By the Numbers: The 2012 Guard Crop
|by: Matt Kamalsky - Director of Operations
|June 19, 2012
|In our first analysis of basic statistics, we take a look at the top 23 guards eligible for the 2012 NBA draft. Considered arguably the weakest position in this class, we let the numbers do the talking|
-By the Numbers: The 2012 Big Men Crop
-By the Numbers: The 2012 Forward Crop
-By the Numbers: The 2012 Wing Crop
To gain a better understanding of the statistics used, visit the glossary by Noah Libby-Haines. Interested in making your own statistical comparisons? You can do so here.
Points Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||27.7|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||20.2|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||18.9|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||17.2|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||9|
This stat tells us plainly how often these guards put the ball in the basket, adjusting for minutes played and pace, which levels the playing field as best it can without taking competition-level, individual team roles, and teammates into consideration. This is a good place to start with this group of players, as it shows the rather polar contrast between the top prospects at this position.
Anything above 20 points per-40 pace adjusted is considered fairly impressive at most levels of basketball.
Interestingly, we find the two most highly touted guards in this class at the top and bottom of these rankings. Damian Lillard's scoring numbers are right on par with Jimmer Fredette's and Andrew Goudelock's from last season's draft class, and while scouts will question the level of competition he faced in the Big Sky, his ability to score on the pick and roll and hit shots with range make him possibly the most dynamic offensive threat in low major college hoops last season.
On the other side of the spectrum, we find Kendall Marshall, arguably the most valuable cog for Roy Williams's 2012 Tar Heel squad. Obviously, Marshall makes his presence felt in other ways, but his ability to improve as a scorer, especially as a set shooter, will have an impact on just how valuable he can be at the next level.
Joining Lillard in the top five are two high major combo guards who showed the ability to put the ball in the basket against the best competition the NCAA has to offer in Terrell Stoglin and J'Covan Brown. Though neither player is as versatile as Lillard with the ball in their hands, it is hard to question the perimeter shooting ability to two bring to the table.
Rounding out the top five are Big East standouts Dion Waiter and Darius Johnson-Odom. Waiters may ultimately land in the same draft range as Lillard and his tremendous strength for a guard and scoring instincts could allow him to make an impact on the offense end, especially in transition, early in his career.
An exceptionally tough defensive player, Johnson-Odom may not have great size for the shooting guard position at 6'2, but teams will value his scoring instincts and ability to compensate for his height with his 6'7 wingspan on the defensive end.
Occupying the top end of the middle of the pack, TyShawn Taylor played an influential role for the program who vied for this season's National Championship. Playing alongside a slew of NBA talents, Taylor put together some extremely solid offensive performances and is capable of scoring very creatively at the rim and knocking down shots from the perimeter, coming close to the coveted 20 points per-40 mark.
Bradley Beal ranks right in the middle of our list as well, having his scoring opportunities limited by the assertive offensive-minded guards around him. He didn't shoot the three quite as well as he could have, which has an impact here as well.
We find most of the international prospects in this group near the bottom of these rankings, which is a trend we've seen over the years resulting from the roles played by such young players competing at the professional level overseas. Joining them are Marquis Teague, who had an up and down season for the most part on the best team in the country, and Scott Machado, who was the driving force behind Iona's extremely potent transition attack, but rarely looked to score himself.
Three Point Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||9|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||8.1|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||7.2|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||4.3|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||2.4|
This stat tells us a lot about the roles these prospects played for their respective teams, the confidence they had in their perimeter shooting ability, and the freedom they were given by their former coaches.
Casper Ware was the most aggressive shooter in this group, conjuring memories of his prolific scoring outings against Pittsburgh and North Carolina early this season. Joining Ware in the top-5 are Terrell Stoglin, Marcus Denmon, and Dee Bost. Denmon is the truest shooting guard of the three, spending the majority of his time setting his feet and waiting for the ball to be delivered while Bost and Stoglin were often creating their own looks for beyond the arc. Damian Lillard places third here, and the improvements he made with his shooting consistency between his junior and senior seasons are a testament to his work ethic.
