Tag Archives: florida
Trying to predict the upside or downside of an NBA player is incredibly difficult work. That futile effort is made even more difficult when there’s a much smaller body of work to build upon. It’s why guys like Kwame Brown/Marvin Williams are compared to Shaquille O’Neal/Tim Thomas. The point is that it’s incredibly hard work to begin with, and attempting this with a player like Bradley Beal, the 19 year old shooting guard and Wizards #3 draft pick, is just as difficult. But in the interest of fun offseason articles, I thought I’d give it a try using some advanced-but-basic statistics. Note: the conclusion I came to is simply based on statistical parallels, and it should be noted that no two players are the same. It is more than likely that Bradley Beal will far exceed this flawed prediction further down the road.
Why Bradley Beal is Not Eric Gordon, Ray Allen
There are two names Bradley Beal is most often garnering comparisons with: Ray Allen and Eric Gordon. One happens to be a surefire Hall of Famer, while the other is commanding max contracts during this year’s free agency period. Both Allen and Gordon have made their living in the NBA with their ability to get off high caliber and quality shots anywhere on the court and within the flow of the game. They’re both scorers with very quick releases and crafty games which negates the fact that their athleticism isn’t off the charts incredible. These aren’t bad players to be compared to, but I’m not certain that they’re entirely accurate reads on Brad Beal’s upside.
Let’s get it out of the way right now: Bradley Beal just isn’t Ray Allen. I can see why people want to say that his shooting form is absolute perfection much like Ray Allen’s, but that’s where the comparisons end and they should really should be shied away from. It’s not fair to Beal, and it really just sets him up to be a disappointment. Ray Allen was so much more effective than Beal at his age that the differences far outweigh the similarities.
Allen was an incomparably more effective scorer, for starters. During his first season at UConn, while playing significantly fewer minutes (735 to 1267), Jesus Shuttlesworth was still scoring up a storm. His 429 points in such few minutes seem a tad more impressive than Beal’s 546 playing pretty often on the court. He got to the line at a better rate, too, and after that freshman year he skyrocketed into stardom. I’ve got a beautiful shooting form, too, but I don’t make them like Ray Ray makes them. Looking pretty and being effective are two different things, and because of that I highly doubt Bradley Beal is going to be the same scorer as Ray Allen, ever. So onto the next one…
A lot of analysts immediately compare Beal and Gordon because of the similarities that they have physically. They’re both 6’4ish, very solidly built, shooting guards, and they spent only one year for their respective colleges before punching their ticket to the NBA. Statistically speaking, however, Eric Gordon was a much more accomplished scorer during his college career. Gordon averaged 20.9 PPG on 43.3% shooting during his career at Indiana, whereas Beal stood at 14.8 PPG on 43.5% shooting. That’s a pretty big gap in scoring, but their shooting percentages were very similar (which is where the comparisons come from). The difference between the two is that Eric Gordon was/is a much more aggressive scorer, and as a result got to the line on a more consistent basis.
Eric Gordon knows that getting to the line means easy points, and any effective scorer typically masters the skill of drawing contact very early. This is the biggest difference between the two players, as Gordon’s Free Throw Rate was 65.1% (compared to Beal’s 44.5%). And that ratio is pace adjusted, so it’s glaringly apparent that Beal lags behind in this category (in terms of attempts, 277 to 173 in Gordon’s favor). Even when watching the two, it’s clear the reason behind this discrepancy is clear: athleticism.
Eric Gordon is not an absolutely freakish athlete who can jump out of the gym, but the amount of times you’re going to see him take it to the rack and slam it down vs. Beal? His athleticism isn’t what jumps out at you. He has fantastic body control and balance, which allows him to finish shots using his long arms and positioning to avoid blocks from taller defenders. He needs to learn how to draw contact in, however, because on a night when the outside shot isn’t falling Beal is going to need another way to score points and be effective.
