Just by the Numbers: The 2010 Small Forward Crop

Just by the Numbers: The 2010 Small Forward Crop
Jun 22, 2010, 12:10 pm
In part three of our statistical-based analysis, we take a look at the top small forwards in the 2010 NBA draft. One of the stronger positions in this year's class, this crop of players is also one of the most diverse.

Just by the Numbers: The 2010 Shooting Guard Crop
Just By the Numbers: The 2010 Point Guard Crop

The versatility of the players and the position they play should allow us to see who really stood out amongst the crowd. Our analysis was slated to include a host of international prospects including Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Bojan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, and Rudy Jomby, but only Bjelica and Jomby remain eligible as 1988-born prospects as the others pulled their name out.

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
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA25.5
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA23.2
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA22.4
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA22.1
Damion JamesTexasNCAA21.4
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA20.4
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA20.3
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA20
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA20
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA19.9
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA19.4
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA18.9
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA18.9
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA18.7
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA18.7
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA18
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA17.8
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA16.8
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA16.8
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC15.1
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP14.5
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA14.6
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH11.5

This stat shows us how well these shooting guards put the ball in the basket, 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.

James Anderson sits in a class of his own as a scorer amongst his peers, sitting a full 2 points ahead of the next most productive player. Anderson had an incredible year at Oklahoma State, and is one of the more polished offensive talents in this group. His stock seems to be dropping at the moment due to poor workouts and an injury that has hampered him as of late, but teams would be wise not to forget just how good of a season he had as the go-to guy at Oklahoma State.

Anyone who watched Marquette play this season should not be at all surprised to see Lazar Hayward ranking second. Playing out of position all season long, Hayward's versatile skill-set and excellent work ethic quietly made him a dominant scorer in the Big East. Luke Babbitt and Quincy Pondexter put together tremendous campaigns and were both very productive despite the huge differences in their games stylistically. Damion James claims the fifth spot, showing how far he's come since taking a backseat to D.J. Augustin and Kevin Durant as a freshman.

Al-Farouq Aminu falls in the middle of the pack here, and his need to develop his offensive arsenal to move to the small forward spot full time on the next level is well documented. Gordon Hayward only edges him out by half a point despite his high skill level and the fact that he played many games this season against inferior competition. Darington Hobson and Xavier Henry both rank slightly below average, which is surprising considering Henry's small role and Hobson's prominence in New Mexico's offense.

Near the back of the pack we find Wesley Johnson, Stanley Robinson, and Devin Ebanks, all of whom had their touches limited by the talent around them on their respective Big East clubs. Any team that drafts one of these athletic small forwards will need to realize that they are for the most part role-players. Johnson will be expected to be more than that if he's drafted in the top five as expected.

Nemanja Bjelica and Rudy Jomby's collective placement here indicates how different the roles that comparably aged prospects play on the other side of the pond with respect to their NCAA peers.

Three Point Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA7.5
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA7
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA7
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH6.9
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA6.4
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA6
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA5.4
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP4.8
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA4.6
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC4.1
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA3.8
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA3.6
Damion JamesTexasNCAA3.3
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA3.1
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA3
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA3
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA2.9
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA2.7
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA2.5
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA1.6
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA1.1
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA0.5
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA0.4

This stat tells us a lot about the role these prospects played for their team, as well as the confidence they had in their perimeter shooting ability.

Based on the last table, it isn't surprising to see both James Anderson and Lazar Hayward near the top of the heap in this category too. Both players proved to be tremendous spot up shooters this season. Paul George makes his first appearance in the top-5, and is one of the smoothest operators in this group. His shot selection has a bit to do with his placement here, but he showed that he's capable of being a tremendous threat from beyond the arc as a freshman, making 46% of his attempts.

Rudy Jomby's role for Le Havre afforded him numerous catch and shoot opportunities and he was never shy about hoisting from the perimeter, even off the dribble. Rounding out the top-5 is Xavier Henry, regarded as one of, if not the, top shooter amongst lottery prospects.

Gordon Hayward sits just below the top tier, while Wesley Johnson, Darington Hobson and Damion James all sit right around average. Each of those three players could stand to improve their range to make their transition to the three spot in the NBA a bit smooth. Luke Babbitt sits surprisingly low on this list, primarily because of how many jumpers he looked to create inside the arc, particularly in the mid-range area.