Bradley Beal, Austin Rivers, Doron Lamb, and Dion Waiters all rank right in the middle of the pack. Rivers and Waiters both showed fairly versatile offensive games and were not overly reliant on forcing the action from deep, while Lamb's attempts per-game were limited by his relatively small role with the Wildcats relative to other prospects. Beal is known for his terrific shooting stroke, but he did not get to showcase his perimeter scoring ability on a roster filled with veteran guards.
The other top point guards in this group sit near the bottom of these rankings. Marquis Teague, Kendall Marshall, and Tony Wroten all have room to improve mechanically as shooters, and were not overly aggressive attempting shots from beyond the arc last season and are at varying points in their development from distance. Marshall made 35% of his attempts from 3-point range while Teague and Wroten made 33% and 16% respectively.
Three Point Attempts Per Field Goal Attempt
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||0.56|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||0.46|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||0.53|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||0.34|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||0.35|
This stat examines how heavily these guards relied on the 3-ball to score, which is a good indicator of the roles each prospect played last season, but is an indirect gauge of how well each of them got to the rim as well. Players which attempted a large proportion of their shots from beyond the arc may have some deficiencies in terms of size, ball-handling ability, athleticism, aggressiveness, or shot-selection. Or they simply could be outstanding shooters. Every player should be judged individually in this regard.
Casper Ware, Marcus Denmon, and Dee Bost take the top three spots here, which should come as no surprise given the number of the 3-pointers they attempt in total. Ware fits the same mold as Bost, scoring point guards with a green light to operate at will, while Denmon once again appears to be the most aggressive set-shooter among high-major shooting guards.
Andrew Albicy makes an appearance in the top-5 here. The diminutive French point guard made progress with his floater and ability to finish around the rim this season, but still has to rely heavily on his 3-point shot to score from the perimeter. He is a capable shooter from distance, but struggles when forced to make something happen in a pinch and shoot over the defense. Damian Lillard rounds out the top-5, with fewer than half of his shots coming from beyond the arc.
On the other side of the spectrum, we find Marquis Teague and Tony Wroten, whose lack of confidence in their perimeter jump-shot is reflected in their placing on this list. We find the top guards in this group ranked all over the board here, with Austin Rivers and Doron Lamb being more prone to shoot the three than Tyshawn Taylor and Dion Waiters.
Bradley Beal sits near the middle of the pack once again, and as much as teams value his shooting ability, the freshman did quite a bit of damage on the pick and roll, running off screens, and attack the rim inside the arc as well.
Interestingly, Kendall Marshall falls in the middle of the pack, mostly because he does not attempt all that many shots to begin with.
Free Throw Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||9.1|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||7.9|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||5.5|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||5.1|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||2.4|
Free throws attempted per-40 minutes is a good statistic to measure the aggressiveness of a player getting to the rim, as well as his athleticism and ball-handling skills. In some ways, it provides an inverse look at the three-point stats we just looked at.
And as would seem appropriate, the least prolific shooter in this group, Tony Wroten, jumps to the top of this list, posting a mark that would have placed him ahead of Kyrie Irving last season. The Washington product is joined by Damian Lillard in a tier well above the third place finishers Jared Cunningham and Tu Holloway. Wroten's ability to beat his man off the dribble, get into the lane, and wreak havoc in transition is clearly a major part of his value proposition. The upside he has thanks to his size and assertiveness make the development of his jump shot that much more significant given how it would open up his game.
Lillard's ability to draw contact in the lane is a big reason he ranked as the most prolific scorer in this group, as it complements his potent shooting. Rarely do you see a guard who is both a dead-eye 3-point shooter as well as a prolific foul-drawer, which is one of the reasons Lillard is so intriguing, despite the level of competition he played against.
Tu Holloway, Jared Cunningham and Terrell Stoglin comprise the second tier of guards, sitting a ways ahead of Austin Rivers who takes the first spot outside of the top-5. Rivers had some well-documented issues translating his dribble-drive game to the college level, but he improved as the season went on and was not shy about taking contact in the paint.
Dion Waiters, Bradley Beal, and Doron Lamb sit right around average here, as their perimeter-oriented roles on high-quality teams play against them.
