Dion Waiters the big winner in Hollinger's Draft Rater

If the Phoenix Suns’ stat gurus are looking at the same numbers as John Hollinger, the swirling rumors about the Suns promising Dion Waiters make a lot more sense.

In his annual Draft Rater released on Monday, Waiters ranked as the draft’s best perimeter player with a rating of 14.12. The Draft Rater “analyzes college stats to predict NBA performance” in the form of “a giant regression model that gets incrementally smarter as we fill it with more data each year.”

Hollinger ranked Waiters fourth on his board overall behind surefire top-five picks Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, writing that “Waiters projects as the best small wing since Dwyane Wade, and he’d be a steal if somebody got him in the Nos. 8-10 range currently being discussed.”

Hollinger would certainly make a promise to Waiters at No. 13 after writing that wings “with strong Draft Rater marks virtually never fail. Of the eight players to rate above 13 in the past decade, the worst among them was Josh Childress. Five of the players have played in an All-Star Game, and Rudy Gay may play in an All-Star Game soon. The seventh player is [Kawhi] Leonard.”

Before being scared off by Waiters being another J-Chill, consider the upside. In Waiters, they very well may be selecting an All-Star talent at No. 13 if he’s available as he is in NBADraft.net’s most recent mock.

Kendall Marshall ranks just behind Waiters with a 13.84 rating, leading Hollinger to rank him No. 14 overall, just behind the higher-upside Tony Wroten (12.21).

Hollinger wrote of Marshall, “This year, several point guards rate as first-round talents, and there is little to separate them. North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall is the highest rated of the bunch and the safest pick, but he offers the least upside. Often compared to Mark Jackson because of his size, acumen and lack of athleticism, he is a solid mid-first-round pick.”

Marshall surely will be a long-time pro but it’s hard to see such a low-upside player being given the keys to Steve Nash’s kingdom one day. The former Tar Heel seems to work best with lots of talent around him, and we all know he will not find that in the Valley, at least not immediately.

Jeremy Lamb does not rank particularly well down at 10.50 and neither does Austin Rivers at 9.85 nor Terrence Ross at 9.12.

The Suns seem to be zeroing in on a perimeter player, but if they want a big it’s noteworthy to point out that Jared Sullinger is a surprise of the Rater, ranking second in overall rating at 16.86. Hollinger ranks him seventh overall despite being red flagged due to back issues by NBA doctors.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Perry Jones checks in with a disappointing 8.77 to drop down to 28th overall on Hollinger’s board.

The Draft Rater has enjoyed better success than most GMs over the years and gets smarter every season. It surely passes the common sense test this year by ranking Davis far and away the best prospect.

When I analyze the Draft Rater I am on the lookout for surprising shifts in contrast to conventional wisdom, and on that count Waiters may be an undervalued prospect along with a player like Kendall Marshall, and Jones and Ross may be a bit overvalued.

Wages of Wins on overrated prospects

So long as we are talking overrated prospects, Wages of Wins broke down 10 players with “bust” allegedly written all over them.

Lamb ranks ninth on this list put together by James Brocato with an average 7.2 Win Score adjusted for his position. Brocato writes: “Lamb is an above average shooter, relatively good at taking care of the ball, and actually a pretty decent all around player. But, for all his size an athleticism, he wasn’t particularly good at creating possessions – he doesn’t steal the ball or grab offensive rebounds as well as his peers.”

In all, Brocato does not see Lamb as a bad prospect, just not a top-10 selection.

Brocato rags on Wroten, No. 5 on this list, thanks to his abysmal 3.9 Win Score. He writes, “Indeed, he wins in all the athlete categories: he’s good at rebounding, creating turnovers, and blocking shots. But when you take into account his dismal shooting (and it’s really, really bad), his inability to pass, and his extremely high turnover rates, Wroten doesn’t look like a guy I’d want to take in the first round.”

Doesn’t exactly sound like Steve Nash’s successor to me either.

