Nba nerd

The 2013-14 Rookies

Well, we've just passed the point where the NBA takes a break and TNT tries really hard to make All-Star Weekend as exciting as the Winter Olympics. It seems like a good time to look at this year's rookies!

Note, all of the numbers here are from games before the all-star game.

2013-14 Rookies with more than 500 minutes
NAME TM POS GP MIN WP48 WP PoP48 PTS REB AST
Plumlee, Mason BRK C 41 638 .199 2.6 3.1 19.2 10.1 1.1
Thompson, Hollis PHI GF 50 1057 .130 2.9 1.0 13.2 7.9 1.7
Adams, Steven OKC C 55 794 .121 2.0 0.7 11.1 14.0 2.1
Dellavedova, Matthew CLE PG 43 632 .097 1.3 -0.1 12.1 4.4 5.6
Antetokounmpo, Giannis MIL SF 47 1133 .092 2.2 -0.2 13.8 9.0 3.4
Jr., Tim Hardaway NYK SF 51 1068 .092 2.0 -0.2 21.0 3.4 2.0
Wolters, Nate MIL PG 41 886 .082 1.5 -0.5 15.0 5.4 7.6
Snell, Tony CHI SF 46 881 .074 1.4 -0.8 13.9 5.0 2.4
Calathes, Nick MEM PG 41 682 .065 .9 -1.1 14.5 5.0 7.7
Oladipo, Victor ORL SG 54 1723 .052 1.9 -1.5 20.8 6.6 6.0
Carter-Williams, Michael PHI PG 42 1453 .048 1.5 -1.6 23.8 7.5 9.0
Caldwell-Pope, Kentavious DET SG 50 1185 .033 .8 -2.0 13.7 4.3 1.8
Pressey, Phil BOS PG 49 680 .003 0 -3.0 8.5 3.7 9.0
Kelly, Ryan LAL PF 31 611 .002 0 -3.0 17.5 7.5 2.7
Zeller, Cody CHA PF 53 884 -.002 0 -3.1 14.5 11.6 3.1
Olynyk, Kelly BOS C 44 816 -.005 -.1 -3.2 17.8 12.1 4.1
McLemore, Ben SAC SG 53 1236 -.021 -.5 -3.7 15.7 5.7 2.0
Burke, Trey UTH PG 40 1232 -.026 -.7 -3.9 19.4 4.8 8.5
Bennett, Anthony CLE PF 41 513 -.171 -1.8 -8.4 14.4 10.8 1.0

As usual, I like to compare the lists sorted by procuction (above) to the list sorted by minutes played (below) and see how they compare:

2013-14 Rookies, sorted by minutes played (minimum 500 minutes)
NAME TM POS GP MIN WP48 WP PoP48 PTS REB AST
Oladipo, Victor ORL SG 54 1723 .052 1.9 -1.5 20.8 6.6 6.0
Carter-Williams, Michael PHI PG 42 1453 .048 1.5 -1.6 23.8 7.5 9.0
McLemore, Ben SAC SG 53 1236 -.021 -.5 -3.7 15.7 5.7 2.0
Burke, Trey UTH PG 40 1232 -.026 -.7 -3.9 19.4 4.8 8.5
Caldwell-Pope, Kentavious DET SG 50 1185 .033 .8 -2.0 13.7 4.3 1.8
Antetokounmpo, Giannis MIL SF 47 1133 .092 2.2 -0.2 13.8 9.0 3.4
Jr., Tim Hardaway NYK SF 51 1068 .092 2.0 -0.2 21.0 3.4 2.0
Thompson, Hollis PHI GF 50 1057 .130 2.9 1.0 13.2 7.9 1.7
Wolters, Nate MIL PG 41 886 .082 1.5 -0.5 15.0 5.4 7.6
Zeller, Cody CHA PF 53 884 -.002 0 -3.1 14.5 11.6 3.1
Snell, Tony CHI SF 46 881 .074 1.4 -0.8 13.9 5.0 2.4
Olynyk, Kelly BOS C 44 816 -.005 -.1 -3.2 17.8 12.1 4.1
Adams, Steven OKC C 55 794 .121 2.0 0.7 11.1 14.0 2.1
Calathes, Nick MEM PG 41 682 .065 .9 -1.1 14.5 5.0 7.7
Pressey, Phil BOS PG 49 680 .003 0 -3.0 8.5 3.7 9.0
Plumlee, Mason BRK C 41 638 .199 2.6 3.1 19.2 10.1 1.1
Dellavedova, Matthew CLE PG 43 632 .097 1.3 -0.1 12.1 4.4 5.6
Kelly, Ryan LAL PF 31 611 .002 0 -3.0 17.5 7.5 2.7
Bennett, Anthony CLE PF 41 513 -.171 -1.8 -8.4 14.4 10.8 1.0

