The Top Ten Performers at the 2016 Olympic Games

The Top Ten Performers at the 2016 Olympic Games
Aug 23, 2016, 10:32 am
This is a list of the top ten performers from the 2016 Olympic games, which concluded on August 22nd in Brazil. The rankings are based on the statistic EWA (estimated wins added). Although EWA does not definitively determine who the best individual players were, it does give you a sense of how productive and valuable they were to their respective teams. EWA is built off the same formula as PER, but it differs in the fact that it takes into account minutes played.

The following article goes into further detail regarding EWA and how it relates to other advanced statistics. Keep in mind that EWA is essentially PER times minutes played, which favors those players that went further in the tournament and played more minutes and games. DeMarcus Cousins (14.6 minutes per game, 27.6 PER [2nd best]) may have been snubbed by using this method, while the fact that Tony Parker (22.7 PER, 22.7 mpg) only played in five games clearly worked against him as well. Overall, though, EWA lines up fairly neatly with PER otherwise in terms of which players made the Top-10.

EWA Top Ten

#1 Pau Gasol, Spain
#2 Kevin Durant, United States
#3 Mantas Kalnietis, Lithuania
#4 Miroslav Raduljica, Serbia
#5 Paul George, United States
#6 Bojan Bogdanovic, Croatia
#7 Patrick Mills, Australia
#8 Nando De Colo, France
#9 Nikola Mirotic, Spain
#10 Andrew Bogut, Australia

#1) Pau Gasol, 7'0, Center, 36.1 years old, Spain

EWA: 2.1
PER: 29.7
TS%: 61.1%
19.5 PTS, 8.9 REB, 2.3 AST, 1.9 BLK, 12-23 3P%, 24-40 FT%, 54.5 FG%

Competing in his fourth Olympic games, and in all likelihood his last, Gasol was as effective as ever individually on the international stage, leading the Spanish squad to a bronze medal. Gasol has now led Spain in scoring in each of the four Olympics he has competed in, and is Spain's all-time leader in points scored at 467, and rebounds at 168. Juan Carlos Navarro is second on Spain's all time scoring list, 230 points behind Gasol, despite having played in three more games. Gasol has to be considered one of the best Olympic performers in history, now owning four of the eight best showings in the past 20 years according to EWA.

Gasol took full advantage of the shorter FIBA 3-point line, hitting 12 of his 23 attempts, the most he has ever hit in international competition. The 3-pointer is becoming a slightly more important part of his game as his career moves on, and it will be interesting to see how that translates to playing alongside LaMarcus Aldridge with the Spurs next season.

Although a third place finish might have been below expectations for a Spain team that has become accustomed to playing in the gold medal game the past two Olympics, Gasol's individual performance over the course of the tournament was elite. He finished fourth overall in points per game, first in rebounds, second in blocks, and #1 in PER at 29.7 ahead of DeMarcus Cousins who finished 2nd at 27.7. Gasol matched his career high for points in an Olympic game with 31 in the bronze medal game vs. Australia, the same amount he scored vs. Angola in the 2008 games. Spain has now medaled in 3 of the 4 Olympics Gasol has competed in, including a silver in 2008 and 2012, both which ended in losses to the United States. Gasol signed a 2-year deal with the Spurs this off-season, the second of which includes a player option.

#2) Kevin Durant, 6'10, Forward, 27.8 years old, United States

EWA: 1.8
PER: 26.4
TS%: 74.5%
19.4 PTS, 5.0 REB, 3.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 25-43 3P%, 26-32 FT%, 57.7 FG%

Kevin Durant led the United States to its third consecutive Olympic gold medal, the second for him personally. Durant led the U.S. in scoring for the second straight Olympics, and now ranks second all time in total points scored in U.S. Olympic history. He is only 25 points behind Carmelo Anthony for first all time, and what is so impressive about that statistic is that Durant has only played in 16 Olympic games, 15 less than the amount Anthony has played. If Durant chooses to compete in the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, he will no doubt pass Anthony who has said that this will be his last Olympic competition.

Durant has now competed in three international competitions (2010 FIBA World Championships, 2012 Olympics, and 2016 Olympics) and has yet to lose a game, winning all 25 of the games he has participated in. His statistics in these Olympics were similar to what he did in 2012, posting nearly identical points and rebounds averages, however this go around he did it without the likes of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade playing by his side. Durant led the tournament in 3-pointers made at 25, and posted the third highest true shooting percentage at 74.5. He looked vulnerable at times early on in the tournament struggling late in games vs. Australia and Serbia, but rebounded nicely and found his groove in the Championship game against Serbia, matching his Olympic career high of 30 points, the same amount he scored in the gold medal game vs. Spain in 2012.

#3) Mantas Kalnietis, 6'5, Point Guard, 29.9 years old, Lithuania

EWA: 1.5
PER: 27.0
TS%: 71.8%
18.0 PTS, 2.7 REB, 7.5 AST, .8 STL, 11-26 3P%, 17-21 FT%, 60.6 FG%

Veteran Lithuanian point guard Mantas Kalnietis posted the best overall international performance of his career in Rio. Despite leading his team to a 3-0 start in group play, Lithuania struggled after that and lost its last three games, being bounced in the first round of elimination play against Australia in the quarterfinals. Lithuania has now failed to medal in the last four Olympic Basketball competitions after winning three consecutive bronze medals in 1992, 1996, and 2000.