Perry Jones checks in next on the list in fourth after producing a poor 5.7 Win Score adjusted for position and schedule. Brocato’s analysis is so poignant I’ll post it all:

“Before Baylor fans start sending me hate mail, let me start by saying that Quincy Acy is actually quite productive. Ok, now that that’s out of the way, Perry Jones is pretty bad. But, boy does he look like he’s good. Chad Ford praises Jones by saying he “runs the floor like a deer.” That sounds a lot like an aesthetic positive to me. I don’t care if a guy runs the floor like a rhinoceros if he can produce wins. But Jones runs like a deer and is not particularly good at shooting, rebounding, or creating possessions on defense. Yes, he’s super athletic and long. But to reiterate something I said in the comments of Part 1, there is no evidence that athletic guys or guys with great size improve more than their small, non-athletic counterparts early in their careers. The bottom line is that production in college is the best indicator of production in the NBA (not perfect, but the best). I’ll pass on Jones.”

How often have players like Jones flopped in the NBA? Too many times to count just since 2000. Jones sure looks the part of an NBA star, but there have been enough flops who have looked like studs (minus their stats) for me to be leery about Jones if he drops into the Suns’ range. At the same time, the talent is tantalizing enough to think long and hard about him, but if Billy Beane taught us anything it’s not to pick the guy who looks best in a uniform but doesn’t put up numbers.

Finally, there is Rivers and his awful 3.1 Win Score ranking second on this list. After providing a lengthy list of college shooting guards who played more than 500 minutes and were more productive than Rivers, Brocato writes of a Chad Ford scouting report, “Is that list serious? He’s extremely confident? Tupac was extremely confident, but I didn’t want him on my basketball team. He has a ‘sick’ crossover move? That’s analysis? Hot Sauce had a sick crossover move, but I didn’t want him on my NBA basketball team. Rivers can’t be that great of a shooter or he’d have better shooting percentages. He has a nice floater? Great. So why doesn’t he shoot a higher percentage or score more? He has a killer instinct. The list sells itself. If you like watching shows like Ghost Hunters or Finding Bigfoot, take Austin Rivers in the lottery. I’ll stick with guys who are objectively good.”

Tags: Austin Rivers Dion Waiters Perry Jones

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Let the record show that I’ve been telling anybody who would listen that Waiters should be the 2 we draft if he is there at 13. He’s just a beast.

    I have also backed PJ3 for 2 years now, so hype wise I guess I’m 50 / 50.

    to defend J-Chil I still think he’s a stud who, if actually given a chance in this system to do what he does, he could contribute nicely especially if it doesn’t have to be so Nash-specific.

    If Waiters, Rivers, AND Lamb were still available at 13, you take Waiters PERIOD.

    If Leonard is there too… geesh. Don’t ask me, I’ll be balled up in a corner somewhere not wanting to choose between him and Waiters.

  • Ty-Sun

    They have a “consensus” mock draft at NBA.com where they also list all the major mock draft picks from the web and, if most of them are right, Waiters probably won’t be available at 13. If the Suns are determined to get a SG then Rivers or Ross might be the only good choices left. But I also saw several lists that were predicting that Jeremy Lamb could drop down to a possible 13th pick. I’m all in on Waiters if he’s still available. After that I’ll leave it up to the guys who actually get paid to make these choices to pick.

  • steve

    This is bad news for the Suns, if they were hoping to get Waiters. I’m not into the draft or into college ball at all, and I’ve been hearing his name being thrown around a lot lately as a guy who is creeping up the ranks. He’s not going to last the first 12 picks.

  • Ty-Sun

    I kind of wonder if there might not be one or two really smart guys who are holding back just a little in the pre-draft workouts to deliberately drop in the draft order. Not long ago almost everyone was predicting Lamb to got to Toronto as the #8 pick. I’d rather go almost anywhere else than Toronto. Nothing against the city itself, the Raptors are just not a team I would want to join if I was a top NBA prospect. There are a few other teams that I would dread going to more but not many.

    Yes, a drop in the draft will affect the $ amount in your first contract but if it came down to a $2.1 mil 1st year contract to play for the Raptors or a $1.8 mil 1st year contract to play in Portland or even a $1.6 mil 1st year contract to play in Phoenix, I’d seriously consider taking the pay cut just to get off the Raptors’ draft day radar.

  • Scott

    I thought the comparison of Kendall Marshall to Mark Jackson was particularly apt.