Beal spent almost half of his scoring possessions at the three point line, shooting 46% of his shots from three point range versus 19% on two point jumpers. Even though his shooting stroke is absolutely picture perfect, he still didn’t shoot it effectively until late in the season. John Wall complements Bradley Beal very well in that he slashes, while Beal will linger around the perimeter a whole lot more. Will Beal be more effective as a result? That’s hard to say, but he is going to have to add more variety to his game if he wants to be considered a very good scorer. Part of what makes Gordon so dangerous is that he will attack you in a huge variety of ways. Getting to the line for and-1′s, a crossover dribble, coming off the screen, and pick-and-roll offense.
Speaking of being effective when not scoring, here is another area where Beal and Gordon differ greatly, and why the two players are not the same. In just about every other category except for the scoring column, Bradley Beal is better than Eric Gordon. In rebounding ability, Beal is projected to be amazing in the NBA. His 249 total rebounds dwarf Eric Gordon’s 104, and he more than doubled Gordon in both offensive and defensive rebounds despite playing further from the rim. How useful is that skill?
When you think of great rebounding college guards, not many names come to mind. One that does is Brandon Roy, however. Throughout his entire college career, his average was 5 rebounds per game. Beal has beaten that in year one, and it’s not because he was asked to do less. Beal rebounded whether he was the top scorer or if he had an off night. His 6.73 RPG mark is closer to Jason Kidd’s 6.9 during his sophomore year at Cal in 1994. The fact that we have to reach back a decade to find a comparable rebounding guard says something about his ability. No, he’s not going to be a triple double threat every night, but his rebounding is what makes me ecstatic about him coming to the Wizards (one of the worst rebounding teams in the league last year).
This is actually the one area where Beal and Allen are similar (though I didn’t want to bring this up again). Allen, during his sophomore year of college, averaged 6.8 rebounds per game. Though he did score more than Beal, the two were very comparable in that regard. I’m not going to dwell on this one any more but it should be noted that, while analysts do have high hopes for Beal as a rebounder at the next level, Allen never averaged over 5 rebounds a game during his professional career.
In the end, I think Bradley Beal is going to be a great all-around player, provided that he does work very hard. I think he’s going to be better in more facets of the game than Eric Gordon, but not as talented a scorer. I believe he’ll be able to rebound and pass well like Ray Allen, but he’ll never average 25 or 26 points per game. He’s going to be good, but I’m predicting fringe All-Star, maybe one or two times.
I’m predicting a career similar to…*gulp*
A better Larry Hughes.
Think about it. Larry Hughes played his entire career with ball dominant guards like Ray Allen and Gilbert Arenas (and a young LeBron, who essentially played PG). Wall is actually a much more willing passer than all of them sans LeBron, which bodes well for Beal’s ability to score. I think the comparison is being kind to Beal, because Hughes was a pretty darn good player in his own right. Heck, I even think Bradley is going to be a more effective scorer (though their scoring averages will end up being similar).
Hughes abilities were in his all around game. He could rebound, he could pass, and he was always able to keep the ball moving. His shooting stroke wasn’t all that awesome at all, but he did very well in other facets of the game while not needing the ball. If Beal can become a slightly better version of Larry Hughes, it’s a success.
(Stats courtesy of Statsheet.com and Basketball Reference)
By: Willis and Bohlin
1.) How would you grade the Wizards draft?
Bohlin: The Wizards made a significant addition to their roster last night by selecting Bradley Beal with the third overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Beal, widely regarded as the top SG prospect in the draft, will be able to step in and contribute at the shooting guard position immediately. I believe that John Wall and Bradley Beal will work extremely well off of one another and will finally give the Wizards the stability they have been searching for in the backcourt since the days of a healthy Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes.
