll need to solidify that jump shot which means he’ll need to shoot with more consistent mechanics, but his free throw percentage (right around 80% over two seasons) to go along with the big improvement he made in that regard from his junior to senior season point towards a jumper being a possibility with repetitions and solid coaching.
To go along with that, he’s very clever at changing speeds, really good at using angles on screens, incredibly intelligent, a good enough passer and finisher (or at least he should be able to draw fouls) and an excellent defender. Worst case scenario I think he has a long career as a back-up. But if he does solidify that jumper he could be excellent.
(Took his brother Dorrell until his age 24 season to shoot with consistency from deep. That’s not necessarily a positive in Delon’s direction, I think it doesn’t hurt.)
Sorry, one last reply. Dekker doesn’t generally get to the rim on his own dribble. (Though it did happen last year when he had a crease created by pass out from the post by Kaminsky or Hayes.) Mostly he got shots at the rim on cuts or offensive rebounds. His one major skill right now is timing. He times his cuts perfectly to find a hole in the defense or be in position for a tip in.
I agree he’s not as exciting a prospect as everyone is making him out to be. I just don’t think he’s that good a passer. And I’d like my weak side wings to be able to really move the ball. That, to go along with a questionable jump shot. Hard to love him right now. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes a player.
Some actual evidence: 29 putbacks for Dekker. I think those would at the very least be factored in on Dekker, wouldn’t they? Even if we were only treating unassisted baskets.
Putbacks were priced in. He has 29 total putback attempts (rim and non-rim) and made 20 at the rim. He has 64 unassisted rim FG, so that means 44 that he created himself. Although it is possible some of them could be semi-assisted with stingy assist scoring.
I recall Dekker attacking the rim aggressively and effectively in the tourney. It especially stood out vs. UNC.
I still don’t think he’s lottery but somewhere in the 15-20 range is probably about right for him. He doesn’t have any great strengths but also his weaknesses are not jarring either.
WRT Delon, I think his jump shot is fine. Nearly half of his 3’s this season were unassisted, and look how much Marcus Smart improved his NCAA 3P% to NBA as he took more spot up attempts. Delon’s FT% suggests to me that he can be a competent floor spacer. He has arguably the sharpest instincts of anybody in this draft and really could carve out his own unique brand of upside if his outside shot proves to be decent.
Dekker definitely was a lot better at driving in the tournament, and his play picked up the last 1/3 of the season on the whole. I watched a lot of Wisconsin games (as they are one of the few teams that actually understand basketball concepts) and I thought he was completely meh the first two thirds of the season. But something definitely shifted in the way he played at the end of the season. If he played that way the whole season, I’d have a better impression of him.
I definitely like at least 19-20 players better than him, and I have trouble separating him from the next group of players at his position: RJ Hunter figures to be a better shooter at the next level, and while he didn’t shoot well this year, he improved some of his peripheral skills. Justin Anderson is a better defender. Josh Richardson is a far superior passer and showed more shooting skill. Jerian Grant. I don’t like him as a point guard, but he could be a solid weak side wing with the way he sees the floor. JP Tokoto has some qualities that might place him above Dekker, namely his athleticism, passing and defensive potential. And there might be a couple of others.
So even if I settled on him being in the early 20s, I think a team might be better served by trading back instead of making the selection.
Everybody is going to have a strength that Dekker lacks because he is jack of all trades, master of none. Nevertheless his bottom line production and tools are both perfectly solid, and that cannot be ignored. I largely agree with your perception of Dekker, but you can’t possibly take a guy like Tokoto over him when all he can do is pass and jump.
Wouldn’t take Tokoto over him. The only guys I definitely take over him are consensus top eight or nine plus Poeltl (if he goes), WCS, Looney, Oubre, Turner, Dunn, Hollis-Jefferson, Delon Wright, Lyles, Kaminsky, Qi (if he goes), Christian Wood (if he goes), and probably Cameron Payne.
I’m assuming most of the other guys I like more like Taurean Prince aren’t going. So for me, this would be the cut off where I think Upshaw’s defensive upside is worth the risk vs. the prospects who are available.
After that I think it’s a coin flip with a bunch of guys. Dekker. Jerian Grant. Josh Richardson. Bobby Portis. RJ Hunter. Justin Anderson. Vince Hunter. Chris McCollough. Devin Booker. Tyus Jones. Etc … Regardless of my individual rating of any of them (though Richardson is growing on me as a prospect), if I was picking and these were the only guys left, I’d rather trade back and pick up an extra pick this year or next year than make get stuck making the selection. So I’d pick Dekker over Tokoto. But I’d also take any of those players + Tokoto over Dekker. I don’t think any of them are a great bet to be hugely successful. If that makes sense.
Josh (@JoshsPseudonym) said:
He’s not even really a good shooter, but I think the thing that separates him from those other guys is size. He is big enough to be a smallball four once he fills out. His ballhandling and decent shooting in that role would be much more valuable.
Of Ben’s coin flip list, I definitely like Dekker more than any of them except Anderson and maybe Portis.
at around 17 secs in this videos, probably norman powell’s signature play from this season
he’s a four year ucla starter so he’s a lil old for a rookie, but he has a ton of high level pac 12 experience, two full seasons with two diff coaches (first howland then alford). he played basically every game all four years.
seems like one draftee every season gets d-wade comparisons, whether they be tools-wise or game-wise. but powell is probably the closest, cause he has wade’s massive hands to go along with his huge wingspan and great athleticism. i think he’s worth a late first rounder
Yeah, he’s obviously not on Wade’s talent level but in terms of physical profile he’s a near doppelgänger.
Still torn on where I end up ranking him. Late 1st is a bit aggressive for his lackluster statistical profile, but between his physical profile and his ability to get to the rim it might be where he belongs. DX is high on his perimeter defense, so if their assessment is accurate he sure does have a lot of green flags. If he can improve his 3 point shot and his NBA coach gets more out of his talent than Alford did, he could be a legit steal.
Josh (@JoshsPseudonym) said:
It would be funny if Powell ends up as the most successful pro from last year’s UCLA team.
I think late 1st is very reasonable. He was already one of my sleepers because of his athleticism and ability to finish at the rim. I don’t think he’ll be a star, but he could be a very nice scoring guard off the bench, especially if he works on his shot. That’s great value after the lottery.
Sam Martin said:
Label your charts!
Good feedback, I fixed it. This is why I am a gambler first and writing is a distant second. Presentation skills not my forte 🙂
Any thoughts on rumors that Joel Embiid has been fined a bunch this year for missing rehab sessions and being late?
No, not like the media is going to portray a clear image of what is going on behind the scenes.
Any thoughts on Justise Winslow’s stats perhaps being a bit inflated due to him playing a lot of Power Forward and easily blowing by those slower players?
Dean, how did you figure out how many of the putbacks were at the rim? So for example Dekker had 29 putbacks and 20 were at the rim, how did you know/calculate that? Thanks.
Actually nevermind I figured it out.
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