    As for Waiters … if he’s the next Wade 5 years from now I will eat my hat. (First, I will buy an edible hat. lol)

    According to Draft Express, Waiters played as his team’s sixth man, and his production tailed off against more difficult competition. So he was not even a star on his own team. He lacks a go-to skill and struggles in the half court game. He’s not skilled in creating his own offense in isolation, his shot selection is not necessarily the best, and he doesn’t create for others.

    Waiters’ strengths are defense – where he gets about 2 steals a game – and on offense he scores well in transition and from 3. But he’s not scoring a ton in college: he’s getting 12 pts in 24 min, attempting about 10 2 pt shots (making 5) and 3 3 pt shots (making 1).

    I look at these qualities and I think: this guy is not Wade, he’s Shannon Brown. There’s no guarantee Waiters is going to be able to make it to the hoop as well as he does in college. Like so many other college athletes, he may find that he’s got to jack up more midrange and long range shots. And if that happens, he’ll be Shannon Brown with possibly stronger defense.

    BTW, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may be a good athlete, but his IQ does not seem very high. I saw a combine interview with him last night, and it appeared he had a hard time answering basic questions. If I’d just met him, I’d assume he was stoned. For a top athlete, he certainly doesn’t present well to the media, and I would question his status as a #3 pick.

  • DBreezy


    MKG has a bad stuttering problem. Has had it since he was a kid. He’s worked hard on it and word is that he’s fine when the camera is off, but he tends to struggle when it’s on and has to slow down what he says a lot. So i definitely wouldn’t judge his hoops IQ off that. Besides the Suns previously drafted a similar style athlete at 3 who came in with a lifelong stuttering problem and I think that worked out pretty well…..

  • Scott

    Here’s some more info related to Waiters. You’d think if he was very Wade-like, he’d be going to the free throw line a lot. But he doesn’t rate well for that among his draft peers, as the following table from Draft Express shows:

    Free Throw Attempts Per Possession

    Name Team League FTA/Pos
    Jared Cunningham Oregon State NCAA 0.47
    Tu Holloway Xavier NCAA 0.47
    Tony Wroten Washington NCAA 0.44
    Kostas Sloukas Olympiakos GREECE 0.43
    Damian Lillard Weber State NCAA 0.42
    Austin Rivers Duke NCAA 0.38
    Andrew Albicy Gravelines FRANCE 0.36
    Bradley Beal Florida NCAA 0.36
    Doron Lamb Kentucky NCAA 0.36
    Kostas Sloukas Olympiakos EUROLEAGUE 0.36
    Terrell Stoglin Maryland NCAA 0.34
    Maalik Wayns Villanova NCAA 0.34
    Dee Bost Mississippi St. NCAA 0.33
    Tyshawn Taylor Kansas NCAA 0.32
    J’Covan Brown Texas NCAA 0.31
    Darius Johnson-Odom Marquette NCAA 0.31
    Andrew Albicy Gravelines EUROCUP 0.31
    Dion Waiters Syracuse NCAA 0.3
    Marcus Denmon Missouri NCAA 0.29
    Scott Machado Iona NCAA 0.29
    Casper Ware Long Beach State NCAA 0.28
    Marquis Teague Kentucky NCAA 0.27
    Tomas Satoransky Sevilla ACB 0.25
    Kendall Marshall North Carolina NCAA 0.25

    Wroten, Lillard, Rivers, Beal, and even Tyshawn Taylor and J’Covan Brown all get to the line more than Waiters. For all his scoring, Waiters actually gets the line just slightly more often than Marshall or Machado, two guys not known for their crafty moves at the hoop.

    @DBreezy -

    Ah, stuttering! Thanks for the heads up. I’d not considered that. Very hard to evaluate a person by their conversation, sometimes, when they have a stuttering issue.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Scott there are a lot of “ifs” in all of that about Waiters.

    I went back in time and looked at a few other scouting reports. I found one that said this guy could end up being the next Keyon Dooling, (ouch).

    MPARATIVE UPSIDE: Gilbert Arenas COMPARATIVE DOWNSIDE: Keyon Dooling, Ed Gray

    ROLE PROJECTION: Future starter.

    POSITIVES: The unreal athleticism #### brings to the floor is what will allow him to compete in the NBA at just 6-4. Any other 2-guard that size with the same set of skills would go in the second round. Additionally, ####’s wingspan helps him to be effective in traffic, not only as a scorer, but as a rebounder and defender. He plays with poise and is always under control, which has many guessing #### will make a transition to the point at the next level, such as Gilbert Arenas.