Stanley Robinson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Quincy Pondexter, and Devin Ebanks all have some work to do on their perimeter shots. Marqus Blakely and Tyler Smith round out the bottom of the list, with both players spending a large part of their minutes at the four spot on the college level.

Three Point Attempts Per Field Goal Attempt
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH0.59
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA0.47
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA0.46
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA0.44
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA0.43
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC0.41
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA0.39
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP0.37
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA0.36
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA0.36
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA0.3
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA0.25
Damion JamesTexasNCAA0.22
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA0.2
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA0.2
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA0.2
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA0.19
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA0.18
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA0.18
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA0.11
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA0.1
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA0.04
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA0.04

This stat examines how heavily a player relied on the 3-ball to score points, which is more of an indicator of their role than it was for our guards, though it might tell us something about their ball-handling skills as well.

Rudy Jomby runs away with this category. The athletic French guard has solid form on his shot, and relies heavily on his ability to catch and shoot to score. The same can be said about Xavier Henry, who didn't get many chances to showcase other aspects of his game as a role player on a deep Kansas roster. Paul George, James Anderson, and Gordon Hayward post similar marks here despite the differences in their scoring numbers in our first table. That tells you just how different the usages of this season's top prospects really are.

Lazar Hayward places considerably lower here than he did on the last chart due to his number of possessions, though the majority of the top prospects in this group place identically.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Quincy Pondexter, Damion James and Stanley Robinson didn't shoot all that many 3's, and that was probably a good thing for their team.

Free Throw Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA10.2
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA9
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA8.6
Damion JamesTexasNCAA8.1
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA7.9
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA7.6
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA7.3
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA7.2
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA6.8
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA6.7
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA6.6
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA6.5
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC5.8
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA5.5
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA5.4
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA5.3
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA4.8
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA4.5
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA4.5
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP4.3
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA3.4
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA3.3
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH2

Marqus Blakely takes the top spot in this statistics by more than one full free throw per-game. He spent a lot of time in the post, which allowed him to get to the line at a much higher rate than the average small forward, particularly in the conference he played in.

James Anderson got to the line almost as often as Blakely despite operating almost exclusively from the perimeter-in, something that should raise some eyebrows when considering how skilled of a shooter he is. Elijah Millsap shares some of the same attributes as his brother Paul, including his never-back-down attitude when attacking the rim. Damion James places well here thanks in no small part to the amount of shots he received cutting to the rim and pulling down offensive rebounds. The same could have been said for Tyler Smith prior to his dismissal from Tennessee.

Many of the top small forwards place well here, including Al-Farouq Aminu, Gordon Hayward, and Quincy Pondexter. Each player got to the line at a high rate for different reasons, but few of the small forwards in this class are shy around contact.

Xavier Henry and Stanley Robinson don't look good by this metric mostly because of their relatively small roles for their respective universities. Wesley Johnson's limitations as a shot-creator are highlighted by his lack of free throw attempts.

Free Throw Attempts Per Possession
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA0.58
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA0.54
Damion JamesTexasNCAA0.45
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA0.44
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA0.43
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA0.43
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA0.42
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA0.41
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC0.41
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA0.4
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA0.38
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA0.38
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA0.36
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA0.36
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA0.3
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA0.29
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP0.28
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA0.28
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA0.28
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA0.23
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA0.22
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA0.19
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH0.17

Tyler Smith takes the top spot here in his abbreviated season under Bruce Pearl. Smith has always been an aggressive presence at the rim, but his lack of progress as a shooter kept him from blossoming as a prospect prior to his move to Turkey. Marqus Blakely high usage doesn't push him too far down this list due to just how often he marched to the charity stripe. Damion James, Gordon Hayward, and James Anderson all stay near the top of the heap, with Anderson dropping a bit because of how heavily he was relied on to score.

Devin Ebanks, Luke Babbitt, and Wesley Johnson place similarly here despite the obvious differences in their playing styles. Paul George and Xavier Henry's reliance on jump shooting rank them fairly low here, as Stanley Robinson once again ranks as the least prolific top-prospect at creating free throws. Considering how athletically Robinson finishes at the rim, some of that could be attributed to how frequently his hustle yields unguarded dunks at the rim for him and how infrequently he goes one-on-one given his lack of great ball-handling ability.

True Shooting Percentage
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA63%
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA62%
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA62%
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA61%
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA61%
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA60%
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA60%
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC60%
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA60%
Damion JamesTexasNCAA59%
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA58%
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA57%
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA57%
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA56%
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA55%
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA54%
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA53%
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA53%
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA53%
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA53%
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA52%
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP48%
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH45%

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.

No surprises here, we find the top three-point shooters near the top of our TS% rankings, along with the prospects that get to the line and generally score at a high rate. Tyler Smith's ability to draw contact at the basket earns him the top spot, while Luke Babbitt's tremendous midrange shooting ties him with the athletic Quincy Pondexter. Gordon Hayward and Wesley Johnson are the last two players in the top-5, with James Anderson placing well as he has in virtually every offensive category in sixth.

Damion James and Paul George place just below Xavier Henry, which is interesting when you consider the James was more of a combo forward, George was an explosive wing with a jumper and Henry was almost used as a shooting specialist. Al-Farouq Aminu doesn't place high here, nor does Devin Ebanks of Darington Hobson, but this crop of forwards is full of prospects capable of putting the ball in the basket at a high rate in many different situations.

Assists Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA5.4
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA5.3
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA4.3
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH3.9
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC3.7
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA3.7
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA3.7
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA3.6
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP3.4
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA3
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA2.9
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA2.8
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA2.8
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA2.4
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA2.2
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA2.2
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA2.1
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA2.1
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA2
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA2
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA1.6
Damion JamesTexasNCAA1.2
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA1.2

There are some talented passers in this group. Darington Hobson and Tyler Smith compose the top tier of passers from last season. Hobson did a nice job finding the open man from the inside and outside in a point forward type role, while Smith kept his head up when attacking the rim and had a good deal of Tennessee's offense run through him. Marqus Blakely's high basketball IQ shows here as teams in the American East conference focused their defense on stopping him. Nemanja Bjelica draws comparisons in the Balkans to Toni Kukoc, and while those are certainly exaggerated, you can start to see why here.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Damion James, and Stanley Robinson make up the bottom tier of playmakers. None of the three are particular good ball handlers and were seldom looking to pass when they received the ball. The fact that each spent quite a bit of time in catch-and-finish situations at the rim certainly doesn't help their cause either.

Turnovers Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA4.3
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA4.1
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA4
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA3.9
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA3.8
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA3.5
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC3.2
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA2.9
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP2.9
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA2.7
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA2.7
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA2.7
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA2.6
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA2.5
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA2.5
Damion JamesTexasNCAA2.4
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA2.4
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA2.4
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA2.3
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA2.2
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA2.1
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH1.9
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA1.9

The only player in the top-5 of the assist rankings that lands in the top-5 in turnovers is Marqus Blakely. Elijah Millsap heads up this list, as his aggressive slashing mentality didn't always yield positive results. Tyren Johnson also makes an appearance here, as do Paul George and Al-Farouq Aminu. Both George and Aminu have outstanding upside, but this metrics serves as a reminder that they have a lot to learn as well.

After ranking highly in the assist category, Tyler Smith ranks as the least turnover prone player in this group. Despite his off the court issues, Smith was one of the toughest and smartest competitors in the SEC. Rudy Jomby also places well. Luke Babbitt ranks surprisingly low for a high usage player and Damion James and Wesley Johnson both show well too.

Assist to Turnover Ratio
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA2.75
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH2.08
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA1.75
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA1.54
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA1.28
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP1.2
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA1.16
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC1.14
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA1.11
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA1.07
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA1.03
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA0.96
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA0.94
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA0.93
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA0.92
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA0.89
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA0.78
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA0.77
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA0.73
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA0.51
Damion JamesTexasNCAA0.48
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA0.44
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA0.41

Putting the last two tables together, we see that Tyler Smith and Rudy Jomby are the two most efficient passers in this group in addition to being amongst the most prolific. Smith's assist to turnover ratio will be outstanding for a point guard, let alone a combo forward. Da'Sean Butler makes his first appearance in the top-5, and while he hasn't stood out in many categories, he's a player that can be counted on when things matter most. Darington Hobson and Ryan Thompson round out the top-5.