Kendall Marshall and Marquis Teague rank fairly low on our list. Marshall certainly drew his share of paint defenders on the occasions he made his way into the lane, but he's a deferential driver who isn't seeking contact. Marquis Teague on the other hand seems to have the physical tools and mentality to get to the line at a better rate than what he showed last season, but needed to tame his instincts to become a drive and dish facilitator as the season wore on.
Kostas Sloukas got to the free throw line at a pretty high rate for a European guard, which is interesting considering how good of an outside shooter he is.
Free Throw Attempts Per Possession
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||0.47|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||0.42|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||0.33|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||0.28|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||0.25|
Even though Free Throws Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted tells us how much a player attacks in bulk, it doesn't show how much they attack relative to their usage rate. This stat tells that story.
Damian Lillard and Tony Wroten come back down to earth a bit here, while Jared Cunningham, Tu Holloway, and Kostas Sloukas jump into the top-5. Tu Holloway is as crafty and tough a midrange scorer as could be found in college basketball last season, and while he did not use quite as many possessions as Lillard, he drew fouls at an excellent rate, especially in transition. Cunningham's explosiveness and speed are big reasons why he fares so well in this metric.
Kostas Sloukas is a name Euroleague fans are all too familiar with, as he was a role player for Euroleague Champion Olimpiacos. Sloukas had a tremendously efficient year playing at the highest level of European basketball, and part of that was the result of his willingness to take contact on the occasions he attacked the rim.
Doron Lamb jumps up this list compared to the last one, with Bradley Beal moving up a bit as well. Although Lamb isn't an explosive leaper, he makes the most of his trips inside. He's more apt to pull-up off of one or two dribbles when the opportunity presents itself, but he is crafty with the way he uses his body at the rim.
Kendall Marshall and Tomas Satoransky rank last here, despite possessing radically different physical profiles.
True Shooting Percentage
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||64%|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||58%|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||56%|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||55%|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||54%|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||51%|
True Shooting Percentage is adjusted to account for what a player adds to their efficiency and team's point total with free throw attempts and 3-pointers. This stat attempts to adjust for all the ways a player can put points on the board.
To best understand what makes Kostas Sloukas such a unique prospect; you need look no further than his TS%. Playing just 14.7 minutes per-game, Sloukas is not a star in the making nor does he have great athleticism. Despite that, he had a simply outstanding year from an efficiency standpoint. He showed significant improvement as a set shooter, and coupled with his crafty play drawing contact at the rim and 87.5% free throw percentage, easily ranked as the most efficient scorer in this group. Considering the competition he was facing, that is certainly an impressive accomplishment.
Damian Lillard, Doron Lamb, and Marcus Denmon comprise the first tier of NCAA prospects in terms of true shooting, which should come as no surprise. This metric is often dominated by the NCAA's top shooters, and while there is not one clear-cut elite specialist in this group, each of the three players above can fill it up from deep.
Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Kendall Marshall, and Austin Rivers occupy the middle of the pack. Though each played significantly different roles for their respective teams, they all have some strengths and weaknesses that limit them here. Beal's perimeter stroke was not quite as reliable as many expect it to be at the next level, Waiters scored with solid efficiency from all over the floor, but did not attempt many three-pointers, Marshall did not stand out as a scorer in any one area, and Rivers' early struggles and inconsistent shooting with his feet set are checkmated by his ability to get to the line.
Marquis Teague and Tony Wroten again rank last here, and both freshmans' limited success from beyond the arc hurt them. Wroten's sub-par shooting from the foul line is also a factor here, though he compensates to tie Teague by virtue of his significantly better shooting when finishing at the rim.
Assists Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||10.7|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||6.1|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||4.5|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||3.9|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||3.5|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||3|
Kendall Marshall and Scott Machado wipe the floor was the field and run away from the pack as the two best playmakers in this group. Marshall's passing ability is well documented, and even with the pace adjustment, he and Machado had tremendous seasons as the floor general for their respective clubs.
Dee Bost, Andrew Albicy, and Marquis Teague round out the top-5, despite coming from diverse situations. Bost did not have a very efficient season scoring the ball, but did do a decent job working the ball to Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney. Albicy would rank even higher on this list if his size didn't limit his ability to create in traffic, as he's a very heady passer. John Calipari helped Teague move his way up this list as the season went on. On a stacked Kentucky team, Teague's improvement as a distributor was key to the team's Championship run, even if he had the ball taken out of his hand for stretches and still has plenty of room to improve.
