Just by the numbers...Evaluating this Year's Small Forward Crop

Just by the numbers...Evaluating this Year's Small Forward Crop
Jun 16, 2007, 01:19 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

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 small forwards compose the third look at the statistical break down of the 5 positions, and the top 20 at each position will be included. Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to include international stats in this breakdown, thus Joao Gomes, Jonas Maciulis, and Marko Tomas 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


Freshman sensation Kevin Durant tops the scoring list of 20 small forward prospects. Two fifth year seniors, Alando Tucker and Al Thornton follow Durant on the list, both scoring in bunches as the top options on their team this season. Cartier Martin came off the bench for Kansas State for over half the season and his numbers benefit from the 40 minute adjustment.

Points Per Possession


Justin Cage scored the least points per game of the small forward prospects, but was the most efficient at putting the ball in the basket when he did score. Jared Dudley scored at a nice rate, but also took advantage of his touches efficiently thanks to the ability to draw contact and shoot the 3 at the college level. Kevin Durant scored on many field goal attempts but still managed to remain in the top 5 on this list.

What do all the players at the bottom of this list have in common? They all have plenty of work to do on their ball-handling skills. Particularly Julian Wright, Thaddeus Young, Corey Brewer and Wilson Chandler.

Three Pointers Attempted Per Field Goal Attempt


This stat is an indicator of which players’ offense relies heavily on their three point shooting. Demetris Nichols of Syracuse scored most of his points off three point jumpers, and appears that he could become the specialist type here in the NBA. Derrick Byars and Cartier Martin also relied on a high volume of three point shots to score, while the last 11 players on the list are predominantly power forwards who are making or have made the transition out to the wing.

Free Throws Attempted Per Field Goal Attempt


This stat can be effective in measuring which players decide to attack the basket frequently rather than settling for outside jump-shots. Justin Cage again ranks at the top of this list, showing the highest rate of getting inside and drawing contact when looking to score. Jared Dudley also gets to the line at a great rate, as does Dominic McGuire. Dudley does it with his smarts, McGuire with his quickness. Thaddeus Young ranks last of the 20 small forward prospects despite his terrific strength and athletic ability, again reminding us of the concerns revolving around his toughness, ball-handling skills and willingness to use his physical tools inside.

Three Point Field Goal Percentage


Reyshawn Terry, Al Thornton, and Jared Dudley were the best three point shooters percentage-wise at 44%. Kevin Durant took the third most three pointers of the prospects, and still managed to shoot 40% on the season. Julian Wright’s shooting ability has been questioned throughout his college career, and he only managed to shoot 23% from long range this season. Mohamed Abukar really looks like a poor shooter on paper for a guy who is billed to be almost strictly a shooting specialist at the next level.

Effective Field Goal Percentage


Effective Field Goal percentage was created by Mike Dunleavy to measure the percentage difference in value between two point and three point shots. This stat generally rewards players who shoot a high number of three pointers with success. Jared Dudley leads the way here, with Justin Cage closely behind. Wilson Chandler struggled with a streaky shot this season, and ranks second to the bottom on this list. Shot selection and/or poor touch from behind the arc generally becomes an issue as we move farther down this list.

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). Justin Cage and Jared Dudley both top this list again, thanks to a disciplined shot selection over the course of the season. The same typical suspects continue to find themselves at the bottom.

Turnovers Per Game


Dominic McGuire turned the ball over more frequently than any of the other small forwards, though this should improve as he becomes more accustomed to attacking and adjusting near the basket. Durant was relied upon more than any other scoring option in the nation, and only turned the ball over 3 times per game despite all of his touches. Jared Dudley kept his turnover numbers low as well. Justin Cage continues to impress with the way he stuck to his role this year. He looks like a consummate role player by his stats.