Their selection of Tomas Satoransky in the second round makes sense when you really look at it from the front office’s perspective but fans were not as sold on the Czech born guard. Their argument has merit, there were players left on the board who could have helped this franchise continue to turn the corner. A Doron Lamb, Quincy Miller or Will Barton would have pleased the fanbase more so than taking a guy no one had ever heard of prior to his workout in DC two weeks ago. Satoransky is the definition of a draft and stash player. I do like the fact that he plays in the ACB league in Spain, at least we know that he is facing quality competition in Europe while we wait for him to hopefully make his way over to the states. Currently the Wizards have 12 players signed for next season and 8 of them are still on their rookie contracts, this selection affords the Wizards the opportunity to seek out a veteran in free agency to take Satoransky’s place on this year’s team.
Willis: Does a C seem a little harsh? Yeah, a bit, but whatever because in my book a C means you’ve half-assed something, which is exactly what Ernie did with this draft. It’s like Ernie hit a potential RBI double (drafting Beal), but got thrown out at second because he was so shocked about getting an actual hit that he jogged to first. That’s the story of Grunfeld’s career; he may do something right, but he’s got to make at least one dumb move every single draft. In this case, it was botching the second round pick for a kid who the Wizards may never see.
That being said, I like the Bradley Beal pick a lot, and the Wizards have officially bolstered their backcourt for the future and addressed their perimeter shooting woes. Beal should be able to stroke it from everywhere on the court, and the Wizards amazingly have an in and out game now. It’s not the best in the league, to be sure, but Beal makes it much better.
2.) Bradley Beal; your thoughts on him and John Wall?
Bohlin: Beal is the perfect complement to our franchise point guard. His smooth stroke and quick release will only help Wall’s game as a whole. Opposing defenses will no longer be able to completely disrespect the Wizards ability to knock down shots from behind the arc with any consistency. Beal’s presence should free up the lane a bit for Wall to do what he does so well, penetrate and get into the paint causing defenses to react to him.
I believe that this newly formed Wizards backcourt is going to cause problems for the rest of the Eastern Conference sooner rather than later. With two super talented guards to match up with the plethora of bodies we have in our front court rotation we are one step closer to relevance outside of the DMV. I am excited to see this pairing come together and cannot wait for the first time #2 and #23 take the floor together wearing the red, white and blue.
Willis: Rather than talking more about Bradley Beal and what his shooting brings to the table, I’m going to go a different route in getting people excited for the upcoming season. Think about this: multiple times a year for the next 2-3 seasons, John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to be facing off against Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Four players on two different teams who play in the same conference and going about things in an entirely different manner. I think these two backcourts are actually the future of the Eastern Conference, and considering their closeness in draft position and age, the comparisons are going to be constant and unending. Whereas Irving is a shooter, Wall is a speed demon slasher. Waiters is an attack the basket kind of guy, but Beal is a shooter like Irving. I couldn’t be more excited for these matchups next year, and you should be just as estatic.
Another matchup to look forward to? Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers. These two are another youthful backcourt combination that Washington is going to constantly face off against. Turner was drafted right after Wall, and Jrue Holiday is still a very young player who is developing into a stud. The backcourt matchups are all over the Eastern Conference, and we’re in for a fun ride from here on out.
3.) Tomas Satoransky: Great Czech? or Greatest Czech?
Bohlin: Great Czech. Washington D.C. has quickly become a hotbed for Czech basketball. Of the four Czech born players to ever make it to the NBA the Wizards now have one on their roster and own the rights to another. Tomas Satoransky, a 6’8” combo guard who last played for CB Sevilla in the Spanish ACB league, is an interesting prospect. I had to do some research on him in the last 12 hours as I will admit I had a sparse amount of knowledge about his game outside of the fact he worked out for the Wizards two weeks ago. The more I read up on Satoransky, the more I don’t mind this selection.