The majority of the top prospects in this year's small forward crop have assist to turnover ratios below one, which is not too big of a shock. Al-Farouq Aminu, Stanley Robinson, and Damion James once again round out the bottom of this list, and won't be relied upon to set up their teammates on the next level.

Pure Point Rating
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA4.06
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH1.81
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA0.78
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA0.14
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA-0.9
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA-1.49
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP-1.49
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA-1.74
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC-2.06
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA-2.24
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA-2.27
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA-2.41
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA-2.66
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA-2.98
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA-3.04
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA-3.44
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA-3.56
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA-3.73
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA-3.94
Damion JamesTexasNCAA-4.59
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA-4.69
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA-6.98
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA-7.42

Accounting for the fact that turnovers are statistically worse than assists are positive, and for pace, Jon Hollinger's pure point rating builds on the A/TO ratio that many of us use to gauge the efficiency of points guards.

Tyler Smith leads this category by a ton, and Rudy Jomby takes second again, albeit from a distance. Butler and Hobson are the only other small forwards with a positive PPR. There aren't too many differences between this table and the last one, though Elijah Millsap sinks a bit lower thanks to how much more frequently he turned the ball over than some of the other low players.

Rebounds Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA12.8
Damion JamesTexasNCAA12.3
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA11.8
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA11
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA10.9
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA10.3
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP10
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA9.8
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA9.6
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA9.2
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA9.1
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA8.9
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA8.8
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA8.8
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA8.4
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH8.2
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA7.2
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC6.9
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA6.7
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA6.7
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA6.1
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA5.2
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA4.6

Rebounding is an important aspect of the game at any position, and having a player who possesses the length, athleticism, toughness and timing to get his team extra possessions can be a huge asset. Since many of the players on this list spent considerable time at the power forward spot in college, its important to take roles into consideration here.

Al-Farouq Aminu, unsurprisingly takes the top spot here. An excellent athlete with a great body, whatever team drafts Aminu can fully expect him to help his team on the glass from day one. Damion James ranks second, and his merits as a rebounder in the Big XII are well documented. Elijah Millsap and Marqus Blakely used their strength around the basket to pull down rebounds at a high rate. Darington Hobson rounds out the top-5, though Gordon Hayward makes a case for his versatility one spot below him.

Wesley Johnson and Luke Babbitt finish similarly here. James Anderson finishes as one of the least prolific rebounders on this list, as do Tyler Smith and Xavier Henry. Anderson and Henry are clearly more 2/3s than the players who finished above them, many of whom saw considerable time at the 4 in college. Edwin Ubiles and Ryan Thompson take the bottom two spots, despite playing in smaller conferences.

Steals Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA2.9
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA2.7
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA2.4
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC2.4
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA2.1
Damion JamesTexasNCAA2
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA2
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA2
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA2
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA1.8
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA1.7
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP1.7
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH1.7
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA1.6
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA1.5
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA1.5
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA1.4
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA1.4
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA1.3
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA1.2
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA1.1
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA1.1
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA1

A small forward's ability to 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.

Marqus Blakely finishes first here, thanks in large part to his quickness and excellent length. Paul George was almost as productive, and his tremendous physical profile should allow him to make a considerable impact in the passing lanes on the next level. Lazar Hayward has an outstanding wingspan, and he's also one of the hardest working and most fundamentally sound defenders on this list. Nemanja Bjelica is one of the tallest players on this list at 6'10, and his ability to play multiple positions overseas made him a dynamic offensive player. His outstanding physical stature for his position allows him to make his presence felt defensively too. Xavier Henry is one of the top defensive players amongst the prospects projected to go in the lottery, and he takes the fifth spot here.

Al-Farouq Aminu and Wesley Johnson both rank right around average here, with Luke Babbitt and Stanley Robinson ranking as the least dynamic small forwards in our rankings when it comes to creating turnovers. Babbitt isn't an explosive athlete, which should limit him here, but Robinson is one of the top athletes in this class, continuing a disappointing showing in virtually all categories.