Tony Wroten and Damian Lillard share the middle of the pack here, and only rank slightly ahead of Dion Waiters, despite the Syracuse standout spending significant time off the ball. Wroten had some nice moments threading the ball through traffic, but struggled mightily with his decision-making for stretches. Lillard was seldom looking to pass the ball by design last season, while Waiters showed excellent court vision and decisiveness making plays for his teammates when he drew additional defenders. His ability to spend some time at the point guard position is one of the aspects of his game most worth watching early in his NBA development.
Bradley Beal, Austin Rivers, and Doron Lamb rank in the bottom-5 here, though all three players did show some ability handling the ball and making decisions on the pick and roll.
Turnovers Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||3.3|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||3.1|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||3|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||3|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||2.8|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||2.6|
Based on what we saw on the last list, there are a few things that stand out on this one. Tony Wroten and Tyshawn Taylor jump to the top of our list while Kendall Marshall and Scott Machado both return to the pack. Wroten and Taylor had some good and bad nights as floor generals. Wroten still struggles with his decision-making on the whole while Taylor had some significant lapses that offset his otherwise terrific play some nights.
Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Doron Lamb, and Marcus Denmon rank among the least turnover prone players in this group. All four provided significant value to their teams in spot-up situations and were not placed in position to coughing the ball up at a high rate because of that.
Assist to Turnover Ratio
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||3.48|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||1.83|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||1.73|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||1.41|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||1.14|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||0.99|
Putting the last two tables together, Kendall Marshall distances himself from the field, and even finds himself quite a ways ahead of Scott Machado, who is well ahead of the pack in his own right. Though there are significant questions about the scoring ability of both players, the value of efficient playmaker can't be overstated, especially one who can make good decisions while pushing the tempo.
Kostas Sloukas is not a dynamic playmaker, but much like his TS%, this is yet another reminder of his ability to play low-mistake basketball within his skill set. Dion Waiters and Dee Bost round out the top-5, and impressive feat for two players who did as much scoring as they did last season.
Marquis Teague and Damian Lillard sit just behind the first tier of players here, and both will likely face different pressures as they move to the NBA and out of their respective systems and roles.
Jared Cunningham and Bradley Beal both rank just ahead of the bottom of the pack. Neither was asked to be a dynamic distributor for their respective teams.
Terrell Stoglin, Austin Rivers, and Tony Wroten all rank in the bottom-five here, and turned the ball over more frequently than they tallied an assist. Some of that has to do with what their coaches needed from them on the offensive end, though each player could have done a better job using the threat of their scoring ability to set the table for others.
Tomas Satoransky ranks 3rd last here, and the 6'6 Czech point guard may have brought the ball up the floor for Cajasol, but was often not ultimately functioning as his team's playmaker, which certain hurt his assist to turnover ratio.
Rebounds Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||5.7|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||4.1|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||3.6|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||3.3|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||2.9|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||2.8|
Rebounding is an important aspect of the game, and while some guards are seldom asked to head down into the paint and make their presence felt in traffic, some players, like Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook for example, have the length, athleticism, toughness, and timing to make an impact in the possession battle on the glass. With that said, it's important to recognize that some of this stat is systematic.
Bradley Beal stands out on the boards among players in this group, besting Tony Wroten by a significant margin. Beal's length and anticipation make him an excellent defensive rebounder. Often asked to play next to two other guards, Beal heeded his role as a de facto small forward, doing a great job cleaning the glass.
Tony Wroten, Damian Lillard, and Marcus Denmon all stand out among their peers as well. Wroten had an especially impressive impact on the offensive glass, pulling down 2.8 rebounds per-40 minutes pace adjusted, almost twice as many as the second ranked rebounder. Both Lillard and Denmon show a nose for the ball on the defensive end.
Kendall Marshall and Marquis Teague don't stand out here, which should come as absolutely no surprise considering they were not about to beat John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Anthony Davis, or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the ball. Both players were better served getting in position to receive the outlet pass and push the ball up the floor than fight among the trees.