    SHORTCOMINGS: Regardless of what position #### plays, he is going to have to add a jump shot to his arsenal. #### rarely relied on the perimeter game at the college level because of his ability to take his man off the dribble. The athletic guards of the NBA are far more likely to be able to contain his penetration. #### better be able to go to his jumper once they do.

    WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “He’s a great player, but you have to question that 6-4 size they listed him at. Schools lie about a players size all the time. Without shoes, it would surprise me if he is even 6-3.” — Anonymous Eastern Conference scout

    So that guy was a small 2 guard who was supposed to end up being converted to a point guard. Didn’t have a jumper, but had a big (215 pound) body and could jump for his size. A natural 2 who could play the 1 if asked in college.

    That scouting report? Dwayne Wade, y’all. At the time, nobody knew he’d end up being DWAYNE WADE, y’all.

    If Waiters is selected by Phoenix which probably won’t happen as the country catches up to my man-crush on him, He’s not going to have to always beat his guy off the dribble. He’ll get to run off screens into the middle. He’ll get to cut baseline and he already has a sweet stroke.

    In the Suns system, he’d be a freak. I don’t buy into any of the problems he had with his coach because they came from a guy knowing he could produce wanting to play. Gentry would play him as long as he wasn’t in foul trouble. that would not be an issue.

    Far as Shannon Brown goes, for all of his leaping prowess he actually doesn’t like attacking through his man and taking on contact. Waiters doesn’t care. He’s going to the rim whether it’s an open lane or if somebody is sliding over or if his man is on his hip trying to close him off. He’s going to the basket, that’s all there is to it.

    He’s the one guard in the draft who can be given Joe Johnson’s Suns package. None of the other true 2 guards can run it. They’re too small or not suited to that style.

  • Scott

    @Rich -

    I understand what you’re saying. But there are very few Wades and comparatively more Browns.

    Wade is 6′ 3.75″ barefoot and 6′ 4.75″ in shoes, 212 lbs, and with a wingspan of 6′ 10.75″. So he’s lighter and longer than Waiters. He gets the the line consistently, which we don’t see from Waiters. Wade won 2 awards in college (Conference USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year). In 33 min, Wade delivers 4.6 assists, and while I don’t see it in his scouting report, I believe he has a high basketball IQ and good court awareness. While it is also not mentioned in scouting, Wade doesn’t struggle in the half court, yet Waiters does. Wade almost never shoots a 3, and that’s good, because his percentage isn’t great (Waiters has a better 3). In the NBA, Wade scores 22 points in 33 min (2011-12 season).

    So if Waiters can score in the NBA like he did in college, despite his smaller length and the possibly lower court awareness, he will score buckets at a greater rate than Wade, even if he doesn’t get to the line. No doubt this is where the comparisons come from.

    However, if Waiters for some reason can’t get to the basket in the NBA like he did in college, he becomes a garden variety SG who doesn’t get to the line and instead jacks up 3s. About 28% of Waiters’ scoring occurs in transition, all of which reminds me of Brown.

    Shannon Brown is listed as either 6′ 3″ or 6′ 4″. He’s about 210 lbs with a wingspan of 6′ 9″. He has a vertical leap of 44.5″.

    There’s always so much hype every summer about the players in the draft. Very little of it comes true. You and Hollinger may be right about Waiters, or it may be that the numbers won’t translate. My opinion of Waiters is so far based solely on the scouting report on Draft Express. I imagine we’ll hear more about him as we wind our way closer to the draft.

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  • Scott

    BTW, there’s a rumor (always tons of those) that the Bulls are willing to trade Deng in a salary dump for a high pick, in a range that would include the Suns’ #13.

    Deng’s got 2 years left at $12m+ per year and a PER of 14. The Suns are looking for FA and have some room. (Deng’s also one of the Suns’ “lost picks.”)

    So let’s pretend. Let’s say you’re Suns GM and you see this offer. Do you take it?

    Keep in mind that the Suns presently have players at SF and presumably intend to re-sign Grant Hill at SF.

