Just By the Numbers: the 2011 Big Men Crop

Just By the Numbers: the 2011 Big Men Crop
Jun 21, 2011, 12:36 pm
In our third analysis of basic statistics, we take a look at the top 20 big men in the 2011 NBA draft.

-Situational Statistics: the 2011 Big Men Crop
-Just by the Numbers: the 2011 Forward Crop
-Situational Statistics: the 2011 Forward Crop
-Just by the Numbers: the 2011 Guard Crop
- Situational Statistics: the 2011 Guard Crop

This group of big men is right on par with the depth we saw at the power forward and center positions last season. It features a slew of high-level European prospects who could land in the lottery including Bismack Biyombo, Jonas Valanciunas, and Donatas Motiejunas, but an interesting blend of upperclassmen, undersized scorers, and multi-faceted near 7-footers. Tristan Thompson is the only one-and-done player in this group, which may be the strongest we've looked at thus far.

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.

Point Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA23.5
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA23.2
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN22.4
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA21.4
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA21.4
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA20.5
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA20.4
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA20.3
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO20.3
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA19.9
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA19.3
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA19.3
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB19.2
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO18.6
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO18
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC17.4
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA16.7
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP16.1
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA15.1
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB14.6

This stat tells us plainly how skilled these big man are at putting points on the board, adjusting for minutes played and pace, which levels the playing field as best as we can without taking competition-level, individual team roles, and teammates into consideration.

JaJuan Johnson spent last summer improving his body and skill level, and beats out Marcus Morris because of how heavy of an option he was for Purdue, along with his polish. Morris is the more prolific interior scorer of the two, but Johnson's midrange game really came around this season to the point that he's the top scoring big man in a deep group.

We seldom see international players high on these ranks, especially ones as young as Donatas Motiejunas, but the Lithuanian big man is Benetton's top interior option and an incredibly skilled offensive player, both of which play a role in his ranking.

Markieff Morris took some giant steps forward on the offensive end with Cole Aldrich out of the picture and finished tied for fourth with Trey Thompkins, who is amongst the most talented scorers on this list.

Amongst first round prospects, Kenneth Faried and Nikola Vucevic could not be more different as players, but scored at an almost identical rate. Jonas Valanciunas didn't see extensive minutes in the EuroLeague, but he was more prolific than some of his counterparts in the college game when he was on the floor. His motor and ability to finish around the rim certainly helped him make the most of his opportunities.

Tristan Thompson ranks in the bottom-five here, as does Donatas Motiejunas in EuroCup competition. The EuroCup was a unique challenge for Motiejunas who had some great games and some not so great ones. Thompson simply was not as high usage as his lofty draft status would suggest, and he's still looking to fill out aspects of his repertoire, including his midrange jumper, free throw shooting and ability to score with his back to the basket.

Greg Smith and Bismack Biyombo are physical freaks with tremendous upside. Unfortunately, neither is a polished offensive product at this point, with Smith's production coming against significantly worse competition.

Three Point Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO4.2
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB3.8
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA3.2
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA2.9
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA2.8
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA2.7
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN2.6
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA2.4
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP2.4
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA1.7
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA0.7
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO0.7
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC0.2
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA0
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO0
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA0
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA0
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA0
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA0
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB0

This stat tells us what spots on the floor these bigmen occupied in their respective roles. Some of these players are more power forwards than centers, and some will be capable of stretching the floor at the next level.

Nikola Mirotic's buyout is problematic, but he had an extremely productive season for a player his age in the EuroLeague, posting very respectable numbers for Real Madrid. He showed the ability to knock down the international three at a solid rate, and could help spread the floor in the NBA should he ever make the trip across the pond. Trey Thompkins takes the third spot, and is one of the more perimeter oriented power forwards on this list, though he's followed by a legit 7-footer in Nikola Vucevic, who we saw shoot the lights out in a workout in Los Angeles a few months ago. Jamie Skeen rounds out the top-5, and his ability to his perimeter shots is important to his stock considering his limitations athletically.

Marcus and Markieff Morris are radically different players, but the twins went attempt for attempt from beyond the arc last season. Donatas Motiejunas joined them in the middle of our rankings along with JaJuan Johnson.

