Just by the Numbers: Evaluating this year's Point Guard Crop

Just by the Numbers:  Evaluating this year's Point Guard Crop
Jun 10, 2008, 01:33 am
A very integral part of basketball, statistics are both praised and scrutinized, though the numerical measure of basketball seems to become more advanced with each passing season. An NBA scout once quipped with a tone of pessimism, 'there are three types of lies. Small, white lies that don't hurt anyone, major lies and statistics." While stats certainly fail to paint the whole picture of what a player can do on the court, they have become a very valuable measure in evaluating certain aspects of the game. As statistics become more advanced, you can even start to predict where a college player might have struggled in an area because of a limited role, and it becomes easier to predict the areas where they still have upside.

We have taken a look at the point guards statistically as part one of five which will compare the top draft prospects solely by the numbers at each position. In our point guard comparison, we were unable to include Rodrigue Beaubois, Nando De Colo, and George Tsintsadze due to lack of statistic availability. When looking at each category, try to compare each graph to your own conclusions from watching the player compete in games. Also try to keep in mind the age differences of some of the players—had Derrick Rose stayed in college for another year or two, how much better would his numbers have been?

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


As you might expect, the combo-type guards with under-developed point guard skills top the point guard chart in scoring. Lester Hudson topped all point guards by scoring 26 points per game, followed by the very efficient George Hill of IUPUI. Jerryd Bayless, the biggest name towards the top of the scoring list, comes in at third with a 22.7 point per game average. Top prospect Derrick Rose ranks right towards the middle of the pack at 19.5 points per 40 minutes, which probably represents both his role as a distributor on Memphis, and the fact that his team had a number of high level scoring options as well. Russell Westbrook didn't get the boost you'd expect from adjusting his numbers to a faster pace, and ranks fourth from the bottom on the list. He came off the bench at times for UCLA, and was their third or fourth option at best when he was on the floor. Two Europeans close out the list, and we must keep in mind here that they were competing against a far superior level of competition in the Euroleague (against grown men) than the NCAA prospects here. Players that age rarely enjoy a very big role on their teams.


North Carolina guard Ty Lawson ranks as the top assist man in the point guard class, which speaks to his ability to find the open man in transition and break down the defense in the half court as well. Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo comes in second, while D.J. Augustin of Texas averaged 6.4 assists per 40 thanks to his pick and roll vision. Brian Roberts is more of a scorer than distributor, and the numbers back this up. The two European prospects on the list have a harder time earning assists thanks to stingier rules in Europe, and both rank barely above Roberts at the bottom of the list. It’s interesting to note the placement of D-League combo guard Mike Taylor, a spot ahead of Derrick Rose. Rose’s assist numbers are nothing to write home about, partially due to the type of offense Memphis plays (the dribble drive motion offense), and partially due to his just above-average court vision.


Scoring point guard Mike Taylor of the D-League was allowed to play at a very fast tempo all the time this season, and his tendency to turn the ball over puts him atop the list. Jamont Gordon of Mississippi State ranks second on the list at 4.5 turnovers per game, and Derrick Rose lands at number six thanks to his 3.5 turnovers per game (though he had the ball in his hands more than many of the guards on the list). Tywon Lawson's turnover numbers remained quite low throughout the season, despite the fact that he was allowed to play at his own pace. Jerryd Bayless turned the ball over 3.4 times per game, which isn't bad considering he was a freshman learning a new position on the fly. Mario Chalmers rarely coughed the ball up for Kansas, which tells you a lot about the improvements he’s made as a prospect over the past few years, but also indicates how rarely he was asked to go out and create offense on his own in Kansas’ system.


Again, Tywon Lawson leads the way here, taking care of the ball more effectively than any other point guard in the class. Mario Chalmers comes in second with a very respectable 2.25 assists per each turnover. Lester Hudson must improve his distribution abilities to stick in the NBA and this is reflected by his last place 1.17 assist to turnover ratio. Jerryd Bayless also must work on this area, as he ranks lower on the list than any other point guard who can be considered a lock for the first round in the draft.