Judging from the scout’s perception of Satoransky he is a skilled player with a high basketball IQ from his experiences playing against high-level European competition. When will we see Satoransky suit up for the Wizards…if he ever suits up for us? I wish I had a better answer to that question; the honest answer is we have no idea. He may never make it over to the states and play for us, that’s the risk you run drafting a foreign player with the hopes of keeping them in Europe for extra seasoning. Could a Doron Lamb, Quincy Miller or Will Barton filled a role with this Wizards team? Sure they could have. No point in looking back at it now though, the pick has been made and we have to live with it. Here is hoping that Satoransky eventually makes it over to D.C. and is able to contribute to this franchise in some way.
Willis: Greatest Czech. After screaming incoherently upon hearing Mr. Silver announce Tomas Satoransky’s name instead of all the people I wanted to see in a Wizards uniform, I eventually resigned myself to the fact that this was just another Ernie move. This had to happen, or our GM wouldn’t be Ernie Grunfeld because Ernie makes incredibly dumb moves all the time. Tomas Satoransky had better be the best Czech player ever, because Washington essentially just took Vladimir Vermeeko all over again. We’re going to stash him away and hope he develops into more than what he already is: an athletic but skinny non NBA ready two guard who can’t shoot. Don’t we have enough of those? Does Ernie not realize that the European Union is collapsing!? How is Ernie not fired yet?
Seriously, nothing against Satoransky, I’m sure he’s a very nice kid, but good teams don’t do this. The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up Perry Jones III very late in the draft, and the Wizards took a guy we’re likely never going to watch play. Don’t tell me that it’s because of a lack of roster space, because if you don’t think Doron Lamb is an upgrade over Jordan Crawford, or Quincy Miller isn’t an upgrade over Chris Singleton/Andray Blatche/anyone on our roster, you’re kidding yourself. Good teams don’t do this, and the gap between the Oklahoma City Thunder’s front office an ours is enormous. Getting value in late round picks is always a staple of good ball clubs, and we just proved why the Wizards are so inept. The San Antonio Spurs aren’t doing this, either. We could have saved money, upgraded at a position, and addressed a shooting need all in one pick. Instead, we made ourselves look just as bad as always.
4.) Do the Wizards make any more moves this offseason?
Bohlin: In short, yes. Will any of these moves grab national headlines? Probably not. I expect the Wizards to make a few more minor additions to the roster between now and the beginning of training camp. Personally, I would love to see James Singleton have a chance to make this team out of camp as I believe he earned himself at the least the opportunity to stick with the Wizards after his performance to round out last season. We will see what Ernie and Co. choose to do in free agency now that we have added our SG of the future. It is possible we have seen the last of players like Roger Mason Jr. (The other Great 8!) and Mo Evans in the Wizards red, white and blue. Both are free agents this summer and might want to look to latch on to a contender as they are both entering the twilight of their careers.
Willis: If we don’t, then we’re leaving Wizards fans with an incomplete team that isn’t good enough to win now. July 1st is the date to look out for, because that’s when NBA free agency begins and there’s a lot more fluidity in the market. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if Ernie makes a big splash in free agency by ridding our team of Andray Blatche and a first rounder for a slightly past his prime star wing player, or something like that. It seems like a dumb move now, but Ernie Grunfeld is in win-now mode, whether we like it or not. He has skipped the rebuild and dove directly into the playoff push position. Ted Leonsis himself has said that we’re not going to be a lottery team next year. Is it a flawed plan? You betcha, but our biggest need is at the three now and Ernie is a sly maneuvering GM so expect him to mortgage the future for the now.
Nene, Okafor, Ariza, Beal and Wall is going to compete, but it’s not going to contend, which is the ultimate goal. I look for Ernie to go after a small forward who is capable of defending, rebounding, and hitting the three point shot. We’re going to need to be deep at that position if we expect to guard the absolutely stocked amount of small forwards in the Eastern Conference like Danny Granger, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Gerald Wallace, etc. If we can find a 3/4 man, we’re going to grab him, and the playoff push will have officially begun.
Yesterday, Ryan Feldman of ESPN Stats & Information posted a very disturbing breakdown of just how bad the Wizards perimeter shooting woes actually were. That our perimeter shooting was bad didn’t exactly surprise me; I’d seen enough Jordan Crawford hurls and John Wall bricks to know that we desperately needed help on that front. That our perimeter shooting actually may be a sign of worse things to come is the particularly nerve wracking part. It also highlights the fact that one player through the draft isn’t nearly enough to solve Washington’s problems.
Averaging 0.88 points on every spot up play is pitiful, and it virtually removes a vital aspect of basketball for the Washington Wizards. Only the Charlotte Bobcats (with Kemba Walker) and the Sacramento Kings (with Tyreke Evans and Jimmer) shot worse than Washington, and there wasn’t much differentiation between these three. A lot of this can obviously be blamed on John Wall’s inability to shoot, but Chris Singletary and Jordan Crawford were equally as bad. Quite frankly, I’m not certain that the stat is going to get any better with the addition of Trevor Ariza. On the contrary it might get worse, considering that Trevor Ariza is a notoriously poor shooter who only managed to make a decent amount of shots with the Lakers. Four years ago.
Until I read this article, I actually thought that John Wall on the pick and roll was at least a moderately effective play; I was wrong about that, too. I should have known, though, because Wall is the primary ball-handler, yet he cannot shoot. As such, Washington was the fourth worst NBA team on points per pick-and-roll play at 0.72 points per play on 37% shooting. Wall actually made the team worse in this regard (0.69 points per play on 36% shooting. Again, this is another instance where I’m going to say that I highly doubt the Wizards are going to get better.
Wall has proven himself an ineffective shooter in two seasons, and I am far from convinced he is going to somehow develop a jumper in the offseason (or even a set shot, push shot, or sky hook). For someone who is considered a phenomenal talent, Wall doesn’t offer a whole lot to like about his game aside from speed and slashing. The list of point guards who couldn’t shoot but got better isn’t a long one. Some can argue Russell Westbrook, but he still isn’t a particularly good three point shooter. He has managed to get better on pull up jumpers, but that was through incredibly hard work in the offseason.
(Not to make this all about Mr. Wall, but there actually is a bit of evidence that suggests he is on a similar progression path as Mr. Westbrook provided he puts in the necessary effort. Year-by-year comparisons of their first two seasons are almost exactly the same).
Need more evidence that the Wizards backcourt needs an upgrade? Well this figure should convince you: Of the 40 players with at least 1,000 plays, John Wall and Jordan Crawford finished 38th and 40th overall in terms of points per play. Demarcus Cousins, the most inefficient player on the court any given night, actually fared better than John Wall (0.81 to 0.87 PPP)! It’s embarrassing how bad things actually got for the Wizards, and even though we hate on Jordan Crawford he was still better than John Wall in terms of efficiency. In fact, Jordan Crawford is more akin to Jrue Holiday (albeit a bit older) in terms of proficiency.
We also already knew how bad the Wizards ball management was at times during the season. Part of that is due to the breakneck pace at which Washington plays, but another part is just sloppy team play and poor execution. Far too often, Wall and Crawford turned the ball over at such alarming rates there was no way we could win. As such, the Wizards were the third-worst team on assist-to-turnover ratios, and the fourth-worst percentage on assisted shots. Both statistics definitely line up with what people are seeing on the court, as you can’t get assists on baskets when no one can actually make a basket. When you add all this up though, it means that Washington had better upgrade that backcourt or there will be some serious turmoil next season.
The easy answer is that Bradley Beal should be taken with the number three pick overall, which is what we already knew. But the fact remains that Beal wasn’t really stuffing the stat sheet until the NCAA tournament. He was able to overcome some early season adversity (likely the first time this prolific high school player had ever actually faced any adversity) to start knocking down shots consistently later on in the year. That being said, he is still by no means a solid lock to be an incredible shooter. Still, Beal’s ability to hit shots off screens is going to immensely help out a backcourt that needs it (providing he plays at his NCAA Tournament levels). If not, his 33% shooting from long range that he exhibited earlier on in the season aren’t going to help Washington at all. It’s probably just going to make the Wizards worse.