Casper Ware and Andrew Albicy rank among the worst rebounders, which should come as no surprise considering their lack of size.
Steals Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||2.7|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||2.2|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||1.7|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||1.6|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||1.5|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||1.3|
A point guard's ability to apply ball pressure and get in the passing lanes often helps his team quicken the pace of the game without forcing the issue. Though there's a million ways to create a turnover, this stat paints a broad picture of what a prospect brings to the table both physically in terms of quickness and length and mentally in terms of intensity and anticipation.
Andrew Albicy's ability to pressure the ball full court is one of the most significant things to like about him. He seemed to create as least one easy layup for himself every game by picking the opposing point guard's pocket in the back court and winning the race to the rim. His size may make it more difficult for him to replicate that success against NBA level competition, but his motor leaves room for optimism. Dion Waiters was a menace at the top of the Orange zone, and it will be interesting to see how his turnover rate is impacted playing man-to-man in the NBA.
Tony Wroten, Jared Cunningham, and Dee Bost round out the top-5. Wroten's length and Cunningham's speed are both significant factors in their defensive productivity.
Among the least prolific ball-thieves in this group are Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague, and Austin Rivers. Lamb ranks particularly low here, and his lack of great speed and quickness limit his impact in the passing lanes. Teague and Rivers both seem to have the athleticism to rank higher here, but considering the system Rivers played in and the shot blockers playing behind Teague, it isn't surprising to see both of them fairly low.
Blocks Per-40 Pace Adjusted
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||0.4|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||0.2|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||0.2|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||0.2|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||0.1|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||0|
This is yet another stat that can provide some insight into the physical traits that these shooting guards use defensively.
Bradley Beal sits in a tier by himself here, just like he did in our rebounding rankings. His size, length, and commitment on the defensive end outpace the rest of this group of guards by a significant margin.
Dion Waiters, Tony Wroten, and Marquis Teague comprise the second tier of guards, though none of them were particularly prolific in that aspect of the game. Austin Rivers is probably the most surprising player to block essentially no shots this season given his length and quickness, but the disparity between the top and bottom of this list simply isn't very large.
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||72.9|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||72.7|
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||67.8|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||67.7|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||66.9|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||66.8|
Each year we see a team from NBADL or Euroleague take the top few spots in this category, and this year is no different. North Carolina and Iona and their steady point guard play give Gravelines and Olimpiacos a run for their money, but do not manage to take the top spot.
There is not as wide a spread in this group as we usually see, with Kentucky and Syracuse actually ranking significantly ahead of the teams who have occupied the final spot in these standing in previous years.
Player Efficiency Rating
|Damian Lillard||Weber State||NCAA||33.8|
|Jared Cunningham||Oregon State||NCAA||21.8|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||NCAA||20.6|
|Casper Ware||Long Beach State||NCAA||19.8|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||NCAA||17.1|
|Nemanja Nedovic||Red Star||ADRIATIC||11.5|
Another one of John Hollinger's gems, PER is a total measure of what a player does on the floor based on more than a dozen weighted calculations. It isn't wise to compare players across different leagues, though, since an average score of 15 (the median) in the NBA would be a totally different figure in another league, with its own averages. The NCAA is especially tricky considering the varying levels of competition we find in the different conferences.
Damian Lillard sits well ahead of the next tier of players in PER, some of which has to do with his level of competition. His mark bests Kyrie Irving's from last season, and is just short of those of Stephen Curry from his days at Davidson. As a point of reference, it is also only marginally ahead of those of Lester Hudson from his days at Tennessee-Martin. Lillard's billing as a small school superstar puts him in an awkward territory, as we've seen players from similar backgrounds succeed and fail over the last decade. In many ways, it will be Lillard's qualitative evaluation that will mean to the most to where he fits in the NBA, not his lofty statistics.
Dion Waiters, Marcus Denmon, and Terrell Stoglin were all tremendously valuable to their respective teams, as were J'Covan Brown and Tu Holloway, who sit just outside of the top-5.
Bradley Beal, given the relatively small role he played last season on many occasions, places well above average here too.
Marquis Teague and Austin Rivers sit just below Kendall Marshall in the bottom-five of the group.
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