Blocks Per-40 Pace Adjusted
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA2.2
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA2
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA1.7
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA1.6
Damion JamesTexasNCAA1.4
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA1.4
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA1
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA1
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA0.8
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA0.8
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA0.7
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA0.7
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA0.7
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA0.7
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC0.6
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA0.5
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA0.5
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA0.4
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP0.4
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA0.4
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA0.4
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA0.3
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH0.2

This is yet another stat that can provide some insight into the physical traits that these small forwards use defensively and where they spent most of their time defensively.

Wesley Johnson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Stanley Robinson, and Marqus Blakely rank prominently here, thanks in no small part to their terrific physical profile combined with the fact that each of them spent time defending the power forward position. Blakely is the most surprising player on the list, considering he's a share under 6'5. Clearly, his 7'1 wingspan is helping his cause. Louisiana Lafayette product Tyren Johnson makes an appearance here, another small conference combo forward, Johnson showed nice defensive versatility at the Portsmouth Invitational. Gordon Hayward and Paul George blocked shots at the same rate last season despite George's major advantage in length and leaping ability. Hayward's fundamentals are clearly at work in that similarity.

Team Possessions
NameTeamLeagueTm Pos/g
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH74.6
Damion JamesTexasNCAA74.5
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA72.8
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC72.3
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA72.1
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP71.5
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA71
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA70.6
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA70.5
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA70.1
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA69.9
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA69.8
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA68.8
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA68
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA68
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA67.9
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA67
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA66.9
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA65.4
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA65
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA64.8
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA64.8
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA64.1

No team runs away with this category like UNC did last year, but Texas, Washington Wake Forest and Syracuse all looked to use their overall talent level to push the tempo and overwhelm opponents. Marquette, Butler, and West Virginia play at similarly slow paces, but feature much different types of athletes. As opposed to last year where we saw some of the top prospects like Demar DeRozan and Chase Budinger coming from slow systems, most of the top players in this class played at a 70 possessions per-game or more pace, excluding Paul George and Gordon Hayward.

Player Efficiency Rating
Marqus BlakelyVermontNCAA30.8
James AndersonOklahoma StateNCAA29.1
Damion JamesTexasNCAA28.6
Quincy PondexterWashingtonNCAA28.2
Luke BabbittNevadaNCAA27.6
Lazar HaywardMarquetteNCAA26.4
Tyler SmithTennesseeNCAA26.1
Paul GeorgeFresno StateNCAA25.4
Wesley JohnsonSyracuseNCAA25.4
Gordon HaywardButlerNCAA24.9
Tyren JohnsonLouisiana-LafayetteNCAA24.5
Darington HobsonNew MexicoNCAA24
Al-Farouq AminuWake ForestNCAA23.6
Da'Sean ButlerWest VirginiaNCAA23.1
Xavier HenryKansasNCAA21.9
Elijah MillsapUABNCAA21.4
Stanley RobinsonConnecticutNCAA20.7
Devin EbanksWest VirginiaNCAA20.3
Ryan ThompsonRiderNCAA20
Edwin UbilesSienaNCAA19.1
Nemanja BjelicaCrvena zvezdaADRIATIC17.8
Nemanja BjelicaRed StarEUROCUP15.7
Rudy JombyLe HavreFRENCH12.7

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.

Marqus Blakely, unsurprisingly, has the highest PER in this group. Spending a considerable amount of time down low on the offensive and defensive ends, Blakely has been a dominant player in the American East for years now. Finishing just behind the Vermont product are Big XII stars Damion James and James Anderson. James' prolific rebounding ability helps him here, but Anderson comes as a bit of a surprised considering his perimeter orientation. PER likes high-usage/high-efficiency players, though, and Anderson was precisely that at Oklahoma State. Rounding out the top-5 are Quincy Pondexter and Luke Babbitt, who play radically different styles, but still got the job done for their teams out West.

Wesley Johnson, Gordon Hayward, Xavier Henry, and Al-Farouq Aminu all fall in the middle of the pack, having the luxury of not always having to carry their teams during the regular season. Paul George stacks up well here, but wasn't quite as prolific as some of the other west-coast prospects, especially on the glass.

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop