Situational Statistics: the 2013 Shooting Guard Crop

Situational Statistics: the 2013 Shooting Guard Crop
Jun 19, 2013, 11:55 am
Box-scores don't always tell us everything we need to know about what happened in an actual game, and season averages 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 to us, including those offered by Synergy Sports Technology, whose detail-heavy archives include a staggering number of data-points representing the play of prospects all over the world.

-Just By the Numbers: the 2013 Shooting Guard Crop
-Just By the Numbers: the 2013 Point Guard Crop
-Situational Statistics: the 2013 Point Guard Crop

With that in mind, we've taken the top-100 prospects in this draft class, and sorted them into five groups by position. We've then looked at how each group of players stacks up in Synergy's various playtypes, with the biggest emphasis being on the specific skills they'll need to succeed at their position at the NBA level.

Breaking Down the Top 15 Shooting Guards

-Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore measure up to their billing as the top two shooting guards available in the 2013 draft. Ranking second and third in overall points per-possession—behind only Seth Curry—at 1.104 PPP and 1.087 PPP respectively, both were highly efficient in the roles they played at the collegiate level.

Looking at the bigger picture, neither player was terribly high usage playing for elite programs surrounded by plenty of other talented prospects. Oladipo used fewer possessions than any player in this sample at 11.9 possessions per-game, while McLemore ranked second to last at 14.5 per-game. Both players rank well in both transition and half court efficiency, but the similarities end there for the most part and this study highlights the differences in what they bring to the table at this point in their careers.

Digging into Oladipo's numbers, he ranks as the most turnover prone player in this group, coughing the ball up on 18.4% of his total possessions. McLemore ranks above average in turnover-rate, giving the ball away just 13.9% of the time. This disparity is the result of Oladipo's low overall usage coupled with how much more often he attacked with the ball in his hands for Indiana than McLemore did at Kansas.

Though both players rank below average in isolation and pick and roll usage at a meager 2.3 combined possessions per-game, they rank above average in the number of possessions they use on the fast break. Nearly a quarter of Oladipo's possessions were in transition last season and he was the ball handler on nearly half of them. Compare that to McLemore, who got out on the break a respectable 21% of the time but was the ball-handler on less than 30% of those possessions, and it isn't difficult to see what situation accounted for Oladipo's inflated turnover rate.

Individually speaking, Oladipo had a very impressive year on paper despite his struggles with turnovers. His terrific 57.8% shooting in the half court leads this group and is the byproduct of how often he got into the paint. Leading this sample by a wide margin with 62.7% of his shot attempts coming at the rim, Oladipo scored a second ranked 1.326 points per-shot at the basket. Finding more catch and finish opportunities at the rim than any shooting guard in this group, he topped our rankings in usage on cuts and put backs from offensive rebounds at 1.4 and 1.7 possessions per-game respectively. A target for lobs and a threat to finish emphatically above the rim, Oladipo's energy earned him some easy opportunities in close at the college level.

If Oladipo has a weakness on paper aside from his turnover rate, it is his usage as a jump shooter and shot creator. Although he ranks among the top-five players in this group in scoring efficiency on the pick and roll and in spot-up situations thanks to his 43.5% shooting off the catch and 63.6% shooting on pull up jumpers, he attempted just two jump shots per-game last season, less than half of the sample average of 5.9 attempts per-game. Noted for his work ethic, it will be worth monitoring how Oladipo's efficiency from the perimeter is affected as his role undoubtedly changes in the NBA.

On the other hand, Ben McLemore unsurprisingly ranks as one of the best shooters and highest usage catch and shoot threats in this draft. His 4.1 perimeter attempts off the catch per game is second to only Seth Curry, and his 1.253 points per-shot trails only Curry and Oladipo. He ranks third in this group in usage running off of screens at 2.6 possessions per-game, giving some situational momentum to the Ray Allen comparisons lobbed in his direction for the better part of this season.

McLemore's main limitations on paper line up well with his scouting report. Ranking last in isolation usage and second to last in pick and roll usage, he spent very little time creating his own shot last season, and when he did, he found mixed results. He's not as prolific or efficient off the dribble as he is as a spot up shooter, attempting a below average 1.6 pull-up jumpers per-game and knocking them down at a middle-of-the-road 32.2% clip. Considering McLemore's tremendous touch, athleticism, and top-ranked 65.9% shooting as a finisher, it will be very interesting to see how his midrange game and shot-creating ability evolves as a pro and what skills he is able to develop to compliment his ability to make shots with his feet set a few years down the road.