John Hollinger’s pure point rating [100 x (League Pace / Team Pace) x ([(Assists x 2/3) - Turnovers] / Minutes] is considered by some to be superior way of measuring how well a point guard distributes the ball, as it rewards high volume assist gatherers over low-risk types, while docking players more who turn the ball over at a high rate. Again, Lawson ranks at the top of the list, while Rose appears in the middle of the pack. Russell Westbrook also ranks near the middle of the pack, while Jerryd Bayless and Mike Taylor both have negative PPRs.


George Hill gained more free throw attempts than any other point guard in this year's class, and he's followed closely by the very athletic and aggressive Jerryd Bayless, who averaged 8.5 free throw attempts per game. Bayless’ figure is a lot more impressive considering the level of competition he played at, and is one of the main reasons he’s so highly valued by NBA types. Derrick Rose comes in fourth on the list at 6.7 free throw attempts per 40 minutes, and Mike Taylor managed to get to the line 6 times per game coming off the bench in the D-League. Despite their athleticism, Jeremy Pargo and Russell Westbrook were only able to get 4 and 4.7 free throw attempts per game this season respectively. Mario Chalmers’ flaws as a shot-creator become more evident here.


Free throws attempted per field goal attempt is a good statistic to measure the aggressiveness of a player getting to the rim, and again George Hill and Jerryd Bayless sit closely atop the list. Derrick Rose comes in third, showing that on his moderate number of attempts from the field, he was very effective at creating contact inside. Mike Taylor's drop on this list reflects the large volume of field goals he took during the season (with many from the perimeter). Players who are average ball-handlers (like Russell Westbrook or Lester Hudson) or average athletes (like Jamar Butler or Brian Roberts) tend to rate towards the end of this list.


3-pointers per 40 minutes pace adjusted is one way of looking at the top shooters in this class, at least from a pure volume perspective. Lester Hudson made 3.8 three pointers per 40 minutes this season to head the class, and he was closely followed by Brian Roberts and Jamar Butler. Jerryd Bayless ranks as the best among the first round point guards, and he's followed closely by DJ Augustin. Most of the top point guards this year don't appear to be great shooters. Tywon Lawson and Derrick Rose barely made one three pointer per game, and Russell Westbrook and Jeremy Pargo didn't even make an average of one per game on the season. There will be legitimate concerns about how these players will be able to stretch their range out past the NBA 3-point line, when they already aren’t very prolific from behind the much closer college arc.


This stat examines how heavily a player relied on the 3-ball to score points, which might hint at some potential problems with ball-handling, athleticism, aggressiveness attacking the basket, or just their role in their team’s system. Lester Hudson and Jamar Butler relied on the long range jumper more than any other point guard in the class. Lotto picks Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook took fewer long range jumpers than any other point guards, and that was probably a smart decision for the both of them considering their accuracy from long range. Ty Lawson also sits on the bottom half of the list, while Jerryd Bayless and D.J. Augustin are in the middle of the pack. Ideally you would like to see a point guard get his points through a mixture of 3-pointers, 2-pointers, and free throw attempts, which would make him that much more difficult to guard.


Lester Hudson used his strong body and aggressiveness to rebound the ball at an amazing rate for a point guard, averaging 8 boards per 40 minutes this season, although the level of competition he did that against in the Ohio Valley Conference is somewhat suspect. Still, his hands, length, strength and toughness are all well accounted for here, despite standing just 6-1 in shoes. George Hill and Jamont Gordon also did extremely well in this area, both averaging better than 7 boards. Derrick Rose rebounded the ball surprisingly well for a guard who pushed the ball from the outlet pass at every possible opportunity. Jerryd Bayless ranks at the very bottom of this list, which is not a great sign.


Mario Chalmers leads the point guard class in steals at more than 3 per 40 minutes. Russell Westbrook can be labeled as the best defender in the group (along with Chalmers), and he sits at fourth on the list. Brian Roberts failed to even create a half a turnover per game, and Jerryd Bayless ranks towards the bottom of the list at 1.1 per game.


True shooting percentage effectively measures a player's scoring efficiency by taking free throws and three pointers into account. George Hill comes in first of all the point guards thanks to his ability to get to the free throw line and his regular shooting percentages of 54% from the field and 45% from three. Mario Chalmers ranks second at 66%, while Ty Lawson comes in third with a true shooting percentage of 63%. Derrick Rose sits in the bottom half with 57%, and Russell Westbrook ranks third to last at 54%.