Rebounds Per Game


Kevin Durant proved to be one of the top rebounder in the nation all season, and he tops the list of small forward prospects, despite being “the worst athlete in the draft” (snicker). Dominic McGuire also shows good rebounding instincts and his toughness and freakish leaping ability helps him in this area. Julian Wright spent a good amount of time at power forward, and used his long arms and vertical jump to rebound the ball effectively. Demetris Nichols ranked last in rebounds, and will need to show some desire here to become a better all-around player. Derrick Byars and Thaddeus Young also showed a concerning lack of toughness in the paint despite having nice physical tools at their disposal.

Assists Per Game


Jeff Green handled the ball for Georgetown frequently this season, and his cerebral style of play led to many assists for the junior forward. Derrick Byars also dished the ball well to the open man within Vanderbilt’s Princeton offense, an ability which really helped him in the NCAA tournament. Corey Brewer also showed a very good feel with the ball in his hands, averaging just over 4 assists per game. Dominic McGuire, Julian Wright and Jared Dudley’s versatility begins to come out in this stat. Al Thornton was never thought to have a great feel for the game and still doesn’t average 1 assist per game when his numbers are adjusted per 40 minutes, which tells us a bit about how poor his teammates were, but also about some potential concerns that might arise regarding his ability to adjust to not being the “man” at the next level.

Assist To Turnover Ratio


Derrick Byars was the best decision maker with the ball in his hands of the small forward prospects. Green also fares well here, and Alando Tucker ranks third on the list. Kevin Durant ranks towards the bottom of the list, as his job was essentially to score the ball off of every touch, similar to Al Thornton, who still comes off considerably worse than Durant.

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.

Towards the top of the list, we see many of the elite scorers, including Kevin Durant, Al Thornton, Alando Tucker, and Jared Dudley, all of whom were above average in other aspects of the game as well. Mohamed Abukar and Quinton Hosley land at the bottom, as their poor shooting is not compensated well enough by the other parts of their game.



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. This graph looks to be a good summary of the top contributors for their teams this year, with freshman Kevin Durant at the top by a very large margin. Jared Dudley and Dominic McGuire again rank near the top thanks to their terrific versatility. Alando Tucker ranks surprisingly low on this list, as does Corey Brewer, while Reyshawn Terry is dead last.

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. Julian Wright benefits from the per-40 minute adjustment, moving to third on the list. Reyshawn Terry moved up to 6th on the list. With the minute adjustment, players who produced well on loaded teams seemed to benefit the most.

Win Score per 40 Minutes


Win Score is a stat recently added to our database at DraftExpress, created by David Berri, author of the book “The Wages of Wins”. The statistic is calculated using the formula: PTS + TRB + STL + .5* BLK + .5*AST - FGA - .5*FTA - TO - .5*PF / Min * 40. Kevin Durant tops this list by an incredible margin as well, with Julian Wright and Jared Dudley being a full 4 behind for second and third place. Thaddeus Young’s numbers are again underwhelming here, as are Alando Tucker’s to a lesser extent.

Devan DowneySouth CarolinaNCAA25.1
Scottie ReynoldsVillanovaNCAA22.5
Greivis VasquezMarylandNCAA21.9
Jerome RandleCaliforniaNCAA20.9
Jeremy WiseBakersfield JamDLEAGUE20.3
Courtney FortsonArkansasNCAA20
Mikhail TorranceAlabamaNCAA19.6
A.J. SlaughterWestern KentuckyNCAA19.4
Nemanja GordicBuducnostADRIATIC18.6
John WallKentuckyNCAA18.2
Sherron CollinsKansasNCAA18
Ben UzohTulsaNCAA17.8
Armon JohnsonNevadaNCAA17.4
Matt BouldinGonzagaNCAA16.8
Tommy Mason-GriffinOklahomaNCAA15.5
Eric BledsoeKentuckyNCAA14.2
Ishmael SmithWake ForestNCAA13.3
Stefan MarkovicHemofarm STADAADRIATIC12.8
Stefan MarkovicHemofarm StadaEUROCUP9.6

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