The other option is that the Wizards could draft the other supposedly great shooter in Harrison Barnes (who may be able to play the two or three) who has a bit more experience and is a more proven prospect. Barnes could be rotated between both positions, as he is likely capable of short stints at the two while Washington figures out how to best address that need through free agency or a second round draft pick. Beal is younger, but Barnes can help immediately as he has unlimited range. They’re actually very similar players, with Barnes being taller and a bit more athletic (though he still doesn’t know how to use it effectively).
And the final option is to move the pick for more talent. Since three of our five starters (presumably Okafor, Nene, and Ariza) are now approaching or passed 30 years old, doesn’t that put the team in win now mode? If that’s the case, wouldn’t Washington be better served cherry picking talent from other teams in exchange for future value? I mean, it’s not the most preferred route, but it is certainly an option. It’s well known that teams like Portland, Houston, and just about any other team in the 10-15 range would love to add more pieces. So it may be worth attempting to ship the pick for established, veteran shooters and heading straight into playoff mode (bypassing the rebuild).
But basically, the aforementioned statistics on our backcourt just backed up what we had already established: it’s Beal, Barnes or Bust.
By: The DC Dime Staff
With the lottery behind us and the NBA draft only a few short weeks away, I’m sure every Wizards fan is wondering the same question: Who are the Wizards going to draft with the #3 pick? While my colleagues and I may have some pretty comprehensive knowledge on the subjects of NBA draft and the draft, we’re not experts. But while we aren’t, there are some websites that excel at providing some of the most in-depth, impressive, and knowledgeable information on the draft process and the players within.
NBADraft.net is arguably the best out there in terms of draft knowledge, and The DC Dime has been reading it since it’s inception. We managed to get Johnathan Wasserman, one of the writers and analysts for NBADraft.net, to take some time out of his day to answer for Wizards fans a few questions regarding the draft:
DC: Thomas Robinson projects to be, at worst, a great rebounder in the NBA. Where do you see his potential falling? All-Star or borderline All-Star/Role Player.
JW: I think 18 and 8 are realistic numbers by year 3 for T-Rob. He’s much more than just a ridiculous athlete with NBA strength. But I’d be weary of pairing him with Nene to start. Both occupy similar floorspace, which could hinder his progression.
DC: Is Andre Drummond Kwame Brown 2.0? Or is this comparison insulting to Kwame?
JW: Outside of Davis, nobody’s ceiling is higher than Drummond’s. If he figures it out, someone will have landed themselves a starting big for years to come. Problem is big men are vulnerable to underachieving, and his raw offensive game is worrisome. But his basement is not the same as Kwame Brown’s. If Drummond never figures it out offensively, he’s still likely be the most athletic, explosive big man on the court.
DC: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a great player, but not necessarily a great shooter. Should Washington look elsewhere in the draft to address this need? Or do you select MKG based on future potential.
JW: I’d don”t think MKG has a high ceiling. I’m think he can start for many teams in the near future, but don’t expect much half court offense. In my opinion Washington needs another half-court scoring weapon, and that’s not what MKG is. He’s a quintessential glue guy who can play off better players. But unfortunately on Washington he doesn’t have great players to compliment.
DC: If you had to decide today, what do the Wizards do with this pick?
JW: My draft board for Washington, assuming Davis goes 1, would read :1. Beal 2. Drummond 3. Robinson
Thanks again, Jonathan, for alleviating some of the fan concerns about this draft!
For all your NBA Draft information, check out http://www.NBADraft.net for the best coverage!
Tags: andre drummond, Anthony Davis, basketball, beal, blatche, bradley beal, calipari, draft, drummond, florida, Hoyas, Kentucky, nba, NBA Draft, nbadraft.net, sports, Terps, Thomas Robinson, Wizards