    Do you take it if you can trade Childress and Warrick for Deng, and exchange the Suns’ #13 pick for the Bulls’ #29 pick? (Currently projected to be PG Tyshawn Taylor.)

  • Yohance


    I would not want to trade my 13th
    pick for a 29th pick. With that being said
    I do believe that Deng would be an upgrade
    over J-Chill and maybe even Warrick but they
    do not play the same position. One of them is probably
    going to get amnesty anyway more than likely.
    I think the suns stay right where they are at in the draft
    and try to draft an impact player who fits one of their needs.
    Believe me they have a lot of them especially with the uncertainity of Nash possiblly not being there next year. I would like them to consider looking for trades where they can get multiple draft picks. Then we need to piece together a team with talented youth that can play together for a while and grow and potentially contend in about 3-4 years for a championship. Model ourselves similar to OKC. I love Nash and Hill personally and while I would love for the team to push hard to get the pieces necessary to win right now. I just do think it will happen. I think it is only fair to let Nash see what may be out there and allow him a realistic shot at a ring.

  • steve

    I wouldn’t take that deal. It’s not a BAD deal, by any means, but I don’t think it’s really much of an improvement either. Deng isn’t worth it, in my opinion, especially because I still believe Childress could be much more effective than he has been (if given the proper opportunities). I see that as more of a lateral move than anything else, and I don’t think it’s addressing the problems of the future as much as I would like to.

    Not a bad idea, but it’s just not something I would go for if I was the one pulling the strings for the Suns.

    As far as Wade goes, I believe his ascension had as much to do with his alpha qualities as it had to do with anything else. A lot of players have the athletic abilities and even the skills of Wade. Not every player has the brain and will to match. Now, I know nothing about Waiters, so I can’t say for sure he isn’t an alpha, but if I were forced to bet on it, I’d say he’ll end up being a blip on the NBA radar compared to a guy like Wade just because of the fact that 49 out of 50 guys in the NBA have souls (unlike the true killers of the NBA like Wade and Kobe). Waiters has a better chance of being one of the 49.

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to luck into a Wade-caliber player at 13 though?

  • Yohance


    Yes, that would be awesome if a
    Wade caliber player was to be picked up by the
    Suns when they pick at 13. That being said
    we still would need to also trade or sign the right players
    to complement him. Remember it takes chemistry and
    sure star power to win in the league. Think about it most of the teams that won a championship except Jordan and maybe Hakeem had multiple players who could be considered a star or at least a go to player on another team.

  • Scott

    I’m not super hot on Deng myself, but I’m not sure the Suns’ #13 pick will be that much of a game changer, and though he’s not a creator, Deng does at least fit the Suns’ system, and he’s a high character guy.

    The sad part is that he’s a SF, and the Suns really need a star FA to come in at SG or PF, as I understand it.

  • Ty-Sun

    I think the Bulls are just fishing with Deng. If they can find some team that will make a VERY good trade deal to get him then they’ll make the trade but otherwise he’ll probably be back with the Bulls next season.

    I’m sure what the Bulls would really like to do is ship Boozer and his over-bloated contract off somewhere but they know that there wouldn’t be any takers. His stats last year were the worst since his rookie season. Both he and Deng are overpaid but Deng is probably the most marketable. Deng is NOT someone I’d like to see in a Suns uni. Not because he’s not a good player but because I don’t think he has that much to offer the Suns except a #12+ mil per year salary.

  • Scott

    Okay, here’s another hypothetical …

    Let’s say due to the recent medical news, Sullinger drops all the way to #13. Do you pick him, even knowing he appears to have a back issue? Or is it that his slow, unathletic body, in addition to the back, makes him an unacceptable pick for the Suns?

  • Scott

    @Ty-Sun -

    And yet Boozer finished the year with a PER of 19 and Deng with a PER of 14, and both guys make nearly the same money.

    I realize fans are upset with Boozer, but according to PER, Deng is the under-performing player, and he’s also the easiest for the Bulls to replace.

