A key component of the game of basketball, statistics are both exalted for their comprehensiveness and condemned for their ridiculousness. There are an unlimited number of ways to evaluate a player on paper, with each seemingly generating non-stop debate over its value. In recent seasons, Synergy Sports Technology and other companies have brought on a new generation of statistics in basketball, and along with the likes of John Hollinger and Dean Oliver, have changed the way NBA teams evaluate prospects.
Accounting for every jumper missed on a fast break, pick and roll from the top of key, and bad pass in crunch time, the data at the disposal of NBA decision-makers seems to get deeper almost daily. As statistics become more advanced, you can even start to predict what areas a college player may struggle in moving forward based on what their numbers in college or where they may still have upside.
As we get further and further away from the actual season that was played between November and April, we tend to forget at times how productive prospects actually were on their individual teams between all the talk about wingspans and upside and performance in private workouts and such.
With that in mind, we're running a simple analysis of how all the top prospects in this draft compare in all the different facets of the game statistically that matter at their individual position.
Points Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||28.9|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||24.5|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||21.5|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||20.6|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||17.5|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||17.5|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||15.7|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||15.7|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||11.6|
This stat tells us plainly how often these small forwards put the ball in the basket, adjusting for minutes played and pace, which levels the playing field as best as we can without taking into account competition level, individual team roles, and teammates into consideration. This is a good place to start with this group of players, as it tells us about their versatility, the range of roles they played last season, and a little bit about each prospect's mentality as a playmaker or scorer.
The position stacked with some of the most intriguing and most productive players in all of college basketball a year ago, the small forward spot is an obvious strength of the 2014 draft. Doug McDermott's feats as a scorer became the stuff of legends last season, and he paces all players, regardless of position, likely to hear their names called on draft night, in scoring rate, and by a sizable margin.
This small forward group isn't a one man show however, as T.J. Warren, who would rank second all players regardless of position takes the second spot. Both McDermott and Warren showed an innate feel for scoring the ball. McDermott was a threat from every spot on the floor, while Warren, just a 27% 3-point shooter, showed a remarkable ability to score with his floater and from awkward angles in the midrange.
Jabari Parker and Cleanthony Early comprise the 2nd tier of players here. Though Parker is the much more highly touted of the two players, both share a common ability to score effectively from the inside and outside and have faced questions about their true position at the next level at points in their careers. K.J. McDaniels edges LaQuinton Ross for the last spot in the top-5, and while McDaniels has plenty of room to improve as a shooter from beyond the arc, he was one of the most improved offensive players in the country and finished around the rim at an elite rate thanks to his terrific explosiveness.
Among top prospects, Andrew Wiggins finishes some 5 points behind Parker, but just 2 and some change away from finishing in the top-5. Scoring 20 points per-40 is nothing to sneer at for a freshman who was only 18 for much of the season. Jerami Grant and Kyle Anderson both finish below average here, as Grant was not a featured option and lacks much in the way of offensive polish, Anderson was as much as facilitator as a scorer as we'll see later.
The bottom-two spots belong to physically mature roleplayers filling minor roles overseas. Damien Inglis and Viktor Gaddefors are two of the more well-built players in this group, but neither played a significant role for their teams offensively this season. The same can be said for Niels Giffey and Josh Huestis, who helped their teams to the NCAA tournament, but were not featured offensive players. Both showed well in Portsmouth playing a larger role outside of the systems they were in during the college season. Former Texas Longhorn Ionannis Papapetrou is the only Euroleague competitor among small forward prospects, and his minor role on one of the best teams outside of the NBA certainly limited his productivity.
NBA scouts would have probably liked to see James Young and Glenn Robinson average more than 17 points per-40 minutes considering their limitations in other areas.
Three Point Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||7.4|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||7.3|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||5.7|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||4.8|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||4.3|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||3.9|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||3.8|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||3.5|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||0.2|
This stat tells us a lot about the roles these prospects played for their respective teams, the confidence they had in their perimeter shooting ability, and the freedom they were given by their former coaches.
There's a clear drop-off after the top-5 here, as Joe Harris, Doug McDerott, Ioannis Papapetrou, James Young, and Clanthony Early comprise an obvious top tier. Of the five, McDermott's 45% from deep is the top mark, but Harris's 40% isn't far behind. Virginia relied heavily on Harris's ability to spot-up and come off screens in their deliberate half court offense. Papapetrou's role in Olympiacos is mainly to space the floor and score in transition, while Young and Early were the main shooting wings on two of the nation's best college teams. Young was the least effective shooter of the college players in the top-5, connecting on a solid, but not spectacular 35% of his attempts from beyond the arc this year.