-Every year there's a player who makes considerable headway in endearing themselves to NBA decision-makers late in the draft process, and this season that player seems to beKentavious Caldwell-Pope, who backs up his late rise by joining Oladipo and McLemore among the more efficient scoring guards in this class, with a fourth ranked 1.035 PPP overall.

Unlike the two players ranked above him, Caldwell-Pope posted fairly high usage numbers, as his 17.6 possessions per-game ranks fifth in this group (third among high-major conference SGs), and is a reflection of just how heavily Georgia relied on his ability to put the ball in the basket last season.

His play-type usage doesn't really stand out from the crowd, as he did a little bit of everything last season, but his 5.1 combined pick and roll and isolation possessions per-game does set him apart from McLemore and Oladipo, as he used more than twice as many possessions creating his own shot in the half court than any guard projected to be selected in the first round.

Caldwell-Pope's biggest weapon when he looked to score was his pull-up jump shot. With nearly three-quarters of his shot attempts coming from the perimeter in the half court, roughly half of which were off the bounce, he scored a second ranked 1.118 points per-shot as a pull-up jump shooter, an impressive mark relative to his average 1.066 points per-shot in catch and shoot situations.

If Caldwell-Pope has a weakness on paper, it is his average finishing ability relative to his peer group. A 55.6% shooter in transition and 53.7% shooter at the rim in half court situations, he hovers right around the mean in both categories. Turning the ball over on a sample second ranked 10.6% of his possessions, Caldwell-Pope's low turnover rate certainly helped compensate for his issues around the rim last season.

-This study isn't very kind to Jamaal Franklin, who ranks as the second least efficient scorer in this group at 0.882 PPP overall. His sample worst 23.7% catch and shoot conversion rate and 17.3% turnover rate are the driving factors behind his limitations on paper. Getting to the line at a second ranked 18.5% rate and the only shooting guard prospect using more than one possession per-game in the post, Franklin's athleticism and versatility show here in various ways, but the team drafting him will be looking for him to provide value outside of the scoring column as he continues to work on his perimeter stroke.

-Cal shooter Allen Crabbe doesn't really stand out either, generally speaking, as his 0.97 PPP overall equals the sample average, but he has some unique quirks to his game. Using 4.6 possessions per-game coming off screens, nearly double the second highest usage threat in that playtype, Crabbe made 44.1% of his catch and shoot jump shots last season, good for second in this group and a reflection of how his role aligned with his consistent perimeter stroke. Operating less frequently and turning the ball over more often on the pick and roll than any other player in this group, Crabbe's profile seems like it would fit well next to a ball-dominant point guard and slashing wing.

-One of the youngest players in this draft, 18 year old Archie Goodwin's struggles last season are well documented. A dynamic athlete who showed impressive slashing ability at the high school level, Goodwin's transition to the college game wasn't easy. He ranked as the least efficient player in this group, scoring 0.835 points per-possession, due to his 18.3% turnover rate and 33% jump shooting percentage, which placed as the second highest and third lowest in this group respectively. Despite his struggles with shooting and decision-making, Goodwin got to the line a sample best 20.4% of the time, and finished at a 51.2% clip on the pick and roll in limited possessions, which coupled with his age, leave some room for optimism moving forward.

-We went into detail on Tim Hardaway Jr.'s merits on the offensive end in our scouting report on him just a few weeks ago. Reiterating the key point of that report, at different points in his career, the 3-year starter has been prolific in a variety of different areas, but rarely ever at the same time. This season, he knocked down a fifth-ranked 39.6% of his catch and shoot jump shots while making just 30.6% of his pull-ups. Last season he made 28.4% of his catch and shoot jumpers and 44.6% of his pull-ups. A smooth, intelligent scorer, Hardaway can score in a variety of ways when he puts everything together, but he'll have to become more consistent to give his coaching staff a better idea of what they can expect from him on a nightly basis.

-Arkansas sophomore B.J. Young deserves mention here for his scoring ability in transition, where his 70.3% shooting and 4.3 possessions per-game are both top-two marks. At his best in the open floor, Young was the least efficient half court scorer at 0.753 PPP, due to his 23.4% jump shooting.

-Seth Curry ranked as the most efficient scorer in this group at 1.142 PPP overall. He turns the ball over on a sample low 8% of his possessions and made a second ranked 44.6% of his sample leading 8.3 jump shots per-game. Ranking above average in virtually every playtype because of his 43.8% shooting beyond the arc, Curry had a tremendous season making jump shots despite nagging injuries.

-Temple guard Khalif Wyatt was the fourth highest usage player among prospects at all positions, easily taking the top spot among shooting guards at 20.6 points per-game. Not a lock to hear his name called on draft night, Wyatt is an unorthodox player without great athleticism who manufactured scoring opportunities as creatively as any player in the country last season.

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