Despite the lack of team success, Kalnietis shined on the international stage, leading the competition in assists per game at 7.5, ahead of Matthew Dellavedova who finished 2nd at 7.0. Kalnietis also led his team in scoring at 18.0 points per game, finishing in front of NBA players Jonas Valanciunas and 11th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Domantas Sabonis. Kalnietis has been a part of the Lithuanian National team that has had success in other international competitions, winning a bronze at the 2010 World Championships, and silver at the 2013 and 2015 EuroBasket Championships. Considered a draft prospect early on in his career, Kalnietis went undrafted in 2008, but has since has a very successful career in Europe, spending the majority of his career with Zalgiris in Lithuania. Last season he finished with EA7 Armani, who finished first in top division Italy, and he will return to play for them again in the upcoming season.

#4) Miroslav Raduljica, 7'0, Center, 28.6 years old, Serbia

EWA: 1.2
PER: 27.2
TS%: 66.6%
14.8 PTS, 3.3 REB, 1.3 AST, 1.3 OREB, .8 BLK, 36-49 FT%, 61.2 FG%

Serbian Center Miroslav Raduljica had a strong showing in his first ever-Olympic competition. Serbia, who went 4-0 in Olympic qualifying, may have surprised some people in Rio, beating Croatia, and then Australia handily en route to a silver medal, and a disappointing blowout loss to the United States in the gold medal game. Raduljica led the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game, and did it an efficient rate hitting 61.2% of his field goals. Raduljica played only 19 minutes per game, splitting time with Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, but he posted the highest points per-40 of the tournament at 30.9.

Raduljica has spent the majority of his career bouncing around high-level teams in Europe, but he had a brief stint in the NBA, playing 48 games with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013 and five games with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014. He spent last season with Panathinaikos of Greece and the Euroleague, but signed a two year deal this offseason with EA7 Armani of the Italian League, where he will play alongside Mantas Kalnietis of Lithuania. Prior to these Olympics, Raduljica had some success in international competition, competing in the 2015 Eurobasket, 2014 World Cup, and taking home the MVP in 2008 at the FIBA U20 Euro tournament.

#5) Paul George, 6'9, Small Forward, 26.3 years old, United States

EWA: 1.1
PER: 26.0
TS%: 56.8%
11.3 PTS, 4.5 REB, 1.9 AST, 1.5 STL, 8-28 3P%, 18-21 FT%, 45.7 FG%

After suffering what could have been a career ending leg injury two years ago in Las Vegas at a USA Basketball scrimmage, Paul George looked at full strength in Rio and was a key part of the United States team that took home gold. Coming off a career year with the Indiana Pacers, George contributed in every aspect of the game in Rio, and looked very comfortable in his first international competition.

George only played 19 minutes per game for a loaded U.S. roster, but his per 40 numbers were excellent, finishing ninth overall in points at 23.7 per 40, third in steals at 3.2, and fourth in offensive rebounds at 4.5. George struggled from deep shooting only 28% from deep on 28 attempts, well below his NBA average of 36.5%. While he struggled shooting it from the perimeter, he made his presence felt on defense, particularly in the Championship game where he swarmed Serbian guard Milos Teodosic and held him to 9 points on 4 of 11 shooting. George finished 2nd in defensive rating (behind DeAndre Jordan) and 5th in defensive win shares, two advanced statistics that can somewhat sum up the impact George had on the defensive end of the floor. At just 26 years old, presuming he is healthy and interested, George should get a chance to defend the United States gold medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

#6) Bojan Bogdanovic, 6'7, Small Forward, 27.3 years old, Croatia

EWA: 1.1
PER: 21.1
TS%: 66.9%
25.3 PTS, 4.0 REB, 2.0 AST, 18-40 3P%, 44-56 FT%, 50.5 FG%

After failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, Croatia put together a more cohesive team in Rio, led by the likes of young NBA players, Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja, and Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic was drafted 31st overall in 2011 by the Nets. He stayed in Europe for a couple seasons playing with Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, before joining the Nets in 2014 where he has since started 67 games over the course of the last two seasons. In his first Olympic competition, Bogdanovic excelled, leading the tournament in scoring at 25.3 points per game, the highest average in Olympic competition since 1996, when Oscar Schmidt of Brazil averaged 27.4. Bogdanovic shot 45% from deep throughout the tournament, the second highest in the competition for anyone who attempted more than 40 3s. His scoring prowess should come as no surprise, after posting an average of 11.2 points per game last season with Brooklyn, a breakout season which was headlined by a 44 point performance against the 76ers last season. Bogdanovic is still under contract with the Nets next season and will look to build on his Olympic success and strong second NBA season.