  • Ty-Sun

    I’m not at all sold on PER as “the” stat to judge players by. Deng outscored, out-assisted and out-blocked Boozer this season. Steals were even and Boozer won in rebounding. Deng shoot the 3 at a .337 over his career and it seems that Boozer seems to have only attempted one 3 point shot in his career (which is probably a good thing). That’s important because it shows that opposing teams can sag in on Boozer a little on defense because he’s not a 3 point threat. Deng is. Boozer’s stats have dropped each year he’s been with Chicago. Deng’s stats also dropped off this year but he played much of the season with a torn ligament in his left wrist. I think that might have played at least a tiny little bit in his PER. The Bulls still played him more minutes per game than Boozer and Thibodeau’s no idiot…

    I’m not saying that Boozer is a bust or not really worth what he’s being paid but I really think he’s on the wrong team. Deng fits in Chicago, Boozer doesn’t. Boozer isn’t a great defensive player and offensively he’s at his best with a slower paced more half-court oriented offense.

  • steve


    No offense, but it doesn’t matter if you’re sold on it or not. The rest of the basketball universe is, and based on the “eye” test, I think it’s incredibly accurate. Not perfect, but far better, in my opinion, than banking on PPG, RPG, APG, or whatever else per game.

    And to the play the devil’s advocate to your Deng vs. Boozer per game numbers, Boozer turns the ball over less, Boozer shot 53% while Deng shot 41%. Those are kind of pointless numbers though, because per game numbers are meaningless when we’re talking about efficiency (which is what PER is).

    Boozer was better than Deng on a per-minute basis in points, rebounds, and steals, and was a fraction behind Deng in assists and blocks.

    Boozer also dominated Deng in WS48, 0.187 to 0.132. Boozer had a better ORtg, a better DRtg, more OWS, more DWS, better TS%, better eFG%, better assist rate, better steal rate, higher usage rate…

    There isn’t much that could possibly suggest it’s even a close contest. Boozer is the better player by quite a bit, in my opinion, and that’s exactly what PER and WS48 (the two most trusted advanced efficiency metrics) say.

  • Tony


    no to both trading the 13th pick for Deng and no to acquiring Boozer. Deng is definitely a solid player but not a franchise type player either. The Suns desperately need a new “face” of the franchise and obviously Deng is not that. As far as Boozer is concerned, the guy is as clutch as Gortat, meaning he cracks under the pressure all the time. I’ve seen it happen to him so many times, going all the way back to his days with the Jazz. Furthermore, he gets hurt too often and I’m not sure he’s a team-oriented type of player.


    not to question your judgment regarding statistics, as I know you rely on them as the end all and be all to validate every argument you make, no matter how absurd, but might Boozer’s numbers be skewed because of all his missed time as a result of injuries? To be honest, I don’t know how PER or WS48 take into account a player’s absence.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    If we’re talking about killer instinct possibilities, then Waiters wins again, even coming off the bench in college.

    He basically had the Ginobli package, but at the end of games his coach always went with him and he always had the ball and really, he likes it.

    NO to Deng and NO to Boozer. Boozer is terrible and unreliable and he has some sort of chip on his shoulder. Probably because he’s bad. Stats aside, you can’t count on him for anything except to get some stats from the 1st through the 3rd quarter.

    Deng is a nice player. A good compliment on a team with an alpha. Phoenix doesn’t have an alpha and even if Nash returned, he’s not the right kind of alpha at this stage of his carreer.

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  • Scott

    @Rich -

    Is Waiters better than Beal? I would assume, if Waiters = Wade, then this is true.

    I see the lottery order has shifted on Draft Express again, with Davis still on top, Tom Rob next (which I think is logical), Beal, MKG, Barnes, Drummond, Sullinger, J Lamb, Henson, Lillard, Waiters, and Zeller (who swapped places with Leonard for some reason in the last week).

    To a fair extent, these choices also make sense for the teams picking, so I could see it going like that. However, I still think Marshall could go to NO instead of Lillard, because with Gordon and Davis they need someone to set up the offense more than they need scoring from PG.

    Draft Express also has the Suns taking Rivers, and directly below that are Marshall, P Jones, and Leonard … picks again which mostly make sense for their teams.

    I think the Suns should not pick Rivers, P Jones, or T Jones, all primarily for mental reasons, in that Rivers lacks maturity, P Jones lacks a consistent motor, and T Jones lacks both.

    Which means, if the draft goes as predicted (does it ever?), and if the Suns pick from the next players in line, and if they do NOT pick my “do not pick” guys, the Suns would be choosing either Lillard / Marshall (whoever NO doesn’t take) or Leonard.