Effective field goal percentage measures the difference in value between the two point and three point field goal attempt, and rewards those who can effectively shoot the long ball. As some would put it, a player who makes 4/10 3-pointers brings his team the same amount of points as someone who makes 6/10 2-pointers. Mario Chalmers leads the way here at 63%, followed closely by the 61% of George Hill. The poor three point shooting of Derrick Rose led him to shoot 52% in this category. D.J. Augustin comes in one spot after Rose, and Jerryd Bayless sits in the middle of the pack. None of the top projected prospects look like particularly efficient scorers at this point.


Points per possession can be described as a very effective measure of how efficiently a player scores on compared to the number of offensive possessions he uses. George Hill's all-around offensive abilities are reflected by his 1.26 points per possession, and Mario Chalmers comes in second at 1.25. Jerryd Bayless scored quite effectively himself, netting 1.19 points for every shot, while D.J. Augustin and Derrick Rose sit in the middle of the pack.


Player efficiency rating was created by John Hollinger to measure the overall impact of a player through statistics. The rating uses an average PER of 15 derived from the NBA which leads to inflated PERs for top college players in some cases. George Hill had a very high PER of 32.4, while Tywon Lawson led the top prospects with a PER of 24.8. Potential first pick Derrick Rose ranks very high on the list, ranking right behind Lawson at 24.1. Russell Westbrook’s 19.4 looks a bit disappointing on paper.


The "EFF" Statistic was created by the NBA to measure the overall statistical production of a player on the court. It adds up all the positive stats a player accumulates and subtracts all the negatives. For all intents and purposes, this stat makes more sense when calculated over 40 minutes rather than per game. Lester Hudson's scoring, rebounding and steals numbers put him atop the list with a 28.9 EFF rating from last season. George Hill and Ty Lawson rank second and third respectively, while Mario Chalmers and Derrick Rose round out the top 5. Again, Russell Westbrook comes up short here.


Team possessions per game tries to measure the pace a team played at by looking at the number of possessions in games. Mike Taylor played with a very up-tempo Idaho Stampede team in the NBA's D-League, and played 48 minute games rather than 40. As a result, his team had 20 more possessions per game than the next closest on the list. Tywon Lawson's Tar Heels rank second at 76.3 possessions per game, while both Goran Dragic and Mantas Kalnietis played on fast paced European squads.


This stat measures the percentage of the team's possessions used by each point guard on our list. The top of the list is headed by Lester Hudson and George Hill, two guards who were relied upon to score for their mid-major teams. D.J. Augustin and Jerryd Bayless rank the highest of the first round prospects on the list, while Derrick Rose sits in the middle of the pack. Mike Taylor's low percentage reflects the fact that he came off the bench, and Tywon Lawson has a surprisingly low number considering how high he ranks on many of our other graphs.

Recent articles

14.1 Points
1.8 Rebounds
2.2 Assists
23.9 PER
15.3 Points
2.4 Rebounds
4.8 Assists
24.4 PER
4.0 Points
0.5 Rebounds
2.5 Assists
7.0 PER
12.0 Points
3.0 Rebounds
4.0 Assists
16.9 PER
22.5 Points
4.5 Rebounds
5.3 Assists
27.0 PER
5.7 Points
2.7 Rebounds
2.1 Assists
9.7 PER
4.0 Points
3.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
13.3 PER
18.5 Points
7.4 Rebounds
7.1 Assists
14.9 PER
27.0 Points
5.4 Rebounds
9.2 Assists
29.6 PER
9.6 Points
1.9 Rebounds
3.7 Assists
7.5 PER
5.3 Points
1.3 Rebounds
1.6 Assists
9.7 PER
9.9 Points
1.7 Rebounds
3.0 Assists
14.9 PER
27.0 Points
5.7 Rebounds
5.4 Assists
24.3 PER
5.8 Points
1.8 Rebounds
1.3 Assists
5.7 PER
0.0 Points
0.0 Rebounds
0.0 Assists
0.0 PER
11.5 Points
1.6 Rebounds
2.8 Assists
12.6 PER
19.5 Points
2.5 Rebounds
2.5 Assists
23.2 PER
4.1 Points
1.2 Rebounds
4.0 Assists
13.1 PER

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop