Situational Statistics: the 2012 Wing Crop

Situational Statistics: the 2012 Wing Crop
Jun 26, 2012, 11:58 am
Box-scores don't always tell us everything we need to know about what happened in an actual game, and seasonal stats can be misleading at times in attempting to project what type of NBA player a NCAA or international prospect will become.

That's why it makes sense to branch out and explore other alternatives that are available, including those provided by Synergy Sports Technology, who track virtually every individual possession of every game this year's NBA draft class has taken part of.

These possessions are manually categorized by the type of play they resulted in, and then once again, evaluating what actually occurred in that sequence.

How good of a finisher is a prospect around the basket in non-post-up situations? How many of his shots were jumpers, and of those how many came in catch and shoot situations or pulling up off the dribble? How many were floaters? How often does he drive left or right in the half-court? How likely is he to generate an assist in the half-court, be it off pick and rolls, iso's or post-up plays?

Furthermore, they shed light on what actually happened in each time a prospect encountered such a situation—how often he got fouled, turned the ball over, converted with an And-1, and whether he was assisted by a teammate.

There is a treasure chest of information at our disposal, beyond just scouting games, which is for many NBA people, Synergy's primary value.

With that in mind, we've taken the top-100 prospects in this draft class, and sorted them into four groups, by position—guards, wings, forwards and big men. We've then looked at how each group of players stacks up in various categories, with the biggest emphasis being on the specific skills they'll need at their position.

-Situational Statistics: the 2012 Forwards Crop
-Situational Statistics: the 2012 Big Men Crop

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the top ranked wing player on our board (Beal is in the guard group), but it's more so due to his abilities as a hustle player, competitor, defender, rebounder, and his ability to do all the little things so well than it is his ability to score the basketball. With that said, it's not surprising Kidd-Gilchrist ranks near the bottom of the wings we compiled stats for in overall scoring efficiency, at 12th of 18 overall with 0.948 points per possession. Kidd-Gilchrist's 12.3 possessions used per game also ranks second to last of all players, coming in only ahead of Kentucky teammate Darius Miller.

When looking deeper into some specific numbers, things look more favorable for Kidd-Gilchrist, starting with him drawing a free-throw attempt on 18.2% of all possessions, which is easily the top number of all wings, and well ahead of Kris Joseph's second-ranked 15.0%.

Kidd-Gilchrist gets out on the break the third most often of all wings, seeing possessions in transition 25.0% of the time, but scoring only a middle-of-the-pack 1.163 PPP on those possessions. He also sees shots around the basket more frequently than any other wing, with a staggering 47.9% of his half court field-goal attempts coming around the rim. His 1.222 PPP on these shots ranks only 11th of 18, but is still a strong upward drag on his overall efficiency due to the naturally efficient nature of shots directly at the basket.

Looking directly on the other side of the coin, Kidd-Gilchrist's 22.4% of shots coming as jumpers is the fifth lowest rate in the group, and his 0.712 PPS on these shots ranks dead last, and well below second-to-last Khris Middleton's 0.827 PPS. It's fairly clear the simplest thing Kidd-Gilchrist could do to round out his game and fix a huge weakness in his game would be change his mechanics and develop into a solid spot-up shooter, even if that's obviously easier said than done.

The other area Kidd-Gilchrist fares especially poor in is with overall turnover rate, as his 17.2% turnover rate on all possessions ranks second to worst in the group and worst among NCAA prospects. Given how often Kidd-Gilchrist is going to the basket, this is somewhat expected, as the more you put the ball on the floor the more likely you are to turn it over, but is still an area he could improve upon going forward.

Harrison Barnes is the second ranked wing on our board, and looks similarly underwhelming when just looking at overall scoring efficiency. Barnes' 0.941 PPP ranks just behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, good for 13th of 18 overall. He is doing it on a much higher number of possessions, however, as his 17.5 possessions per game ranks fourth highest in the group.

Barnes ranks pretty average in scoring efficiency in almost all areas, unfortunately, most notably standing out for his very poor finishing around the basket, as his 1.049 PPS there ranks second to last overall. On the other hand, his 14.0% free throw rate ranks fifth highest of all players, so he makes up for his poor finishing somewhat by getting to the line so frequently.

It will be interesting to see if Barnes' game benefits from the better spaced, more isolation-oriented NBA, where he could see more room and less attention to create his own shot and get open, which could be a boost for his efficiency in some areas.

-Jeremy Lamb ranks as the third best wing on our big board, and is the first wing on the list to really look like a top prospect from a statistical perspective. Lamb's 1.05 PPP ranks fourth overall and he's doing so on an above average 16.5 possessions per game.

A very dangerous shooter and scorer, Lamb sees the fifth highest percentage of shots coming of the jump-shot variety, though his 0.978 PPS surprisingly ranks just 11th of 18th. Equally surprising is the fact that his 1.463 PPS finishing around the basket ranks first overall, though he's doing so on the fourth lowest number of shots from this area, seeing just 17.8% of his half-court field goal attempts there.

The one specific area Lamb really shines is coming off screens, where his 1.112 PPP ranks third overall, and he's doing so on 16% of overall possessions, the second highest distribution. This is a nice tool for a rookie to have coming into the league and may help him establish a niche early on.

-Terrence Ross' 0.995 overall PPP ranks eighth of the 18 wing prospects, and he's doing so on the seventh-highest number of possessions per game at 16.3. Ross stands out most with his second-best 1.389 PPS on shots around the basket, though he also posted a respectable seventh-best 1.184 PPS on jumpers, speaking to his versatility. Given his ability to score efficiently as a jump shooter and likewise do so getting to the basket off the ball, Ross has a nice groundwork of skills for a role playing wing at the next level, and could use them to help find a niche early.

-The fifth-ranked wing on our board, Evan Fournier played in Europe as opposed to the NCAA this season, and thus it isn't a perfect comparison to compare him to the others on this list. Fournier's 0.92 PPP overall ranked fourth worst of all wings, but is somewhat expected given the higher competition level of the French Pro A League and European basketball in general.

The most interesting standout area for Fournier is how frequently he utilized pick-and-rolls for a wing, seeing a staggering 20.8% of his possessions coming of the pick-and-roll variety. Fournier's 0.903 PPP ranked fourth-highest in this area, and his 13.4% free-throw rate on pick-and-rolls ranked first. This will be an interesting asset for Fournier to use in the NBA, and could be very valuable in the right situation for his skills.

-Jeff Taylor's 1.007 overall PPP ranked seventh overall, though his 50.0% FG% actually ranked third, as his overall efficiency was dragged down somewhat by his slightly above average turnover rate.

Taylor first stands out with his first ranked 1.407 PPP on transition baskets, though he actually did it on the seventh lowest distribution of possessions, seeing transition possessions just 14.5% of the time. Going to an up-tempo team better suited to utilize this area of his game could help him at the next level. Also notable is Taylor's recently developed jump shot, as his 1.226 PPS on catch-and-shoot jumpers ranks sixth overall.

-Orlando Johnson sees the second-highest number of possessions among wings at 19.5 per game, while also posting the sixth-highest overall efficiency at 1.018 PPP. Johnson sees a staggering 37.7% of his half court field-goal attempts coming as pull-up jumpers, second-highest among wings, while his 0.929 PPS on these attempts ranked fourth.

-Sharpshooting John Jenkins unsurprisingly is a statistical superstar, as his 1.179 PPS ranks first overall among wings, and he's doing so on a slightly above average 16.1 possessions per game.

The name of the game for Jenkins is of course jump shots, and he expectedly ranks first overall both in percentage of half court field-goal attempts coming off jumpers (a ridiculous 85.7%), and also his efficiency on them, as he comes in first at 1.213 PPS. Interestingly is that Jenkins' pull-up jumper efficiency (1.123 PPS) is barely lower than his catch-and-shoot efficiency (1.246 PPS), speaking to his versatility.

-Darius Johnson-Odom sees the third highest number of possessions at 17.9 per game, while also seeing the highest percentage of his possessions in transition, with a very high 30.1% of all possessions coming on the break. Johnson-Odom's 0.993 PPP overall ranks right in the middle of the pack at ninth overall, and he stands out most notably with a fourth-best 1.243 PPS on catch-and-shoot jumpers. On the other hand, Johnson-Odom's 0.904 PPS finishing around the basket ranks dead last among wings, and by a wide margin.

-Darius Miller's 9.4 possessions per game ranked the lowest among all wings, but it's kind of hard to blame him given the freshman class that walked onto his team's campus this year. Darius Miller's overall PPP of 1.061 ranks third overall, which is somewhat misleading given how few possessions he had to use and the amount of attention defenses played elsewhere. Miller's 1.172 PPS on jumpers ranked third overall, and could help him find a role-playing niche at the next level similarly to what he played at Kentucky.

-Will Barton's 1.049 overall PPP ranked fifth overall, also doing so on the fifth highest number of possessions per game at 16.9. Barton's 1.328 PPS finishing around the basket in the half court was sixth highest among all wings, but that's somewhat misleading as it was barely behind the second-ranked Terrence Ross' 1.389 PPS. Barton's overall free-throw rate of 14.3% also ranked fourth best among wings, speaking to his adjustment into a more attack-oriented player this season.

-Tennessee Tech's Kevin Murphy easily saw the highest number of possessions per game among wings at 21.5 per game, though his 0.933 PPP overall ranked fifth worst, as he clearly didn't benefit from having to take the second highest distribution of isolations at 22.8% of his possessions. Murphy's 1.231 PPS on catch-and-shooter jumpers and 0.936 PPS on pull-up jumpers rank fifth and third among wings respectively, but his overall efficiency was severely dragged down by taking the highest percentage of pull-up jumpers (45.3% of the time) and the lowest percentage of catch-and-shoot jumpers (18.8% of the time) among wings.

-Kim English is another dangerous shooter who, like John Jenkins, fares very well when looking at his game from a statistical perspective. English is right on Jenkins' heels in overall scoring efficiency at 1.143 PPP (2nd best), though his 12.4 possessions per game ranks third lowest in the group. English stands out with average to above average efficiency in almost every area, but is doing so on a low number of possessions in most instances.

As a jump shooter, he is again right on Jenkins' heels as his 1.205 PPS on jumpers loses to Jenkins' 1.213 PPS by a hair, but those numbers are misleading when looked at out of context. English saw a staggering 6-to-1 ratio of catch-and-shoot to pull-up jumpers this season, as his 61.5% of half court shots coming as catch-and-shoot jumpers was easily the highest among wings. On the other hand, Jenkins saw higher than a 5-to-3 ratio of catch-and-shoot to pull-up jumpers, taking far more difficult shots more frequently.

-Hollis Thompson looks average overall with a tenth best 0.986 PPP on a near-the-bottom 12.6 possessions per game, but he shines in a few areas, posting the highest scoring efficiency on cuts at 1.481 PPP and doing so on the second highest distribution of 12.9% of possessions. Thompson's 1.298 PPS on jumpers also ranks second overall, and these two things combined may make him a sleeper to catch on as a role player at some point in the NBA.

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