    I guess I’m okay with that. Those choices aren’t horrible. Marshall should be a dependable 2nd unit PG once he learns the system, and if Nash stays it would give him time to develop scoring abilities. Lillard would be, as I suggested before, a replacement for Barbosa, which would be a significant help to the 2nd unit. And Leonard stands to replace Lopez, who may or may not be sticking around.

    If it comes down to these choices, I think the Suns would and should pick … Leonard.

    I say that because it is HARD to get agile big men who run the floor and protect the rim. I figure that’s the main reason the Suns are willing to re-sign Lopez, even after the injuries and other difficulties.

    If the Suns draft Leonard, that gives them flexibility with Lopez, and Lopez’s agent can’t hold the Suns over a barrel. As it stands, with Frye injured and Gortat the only real C on the Suns (Morris can’t play both C and PF), Lopez can and will name his price in terms of dollars and years. That’s why Babby was so pre-emptive in his public comments about matching on Lopez. Lopez’s new contract will likely be a big enough disaster even without some other team bidding it up.

    So drafting Leonard makes a lot of sense, even if he’s not a creator, scorer, or perimeter threat. It gives the Suns the opportunity to make a reasonably low offer to Lopez which he can take or not. And if Lopez agrees to return, then it puts pressure on Gentry to play some big man ball instead of always-small ball.

    Can you imagine that scenario, if it should come to pass? The Suns would have 4 legitimate 7-footers.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    I don’t see Lillard being around at 13. If he is, as I said over a week ago when these draft-related topics started showing up, he’s the guy you pick. His skill set is the perfect fit for Gentry’s system and if he’s more of an attacking-scoring guard then you don’t have to be so space specific.

    Honestly, I don’t see the negatives on Marshall either. I’d actually say he’s more of a D’Antoni guy than a Gentry guy. Either way the Suns system would create a deadly enviornment for other teams trying to contain him. Pure point guards like him will attract big time scorers even if one isn’t picked up in a draft.

    If Leonard is around and is selected I’m already on record backing that move. Also, with Leonard’s skill set and athletic insanity you can actually play him WITH gortat.

    As far as whether Waiters is as good as Beal, I really never thought about Beal because there’s no chance that he’d be around at 13.

    That being said, I think they’re very comparable and in Gentry’s system both players would have a chance to be all-star good.

    Beal is a little more catch-and-shoot which is always welcome in Gentry’s system. Waiters is a little more freight train.

    Beal is a bit better on the glass and Waiters is the better thief.

    But really, Waiters is going to the hole. Personally that’s what I want more than anything because that’s what we’ve lacked. Nobody in this draft attacks the paint like him and in Gentry’s system once he turns the corner off a screen the middle is going to be there and if he’s off the ball and his man leaves he has the range to hit it from 14 – 20 feet.

    Apart from all of the national gushing over him over the last few days I just see him as the best fit at SG for PHX if he’s there.

  • steve


    The reason I trust rate statistics so much more than per game statistics (at least for any player that receives significant PT when he is actually playing) is that they are designed to tell you how effective that player is for the time he’s on the court. Deng’s per game numbers compare favorably with Boozers, but Deng played almost 40mpg, while Boozer played a hair under 30mpg. Boozer gave nearly identical production to Deng in 75% of the time, meaning he was more effective when he was out there.

    Now, someone could make the argument that Deng is more useful because he fills more time on the court. If Boozer’s replacement was terrible, then the replacement’s negative production could actually outweigh the good that Boozer had done in his low minutes. I think that’s a reasonable stance, and that’s really the best argument I can see being made in favor of Deng over Boozer. If you’re just looking at “Who’s better when they’re on the court,” it’s Boozer, no contest…

    Unless it’s the 4th quarter. ;)

    That was the long answer to your question. Short answer: Rate statistics will not be skewed if the sample size is large enough. Boozer played in all 66 games this season, so his sample size is as good as anyone else’s.

    Fyi, I’d say 20 games is usually enough to even out the highs and the lows, and 25 minutes per game is usually enough to tell if a player has had the opportunity to show all he has. Anything less than 20 games played or 25mpg, and, admittedly, advanced metrics are somewhat of a crapshoot.