The rookies that get the most burn don't correlate to the rookies that perform best. Some of this is due to all kinds of logical reasons a coach might have, and some of this is just questionable coaching. J.R. Smith is a) on track for one of the worst shooting seasons of all time and b) acting like a buffoon. There is simply no good reason at all that he's ahead of Tim Hardaway Jr. in the depth chart. Kendrick Perkins has been terrible for years; there's no reason he should be ahead of Nick Collison in the rotation, much less Steven Adams.

There are some big surprises here, and Adams might top the list, with Mason Plumlee right behind him (who'd have thought that the Nets best big man would be a rookie??). There are also some negative surprises, like Oladipo and Caldwell-Pope, although it is much too soon for either for us to draw grand conclusions. And then, of course, there's Bennett, who desperately needs a D-league stint.

Trey Burke has really underperformed, but I think he has a bright future because his assist-to-turnover ratio is above average, and that's a great sign for a rookie. And of course it says a lot about Utah's current plight that even as a bad player, he is a huge upgrade over JLIII.

Michael Carter Williams is probably still a lock to win the RoY award, but he's cooled down a lot. As with all things 76ers, pace is a factor; the Sixers play at an absurd pace, way ahead of second-place Minnesota, but even if you adjust for pace, his rebounding, steals and blocks are impressive. I remain really high on his future, because shooting has tons of variance, but those other factors do not. I will be very curious to see if Brown intends to maintain this pace once all of Rod Thorn's players have been washed off this roster; it wouldn't surprise me at all if they slow down a lot once they have their desired players in place.

Which brings me to another big surprise: Philly's best player is not Thad Young or Evan Turner or even MCW. It's an undrafted rookie.  Hollis Thompson is shooting well (56% true shooting), rebounding well, and doesn't turn the ball over. It looks like he could turn in to a great "3 and D" guy.

The "Greek Freak" remains intriguing, and has even gotten me to do something that I didn't think I would do this year: watch a Bucks game (I'm sorry, Milwaukee, but you lost me at "OJ Mayo"). Still, a 6'9" wing with freakish hands is fun to watch. He's still pretty raw but I'd be very high on this guy right now; he gets in foul trouble a lot, but rookies often do. He's a prime candidate to have a big second year if he gets playing time.

Predictably absent from both of these lists are Minnesota's rookies. At least I can be happy that they aren't low on list one and high on list two, although since the Wolves are now out of the playoff hunt (in every way but mathematically), that might change.

Oladipo is playing a lot of point. Nets, forget sunken cost and bench Garnett and start Plumlee. This is an odd season. A lot of players besides rookies are performing under expectation. Might be the polar vortex
Andrew,

He is, but it's kind of like when Durant played SG his rookie year. This is often offered up for an excuse about how bad he was as a rookie, but if Durant played SG today, does anyone believe that he wouldn't be an amazing shooting guard? The reasons were more than just that he was out of position.

