College and NBA performance is correlated but the correlation isn’t perfect, as James Brocato writes on the Wages of Wins Journal.
Still, taking a look at the Position Adjusted Win Score per 40 minutes (PAWS40) numbers can shed some light on prospects whose advanced numbers may be better than you thought in college and vice versa.
The guy who immediately sticks out to me is Markieff Morris, who ranks second among power forwards with a 13.5 PAWS40 behind only Kenneth Faried, the small school product whose 17.2 score laps the field.
Markieff ranks a spot ahead of Derrick Williams in this measure (12.7 for the UA star) and also ranked in the top 10 of John Hollinger’s college PER (29.74), where Williams was third (32.69).
What impresses me most about Markieff is his stellar defensive rebound rate. He corralled 24.4 percent of the available defensive rebounds and 17.7 percent of the available boards. Since rebounding often translates to the pros, this bodes very well for Markieff, who edged out his twin for the Big 12 PER lead. According to StatSheet, Markieff excelled in true shooting percentage as well, shooting 61.1 percent two years ago and 64.1 percent last year when he ranked second in the Big 12.
On the flip side of this ValleyoftheSuns favorite Tristan Thompson grabbed about half as many defensive boards as Markieff, according to Hollinger’s stats, with a 12.8 DRR. Thompson is known as a quality rebounder due to his superb work on the offensive boards (12.6 ORR) but it concerns me that his teammate Jordan Hamilton was a much better defensive rebounder (17.5 DRR).
Thompson’s PAWS40 of 8.1 is second worst among the DraftExpress projected lottery picks. I’ve been high on Thompson in recent days, but it’s disconcerting that he grabbed defensive rebounds at a Robin Lopez-esque rate in college, and his 53.6 true shooting percentage does not exactly impress.
On the topic of Hamilton, his PAWS40 (11.0) ranked second to Kawhi Leonard among small forwards and as noted previously he’s a superb defensive rebounder for a wing, which has been very important for Phoenix in recent years. Hamilton’s 25.79 PER ranked fifth in the Big 12 behind three Jayhawks and Alec Burks.
Advanced stats and Jimmer
Jimmer Fredette ranked seventh in all of college basketball with a 30.80 PER, behind only Faried and Williams when it comes to expected first-rounders.
But the PAWS40 metric isn’t so kind to him with Jimmer scoring a 9.3 to place him outside the top five in point guards and in the bottom third of the top 12 DraftExpress prospects.
Peter Newmann and Dean Oliver of ESPN Stats and Info (Oliver is one of the leaders of the advanced stats movement) broke down Jimmer on TrueHoop and don’t exactly see him as a future star in the making.
His career pure point rating of minus 0.2 for his BYU career and minus 1.8 last year are not what a team should want out of its point guard of the future.
Newman and Oliver determined the most similar college players to Jimmer are as follows: B.J. Armstrong, Dana Barros, Randolph Childress, Travis Diener, Litterial Green, Scott Haffner, Lucious Harris, Allan Houston, Steve Nash and Khalid Reeves. In that group we have a number of busts, some very solid players and a certain two-time MVP.
Newman and Oliver conclude by writing:
Superficially, Fredette’s scoring volume has inflated his value to the point where he may be a lottery pick. His ceiling is lower than others because of his age, and his ability to develop into a passer is in question. When evaluating the entire package, Fredette projects better to the NBA as a late first-round or early second-round pick, given his one specialty skill. That way, he can begin to carve out a career as a designated shooter, with a chance to improve his overall game.
From Stubmling on Wins we learn that “scoring totals have the biggest impact on where a player is drafted,” with Prof. David Berri and company finding that a prospect who increases his scoring average by four points per 40 minutes will get drafted an average of six slots higher.
Considering Jimmer averaged 28.9 points per game last season, he seems like an obvious candidate to be drafted higher than he should, especially when factoring in Jimmermania and the emotional appeal to drafting a player like him. Therefore, the Suns could likely find better value at 13 than Jimmer.
- Stumbling on Wins also notes that playing on an NCAA champion or Final Four team are statistically significant factors that lead to a better draft position. Based on that Kemba Walker can be expected to be selected higher than he should, and the same could be true for Brandon Knight and Shelvin Mack.
- In Jimmer’s YouTube video on his Phoenix workout, his agent Chris Emens said “there’s a very high degree of probability that [the Suns’} draft pick will come out of the workout.” Along with Fredette, Tristan Thompson, the Morris twins, Chris Singleton and Iman Shumpert attended a workout that Alvin Gentry told Jimmer was “the best workout he’s ever had.” The Suns’ brass told Jimmer they want either a forward or a point guard with their pick.
- ESPN’s Chad Ford writes that the Suns are “in hot pursuit” of Minnesota’s No. 2 pick for the right to draft Derrick Williams. Ford writes the Suns might be interested in trading Marcin Gortat and the No. 13 pick for the No. 2 selection and center Nikola Pekovic. As much as I’d love D-Will in a Suns jersey, I don’t think he’s worth giving up a certifiable center in Gortat as well as No. 13 although he could be that future star the Suns crave.
- Tristan Thompson only has plans to work out for teams between pick Nos. 4-13 and he told TheScore he feels that’s his range. I wonder if the Suns have told him anything to make him believe they are his floor or whether he is just being optimistic.