Just by the numbers...Evaluating this Year's Center Crop

Just by the numbers...Evaluating this Year's Center Crop
Jun 25, 2007, 02:13 am
Just by the numbers (Part One)...Evaluating this Year's Point Guard Crop

Just by the numbers (Part Two)...Evaluating this Year's Shooting Guard Crop

Just by the numbers (Part Three)...Evaluating this Year's Small Forward Crop

Just by the numbers (Part Four)...Evaluating this Year's Power Forward Crop

Statistics are an important measure used by NBA teams to assist in evaluating prospects. When scouting players, it can be helpful to examine the stats to see if they back up your observations of a player on the court.

The Centers compose the final look at the statistical break down of the 5 positions, and once the international centers were eliminated, there were 12 left to write about. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to include international stats in this breakdown, thus Tiago Splitter, Kyrylo Fesenko, Marc Gasol, Stanko Barac, and Ali Traore have been excluded from this comparison.

Before looking through the following piece, it may be helpful to first examine the DraftExpress Stat Legend composed by Noah Libby-Haines to gain a better understanding of the statistics used.

All the applicable stats have been changed to account for pace of play and adjusted to 40 minutes to provide an equal ground to compare players. Keep in mind that level of competition, a player’s role in his team’s system, and age differentials (ie: freshman vs. seniors) mean that these numbers always have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Interested in making your own statistical comparisons? You can do so here.

Points Per Game


Despite the criticism surrounding his offensive game, Greg Oden proved to be the best scorer of the extremely weak center class, thanks to a strong end of the season. Seniors Kyle Visser and Aaron Gray rank second and third on the list. Sean Williams struggled to put the ball in the basket despite his improved offensive game, and Darryl Watkins ranked towards the bottom of the list despite his terrific physical tools.

Points Per Possession


Greg Oden used his possessions more effectively than the other players at his position, while Kyle Visser also excelled in this area. James Hughes ranks surprisingly high despite his limitations in the post. Ian Vouyoukas has already signed a contract to return to Greece.

Free Throws Attempted Per Field Goal Attempt


This stat can be effective in measuring which players decide can effectively draw contact in the post. Kyle Visser and Sean Williams drew more free throw attempts than any of the other centers, thanks to their combination of athleticism and activity level, while Spencer Hawes ranks last by a decent margin on the list, something that should concern some NBA GM’s.

Blocks Per Game


Sean Williams was a terror on the defensive end during his shortened season, and the stats reflect the explosive athletic ability and instincts that is making NBA decision makers want to forget his off the court problems. Greg Oden and Darryl Watkins follow Williams as the next best shot-blockers. Spencer Hawes again ranks amongst the worst in this category.

Blocks Per Foul


This stat was designed to measure the effectiveness of a shot-blocker who has the ability to block the ball cleanly against the player who picks up a lot of fouls trying to block everything. Williams and Oden both use athleticism and length to get the ball cleanly, while Courtney Sims was often limited because of foul trouble.

True Shooting Percentage


Created by John Hollinger, True Shooting Percentage was designed to measure the all around efficiency of a scorer. It can be calculated by using the formula: TS% = Pts/(2*(FGA + (.47*FTA). Greg Oden was more efficient by this measure as well, and Spencer Hawes ranks surprisingly low on this list. Oden, Hughes and Visser had a tendency to stick to what they do best, which kept their shooting percentages high.

Turnovers Per Game


Courtney Sims and Ian Vouyakas both struggled with their decision making out of the post, and come in as the two most turnover-prone centers. Greg Oden ranks in the middle of the list, while Darryl Watkins rarely turned the ball over this season. Hawes’ trend of disturbing stats continues.

Rebounds Per Game


Aaron Gray rebounded the ball more effectively than the other centers at the college level in this very important stat, with Greg Oden coming in second. Sean Williams and Spencer Hawes are both atrocious rebounders, something that has to weigh heavily when considering their size, athleticism and projected draft position.

Team Rebound Percentage


A pair of small conference guys in Brian Cusworth and Chaz Crawford collected a higher percentage of their teams’ rebounds thanks to the lesser size of the opposing players. Greg Oden ranks third on the list, followed by Aaron Gray. Spencer Hawes’ numbers may have been affected by the strong rebounding of Jon Brockman.

Assists Per Game


Spencer Hawes displayed a great feel for the game this year, and this is reflected by his assist numbers. Aaron Gray ranks atop the list with Hawes, while it looks like Oden must improve his ability to pass from the post according to this chart.

Player Efficiency Rating


Player Efficiency Rating, also created by John Hollinger, was designed to measure the overall statistical effectiveness of each player. PER may not be the best stat to use to compare college players, however, as it does not distinguish between level of competition, as Noah Libby-Haines explains.

Greg Oden impacted the game statistically more than any other center, followed by Aaron Gray and Kyle Visser. Sean Williams does pretty well here considering his limited offensive game. Darryl Watkins looks disappointing relative to his physical tools.



Efficiency is a calculation generated by the NBA to determine the statistical effectiveness of a player. They use the formula EFF = ((PTs + ORs + DRs + Stls + Asts + Blks): ((FGA: FG) + (FTA: FT) + Tos))/g to compute this statistic. Greg Oden proved to be the center who was best at racking up various stats, followed by Harvard’s Brian Cusworth. The typical suspects rank towards the bottom.

Efficiency Per 40 Minutes


The traditional EFF statistic measures what is produced by a player, while the EFF per 40 measures the same statistics while taking minutes into consideration. This allows for the evaluation of potential while looking at a players' all-around contribution. Greg Oden’s numbers take a nice jump after the minutes are adjusted, and Aaron Gray now ranks second.

Win Score per 40 Minutes


Win Score is a stat recently added to our database at DraftExpress, and was created by David Berri. The statistic is calculated using the formula: PTS + TRB + STL + .5* BLK + .5*AST - FGA - .5*FTA - TO - .5*PF / Min * 40. Greg Oden apparently did not appear in the NCAA Championship for nothing. Aaron Gray continues to rank out very well in most of the statistical categories. Spencer Hawes and Sean Williams do not rank anywhere near as high as they do on most mock drafts.

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