Bismack Biyombo, Tristan Thompson, Jonas Valanciunas, and Kenneth Faried did not shoot almost any three-pointers last season, and aren't likely to be stepping out to that range any time soon. Valanciunas has the best form among those four players, and his shooting from the charity stripe leaves room for optimism. All are known for their interior prowess , which is what makes them attractive to NBA teams.

Free Throw Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA9.3
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA8.2
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA8.1
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA7.9
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA7.9
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB7.7
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA7.6
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO7.6
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA7
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN6.9
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP6.6
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA6.6
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA6.3
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC6.3
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA5.7
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA5.2
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA4.6
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO4.6
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB4
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO3.8

Free throws attempted per-40 minutes is a good statistic to measure the aggressiveness and physicality with which these big men play around the rim. It is also an indirect measure of their post and perimeter usages, since players seeing the ball down low one-on-one will get to the line far more frequently than the bigs roaming the perimeter.

The top player in this metric is Texas freshman Tristan Thompson, and by no small margin. Thompson is a unique talent, who can put the ball on the floor and make straight line drives to the rim, possesses terrific length, and is extremely athletic. When he was aggressive last season, he had no trouble creating contact around the rim.

Kenneth Faried is one of the most physical players in this group, while few players used their bodies in post-up situations as well as Jamie Skeen. He isn't a great leaper, but he's strong and uses fakes well under the basket.

Keith Benson and Jordan Williams round out the top-5. Benson had moments of brilliance on the offensive end, and has developed considerably in recent seasons. Williams was a bull around the rim in the ACC, but has lost a considerable amount of weight and focused on improving his jumper in recent months. It is interesting to see a lanky leaper like Benson and a ground-and-pound player like Williams finish deadlocked here. Obviously, strength and athleticism are not always a factor when it comes to drawing fouls.

Bismack Biyombo finishes just outside of the top-5 here despite lacking a developed post arsenal. In his role at Fuenlabrada, he's simply too athletic to not draw fouls at a high rate. A limited foul shooter, he's certainly been hacked a few times to force him to earn his points at the line too. Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris go in opposite direction here, mostly because Marcus was the one with the ball in his hands most frequently. Donatas Motiejunas holds down the middle of our list, and his footwork allows him to get to the line at a solid rate. He's improved his frame this year, and when he's aggressive, he can be very difficult to defend because of his combination of length, touch, and agility.

Near the bottom of our list we find Trey Thompkins. Nikola Mirotic, and Nikola Vucevic. The time they spent out on the perimeter is clearly a limiting factor here. Jonas Valanciunas and Vernon Macklin also sit low on this list, primarily because of their fairly low usage rates. Valanciunas was not a featured threat for Rytas, while Macklin brought interior toughness to a fairly balanced Florida attack.

Free Throw Attempts Per Possession
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA0.6
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB0.52
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA0.5
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO0.5
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA0.48
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA0.47
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA0.47
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA0.46
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC0.42
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA0.41
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN0.4
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP0.39
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA0.36
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA0.36
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA0.34
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO0.28
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA0.27
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA0.26
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO0.26
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB0.26

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.

Tristan Thompson again takes the top spot, getting to the line better than every other possession he used. Bismack Biyombo jumps up here thanks to have relatively low usage rate, as does Giorgi Shermadini and Greg Smith. Shermadini is a skilled 7-footer who is making an impact at a high-level for the first time. Smith, like Biyombo, benefits from his low usage rate and has a simply tremendous frame.

Kenneth Faried, the Morris twins, and Donatas Motiejunas all fall within roughly 0.15 free throw attempts per-possession of one another. All four players will shoot their fair share of free throws at the next level, but get to the line in very different ways.

At the bottom of our list we find Nikola Mirotic again. We easily could have placed him in our forward rankings with his skill level from the perimeter, which plays against him here, but at 6'10 with a solid frame, he's got the size to develop into an ideal stretch four and lacks the foot speed to defend the three at the NBA level. The rest of the players at the bottom of our list match those on the last one.

True Shooting Percentage
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO75%
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO74%
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC71%
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA65%
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA63%
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA63%
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB63%
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA62%
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN61%
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO61%
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA59%
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA58%
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA58%
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA58%
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB57%
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA57%
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA56%
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA55%
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA54%
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP50%

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. A player who makes 4/10 3-pointers obviously contributes the same amount of points as a player who made 6/10 2-pointers—which doesn't show up in the traditional field goal percentage stat. This stat attempts to adjust for that.

Jonas Valanciunas's small role and ability to finish around the basket and knock down free throws actually places him ahead of Derrick Williams's true shooting. Giorgi Shermadini also surpasses Williams, and the two euro big men both did a phenomenal job in the pick and roll last season for their respective teams. Markieff Morris, Kenneth Faried, and Marcus Morris are the other players ranking the top-5, and as we've seen in previous metrics, the Morris twins get the job done in a number of different ways. Faried was simply too active and athletic not to have been efficient in the OVC.

Donatas Motiejunas ranks on two different ends of the true shooting spectrum, showing how his consistency wavered in the EuroCup at times. Joining him in the bottom-5 are Trey Thompkins, Tristan Thompson, Jordan Williams, and JaJuan Johnson. Johnson and Thompkins were the more skilled offensive players of that quartet last season, but none of the players in that group were especially efficient in the fairly large roles they played for their respective teams.

Offensive Rebounds Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA6.8
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA4.9
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO4.8
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA4.3
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB4.3
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA4.2
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA3.7
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO3.6
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA3.5
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA3.4
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA3
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA3
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN3
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP3
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB3
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA2.9
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO2.9
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA2.8
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC2.6
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA2.4

Considering there are players who have built decade long careers just by virtue of their ability to rebound the ball, the value of this metric is obvious. Offensive rebounding is particularly relevant to big men.

Kenneth Faried ranks as one of the best rebounders we've ever covered. The All-Time leading rebounder in NCAA history, Faried is relentless pursuing the ball. He's in a tier by himself on this list for fairly obvious reasons.

Thristan Thompson ranks first amongst the second tier of players, followed by Jonas Valanciunas, Markieff Morris, and Bismack Biyombo. All of those players will make an impact on the glass at the next level, which is important since they'll need playing time to develop other aspects of their arsenals.

Marcus Morris ranks in the middle of the pack here, which is encouraging considering he spent quite a bit of time playing on the perimeter offensively.

Amongst the bottom-5 we find two European players in Giorgi Shermadini, who was better in the EuroLeague, and Nikola Mirotic, who didn't spend too much time in the paint for Real Madrid. JaJuan Johnson and Greg Smith are the biggest surprises in the bottom-5, since both hand the length and athleticism to make an impact crashing the boards.

Trey Thompkins is an obvious power forward at the next level, and his lack of tremendous leaping ability and the fact that he spent so much time away from the rim play against him here.

Defensive Rebounds Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA10.4
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO9.8
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA9.3
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA8.9
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA8.8
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA8.4
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC8.1
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA7.6
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA7.5
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB7
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA7
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA6.8
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA6.3
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO6
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB5.9
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA5.3
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP5.3
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA5.1
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO4.8
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN4.6

Kenneth Faried doesn't just get it done on the offensive end, he's an elite defensive rebounder too, but Jonas Valanciunas finishes in a close second. Considering he was getting it done against significantly stronger competition, Valanciunas actually projects as the better defensive rebounder.

Jordan Williams, Nikola Vuecevic and Markieff Morrris rank highly here, and use their size and bulk well to box out and secure the ball off the rim.

Amongst top prospects, Donatas Motiejunas ranks very poorly here, as does Tristan Thompson, and both players will have to answer questions about this aspect of their game at the next level.

Trey Thompkins fares much better here, jumping up above average, as does Greg Smith. Though neither player pulls down too many offensive boards, both can take up space and make an impact on the defensive glass.

Steals Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA2.3
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN1.9
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB1.6
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA1.5
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA1.4
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP1.3
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC1.2
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA1.2
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA1.2
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO1.2
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA1.1
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA1
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA0.9
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB0.8
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO0.8
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA0.8
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA0.7
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO0.6
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA0.6
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA0.6

This stat tells us about how scrappy these big men are in recovering loose balls.

Kenneth Faried leads this group once again, unsurprisingly. Faried is incredibly scrappy, and that is represented here. Donatas Motiejunas wouldn't be tabbed as a scrappy player, but he does do a nice job using his length, agility and instincts in forcing turnovers. Nikola Mirotic, Greg Smith, and Trey Thompkins round of the top-5.

Amongst top prospects, Bismack Biyombo, Tristan Thompson and the Morris twins all rank above 1 steal per-40 minute pace adjusted.

The bottom-5 includes Jordan Williams, Jamie Skeen, and Vernon Macklin. They are joined by near 7-footers Jonas Valanciunas and Nikola Vucevic. Clearly, traditional big men don't come up with a ton of steals, especially those that spend most of their time battling underneath the basket.

Blocks Per-40 Pace Adjusted
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB5.2
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA4.1
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA3.1
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA2.8
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA2.7
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO2.6
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC2.4
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA2.2
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA1.8
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO1.7
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA1.6
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA1.6
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA1.5
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO1.4
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA1.3
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA1.2
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB0.9
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP0.9
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA0.9
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN0.6

Blocked shots don't always play a huge role in the outcome of a game, but they are an indicator of a big man's defensive presence.

Bismack Biyombo leads this group, and there is a clear gap between him and Keith Benson, and Benson and the rest of the pack. Biyombo is a one-of-a-kind prospect who was playing in Yemen just two years ago. He comes up with a ton of blocked shots thanks to his ridiculous wingspan and quick leaping ability, but adjusts quite a few shots as well as we saw in the Hoop Summit.

Benson made major strides as a player during his career at Oakland, and is among the more physically gifted big men in this class. He's faced some questions about his motor in the past, but he's a presence rotating over from the weakside when he wants to be, especially in the Summit league.

Tristan Thompson, Kenneth Faried, and JaJuan Johnson used their wingspans effectively to deny would be scorers around the rim at the college leve, while Giorgi Shermadini is our top ranked central European shot blocker.

Amongst top prospects, Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas fall fairly far apart despite being roughly the same height. Valanciunas's motor definitely gives him an edge over Motiejunas on the defensive end.

Assists Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA2.2
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA2.2
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA2.2
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA2
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA1.9
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA1.8
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO1.6
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA1.6
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB1.4
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN1.4
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA1.4
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO1.3
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA1.3
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC1.2
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA1.2
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA1.1
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP1.1
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB0.7
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA0.7
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO0.6

This metric tells us which big men in this draft are most capable of moving the ball out of the post.

There are no Greg Monroe's in this group, but the Morris twins did a nice job hitting the open man for Kansas. Greg Smith was often the focus of opposing defenses playing next to a young backcourt, and he did a solid job passing the ball as well. Jamie Skeen and Nikola Vucevic round out our top-5.

There is not too much to say about the top prospects in this group. Bismack Biyombo, Kenneth Faried, and Jonas Valanciunas were never put in situations where they would need to make smart passes, while Donatas Motiejunas, and Tristan Thompson both possess pretty average court vision.

Jordan Williams and JaJuan Johnson posted the lowest assist numbers amongst college players and were looking to score whenever they touched the ball around the basket.

Turnovers Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA2.2
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA2.2
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA2.2
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA2
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA1.9
Howard ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA1.8
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA1.6
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO1.6
Leon RadosevicCibona ZagrebEURO1.6
Leon RadosevicCibona ZagrebADRIATIC1.5
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA1.4
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN1.4
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB1.4
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA1.3
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO1.3
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA1.2
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC1.2
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA1.1
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP1.1
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA0.7
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB0.7
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO0.6

Despite ranking amongst the most prolific passers in this group, Bismack Biyombo and Jonas Valanciunas were amongst the most turnover prone. Biyombo will need to improve his feel for the game on the offensive as he gains experience, and Valanciunas will need to get stronger to maintain possession and finish in traffic. Giorgi Shermadini, Trey Thompkins and Markieff Morris round out the top-5. Thompkins was the highest usage player in that group, and it is interesting to see Markieff rank ahead of Marcus Morris who handled the ball significantly more often.

Amongst the least turnover prone players in our ranks, we find Tristan Thompson, Nikola Vuecevic, JaJuan Johnson, and Jordan Williams. Johnson and Williams may not be great passers, but they aren't coughing up the ball regularly either.

Team Possesions
NameTeamLeagueTm Pos/g
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN75
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO74.3
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB73.3
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA72.9
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP72.2
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA71.8
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO71.4
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC70.9
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB70.9
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA69.9
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA69.9
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO69.4
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA68.2
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA68.2
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA66.1
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA66
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA65.8
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA65.3
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA64.8
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA64.3

Unlike the team possessions rankings in our forwards article, the spread here is not too great. Donatas Motiejunas played for the fastest pace team, and its interesting to note the disparity between the pace his team played at in the EuroCup and the Italian League. The same can be said for Giorgi Shermadini and Slovenian Union Olimpija.

Amongst college teams, Oakland played at the fastest pace likely aiming to use Benson's presence to their advantage as much as possible in the Summit League. They were knocked out of the tournament by Texas, who ranks just below average here.

The two slowest paced teams were Morehead State and USC. Kenneth Faried may not have played at a frenetic pace in college, but he has the physical tools to fit seamlessly into an up-tempo system in the NBA where he can use his motor and speed. Nikola Vucevic was tailor-made for USC's slow paced offense, and his size and skill level make him an interesting prospect to teams who like to slow it down at the NBA level.

Finally, we get to make our annual observation about the pace of NBADL. Some 24 possessions per-game faster than the next closest team represented by a prospect on this list, Jamine Peterson and the New Mexico T-Birds run away with the show here. Considering the pace his team played at, it wasn't surprising to see Peterson ranked in the bottom-5 in a number of categories. Being a young player on a team of pros, he would have probably fared better in some metrics if he were still competing in the NCAA.

Washington makes its third straight top-5 appearance in these ranks, and it is worth noting that the team had prospects at a few positions, with Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning making it worth Lorenzo Romar having his guards push tempo. Chalon and DKV Joventut represent the international contingent from France and Spain respectively, while Duquesne is the top small school on our list.

Duke ranks exactly average, while Florida State, Tennessee, and Arizona all fall within the same range. Clearly, pace is only a factor insofar as it caters to the role of the players competing at it. The major outlier on this list is Wisconsin, who runs one of the notably slower offenses in the NCAA. Focusing on execution, Bo Ryan runs one of the most disciplined offensive systems in all of college basketball.

Player Efficiency Rating
Kenneth FariedMorehead StateNCAA34.7
Marcus MorrisKansasNCAA29.4
Markieff MorrisKansasNCAA29.2
JaJuan JohnsonPurdueNCAA28.9
Keith BensonOaklandNCAA28.8
Nikola VucevicUSCNCAA27.3
Jonas ValanciunasLietuvos RytasEURO25.9
Jordan WilliamsMarylandNCAA25.4
Jamie SkeenVirginia CommonwealthNCAA25.4
Tristan ThompsonTexasNCAA23.9
Trey ThompkinsGeorgiaNCAA23.9
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaEURO23.4
Nikola MiroticReal MadridACB23
Nikola MiroticReal MadridEURO22.2
Vernon MacklinFloridaNCAA21.8
Greg SmithFresno StateNCAA21.6
Bismack BiyomboBaloncesto FuenlabradaACB20.3
Giorgi ShermadiniUnion OlimpijaADRIATIC20.1
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton TrevisoITALIAN19.3
Donatas MotiejunasBenetton BwinEUROCUP13.2

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) 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.

Kenneth Faried has the highest PER amongst college prospects in our database because he owned the boards at such and unbelievable rate that he was able to compensate for his lack of production in other areas completely.

The Morris twins finish with almost identical PERs, and both players had tremendous seasons. JaJuan Johnson and Keith Benson round out the top-5, and are likely being looked at by many of the same teams. Johnson has more perimeter game, but Benson had a bigger impact defensively. Both players need to continue gaining weight, and are among the more intriguing upperclass bigmen in this draft.

We find our top prospects a bit closer to the bottom of our list, mostly because they come from European teams and players on clubs from different leagues post radically different ranges of PERs compared to their collegiate counterparts. Jonas Valanciunas finishes with the top mark amongst European players, while Donatas Motiejunas can be found closer to the bottom of our list. Clearly, playing the role of first-option doesn't guarantee a high PER in the European game, especially if you are a poor rebounder.

Bismack Biyombo places fairly low here because of his lack of great offensive ability, though Nikola Mirotic does not finish all that far ahead of him despite being a far more polished talent. They both rank very highly in PER in their own respective league, which shows how difficult it is to compare NCAA players with their European counterparts using this stat.

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