There are reasons that Oladipo is disappointing, but that doesn't change the fact that he has disappointed, in my opinion.
I don't know about benching Garnett, he's been pretty good recently. Since January his per 36 #s are:

13 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks on 58% shooting.
Has anybody ever calculated the turnover era average WP and WP48 for every draft slot?
It would be a nice benchmark for cross-draft comparisons and for evaluating GMs.
There's a lot of precedent for trying to play younger players a position down at first. Size matters in the NBA. Even Wade played point in his rookie season. If you can play your same game but now are guarded by smaller and weaker players, it is a big advantage. Westbrook is a big small for a SG (might be average nowadays though), but he's huge for a PG. And we see how well the short armed, 6'3 Mayo at SG is working out.
I'd have no problem if Oladipo or MCW wins the award. There's no real rookie that's playing incredibly well. Plumlee and Adams play well in limited minutes, but it's not like they are playing at the level Drummond was last year to warrant them being roty.
I'm predicting Oladipo will win it in a close vote. Philly is probably going to finish last in the league (even below Milwaukee) and their pt differential is just embarrassingly bad. Also MCW's aggregate stats benefit from the 76ers' high pace.
But position matters somewhat, Patrick. Some positions have a more ball dominate role i.e. PG/SG and some are more interior scoring/rebounding role i.e. PF/C. So if Beasley played a more post position role than trying to play a wing role with all of his perimeter play. Organization is a factor too. Thus him playing better in Miami's system but not playing his expected production at this point giving his college numbers. If only guys go thru the gauntlet of the spurs organization and development. I think Oladipo would be better with the spurs.
I'm biased, but I don't think KCP has been much of a dissappointment. He was improving his shooting as the year went along, played good defense (great defense, for a rookie), and knew his role.

But then, it happened. Maurice Cheeks, unhappy with Caldwell-Pope's shooting (even though he had been respectable after an awful start), decided it was a good idea to stunt KCP's growth as a player and play yet another player out of position (Kyle Singler). Don't get me wrong, Singler's the better shooter right now, but the defense at the SG position has suffered, and in a season as lost as this one, how does it help kill a rookie's progress?

John Loyer hasn't changed much, unfortunately. If anything, he's reduced the rookie's minutes and role even more, and for a rookie who clearly wasn't confident in his three-point shot for much of the season, this has been a killer. KCP often looks afraid to shoot now, even if he has a good look. He hasn't gotten to the line this season, either, yet he did in college; I think some of this can be attributed to the coaching situation. I think they underestimate his abilities a bit too much.

Overall, I don't think he'll ever set the world on fire, but I see him having the potential to be a key contributor to a good team, like the always-underrated Thabo Sefolosha. And in a draft that was as unheralded as this one, I'd say that's a good use of the pick.
Interesting thing about Plumlee that won't show up in the stats are turnovers due to missed lobs. When Plumlee is on the court, the Nets really look to throw him a lob pass for a dunk. They look for that a lot. When it connects, Plumlee usually finishes. WP gives Plumlee credit for that score (and the great shooting percentage that comes with these attempts). But when the lob is missed or gets intercepted (it really is more like an interception than a steal) the turnover goes against the passer.

This is all fine and as it should be. Over the course of a long season and several years of playing together, this will get worked out and there won't be too many turnovers. But at this point, the Nets miss a pretty high percentage of their lobs to Plumlee. And Plumlee's attempts are include lots of lobs for alley-oops. It is still a good play and Plumlee is still playing very well for a rookie. But the WP40.200 score that you have for him overstates his value because his stats don't pick up the risk of the passes that feed him regularly. And I predict Plumlee will improve his rebounding a bit in the second half, so you might be looking at a guy finishing at 250 by the end of the season. But don't be fooled. He just isn't that good.

Him and Tyson Chandler are doing similar very high efficiency strategy attempts. But in watching the Knicks for the last few years, the attempts to Tyson were far more likely to be successful than the attempts to Plumlee. There are currently just a bit too many forced passes to Plumlee for the highlight reel dunk.

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