#7) Patrick Mills, 6'0, Point Guard, 28.0 years old, Australia

EWA: 1.1
PER: 25.3
TS%: %
21.3 PTS, 1.6 REB, 1.7 AST, 1.3 STL, 21-61 3P%, 22-26 FT%, 47.3 FG%

This was Patty Mills' third chance at securing Australia's first ever medal in Olympic Basketball, but the team fell just short, losing a tight game against Spain in the bronze medal match. Competing in his third Olympics at just 28 years old, Mills has now led the Australian team in scoring in each of the three competitions that he has participated in, but posted his highest overall average at the Rio games. Mills finished the Olympics second in points per game at 21.3 behind Bogdanovic, and second in 3-pointers per game at 3.0.

Mills' career in the NBA began when he was drafted 55th overall in 2009 by the Trailblazers, after two productive seasons at St. Mary's. After being drafted, Mills career has included a stint with Portland, the Idaho Stampede of the D-League, a brief return to Australia and China during the NBA Lockout, before finally finding a home with the Spurs in 2012, where he has been a key piece of their bench and team culture and a vital part of the 2014 Championship team. Mills has been one of the more consistent offensive contributors off the bench over the last few years, and will have a chance to cash in on his productivity when he becomes a free agent after this upcoming season. At the age of 28, Mills will likely get at least one more shot at leading Australia to its first Olympic Basketball medal.

#8) Nando De Colo, 6'5, Guard, 29.1 years old, France

EWA: 1.0
PER: 23.7
TS%: 71.8%
14.7 PTS, 2.5 REB, 2.5 AST, 1.3 STL, 5-13 3P%, 21-21 FT%, 59.6 FG%

Seeking their first Olympic Medal in Men's basketball since winning silver in 2000, the French team, which had high expectations in Rio, fell short after getting bounced by Spain in the first round of elimination play. In his second Olympic competition, Nando De Colo led the French team in scoring ahead of current NBA players Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Rudy Gobert, Joffrey Lauvergne, and former Spurs teammate Tony Parker.

De Colo's strong performance at the Olympics followed what was the most successful season of his career, in which he earned Euroleague MVP honors and led CSKA Moscow to a Euroleague championship. De Colo was drafted 53rd overall by the Spurs in 2009 but spent three seasons playing in the ACB in Spain before joining the Spurs in 2012. He was traded the following season to Toronto Raptors in exchange for Austin Daye and after finishing out the 2013-14 season with the Raptors, returned to Europe where he has been with CSKA Moscow. It would not be surprising to see De Colo return to the NBA at some point in his career, as he has proven repeatedly that he has the quality to play there, but for now he is enjoying the major role he has, at the highest level in Europe.

#9) Nikola Mirotic, 6'10, Power Forward, 25.5 years old, Spain

EWA: 1.0
PER: 20.4
TS%: 62.3%
12.9 PTS, 5.6 REB, 1.6 AST, 17-38 3P%, 10-13 FT%, 49.3 FG%

Competing in his first Olympic completion, Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic was a key piece for a Spain team that finished third overall. Mirotic was inconsistent over the course of the tournament, but put together his most impressive performance in the elimination round vs. France, scoring 23 points on 5 of 8 shooting from deep. Playing on a Spanish team in which 11 out of the 12 players were drafted in the NBA or have NBA playing experience, Mirotic finished second in points per game, second in rebounds per game, and first in 3-pointers made per game. At just 25 years old, Mirotic spent the beginning of his career playing within the Real Madrid program at both the junior and professional level. Mirotic was taken with the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by Houston and was traded to the Timberwolves, before eventually landing with the Bulls in a trade that sent Norris Cole and Malcolm Lee to Minnesota. Mirotic will return to Chicago for this upcoming season, and barring the naturalized slot being grabbed back by Serge Ibaka, will be a major piece for the Spanish national team down the road given the age of the Gasol brothers, Jose Calderon, and Juan Carlos Navarro who have all been key players for Spain over the last decade.

#10) Andrew Bogut, 7'0, Center, 31.7 years old, Australia

EWA: 1.0
PER: 24.4
TS%: 75.5%
9.1 PTS, 5.1 REB, 3.6 AST, 1.4 BLK, 5-10 FT%, 76.3 FG%

Andrew Bogut, former #1 overall pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005 out of Utah, was playing in his third Olympic games for Team Australia. Bogut was one of the veteran leaders for an Australian team that featured seven players with NBA playing experience. While statistically Bogut's numbers were down from his past Olympic experience, he still showed how effective he can be on the international level given his ability to rebound, protect the paint, and pass the ball. He finished second on Australia in assists per game, second in rebounds, and first in blocks. Bogut only played 22 minutes per game, splitting time with Pistons forward Aron Baynes, and former Houston Rocket, New Orleans Pelican, and Toronto Raptor David Andersen.

Despite several difficult injuries, Bogut has had a highly successful NBA career, including a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. Bogut was recently traded to the Dallas Mavericks, as the Warriors were forced to in order to free up cap space to sign Kevin Durant. Bogut will have one year left on his deal with the Mavericks. At nearly 32 years old, this may be the last Olympic competition for Bogut, pending his health over the next few seasons, but he still appears to have quite a bit left in the tank from an NBA standpoint.

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