Rodney Hood sits just outside of the top-5, while Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins both rank right around average. Neither player was overly reliant on the three point shot during their strong freshman seasons.
Jerami Grant and Jakarr Sampson attempted the fewest three pointers, and both players are still developing their perimeter skills. While some would label them tweeners, both players have the physical tools to at least defend the small forward position effectively at the next level. Kyle Anderson showed marked improvement as a shooter this year, but didn't attempt many shots from the outside, which is somewhat of a red flag considering how much he's struggled there in the past, while Josh Huestis and C.J. Fair are upperclassmen looking to make the same transition to the wing full time like Grant and Sampson.
Three Point Attempts Per Field Goal Attempt
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||0.58|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.47|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||0.46|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||0.44|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||0.29|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||0.29|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.27|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||0.18|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||0.01|
This stat examines how heavily these wings relied on the 3-ball to score, which is a good indicator of the roles each prospect played last season, but also an indirect gauge of how well each of them got to the rim as well. Players which attempted a large proportion of their shots from beyond the arc may have some deficiencies in terms of size, ball-handling ability, athleticism, aggressiveness, or shot-selection. Or they simply could be outstanding shooters. Every player should be judged individually in this regard.
Niels Giffey and Viktor Gaddefors both make considerable jumps to just outside the top-5 here, as the complementary offensive roles they played makes their proclivity to spot-up more clear.
Doug McDermott developed his reputation as a scorer in large part due to his jump-shot, but only 34% of his field goal attempts this past season came from beyond the arc.
Jabari Parker and T.J. Warren both fall into the bottom-6, as the sheer volume of shots they attempted from the post in Parker's case and from the midrange in Warren's case show how little time they spent looking for shots from the outside. 3-point attempts made up just 15% of Kyle Anderson's field goal attempts, which is something to keep an eye on if he's forced to transition to playing off the ball in the NBA.
Free Throw Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||7.5|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||7.3|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||6.8|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||6.1|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||5.4|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||4.5|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||4.2|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||2.4|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||2.1|
Free throws attempted per-40 minutes is a good statistic to measure the aggressiveness of a player getting to the rim, as well as his athleticism and ball-handling skills. In some ways, it provides an inverse look at the three-point stats we just looked at.
The cream rises to the top here as Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins both drew free throws at high rates this past season. Jerami Grant and T.J. Warren give the top-4 a very ACC feel, despite being very different players offensively. Cleanthony Early rounds out the top-5, as he's more than just a 3-point shooter.
Among top small forwards, Doug McDermott and K.J. McDaniels both sit just outside the top-5 while James Young and Kyle Anderson rank slightly above average.
McDermott was obviously far from being a one-dimensional shooter as we can see in the quantity of free throw attempts he took this past season.
Our three roleplayers from Europe take three of the bottom 4 spots here, while Niels Giffey and Josh Huestis are both limited by their respective roles and average ball-handling ability.
Free Throw Attempts Per Possession
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||0.36|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||0.35|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.35|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||0.33|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||0.31|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.28|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||0.27|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||0.18|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||0.17|
Even though Free Throws Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted tells us how much a player attacks in bulk, it doesn't show how much they attack relative to their usage rate. This stat tells that story, and shows that Jerami Grant drew fouls at a simply outstanding rate per-possession.
A few other players shift around some here, again indicating the differences in usage among this group
The biggest riser appears to be Thanasis Antetokounmpo, whose athleticism helped him draw contact at a nice rate when he attacked the rim playing in the NBADL for the Delaware 86ers. Antetokounmpo settled for a fair amount of jump shots, and could become more adept as a slasher as his game matures.
Andrew Wiggins leapfrogs Jabari Parker, as Parker's larger role plays against him while Kyle Anderson rises to just outside of the top-5. Doug McDermott falls a ways here due to his massive overall usage.
True Shooting Percentage
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||0.64|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||0.6|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||0.59|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||0.58|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||0.57|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.56|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.56|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||0.55|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||0.51|
True Shooting Percentage is adjusted to account for what a player adds to their efficiency and team's point total with free throw attempts and 3-pointers. This stat attempts to adjust for all the ways a player can put points on the board.
This is one of the more interesting categories to look at, especially combined with scoring rate overall, to see those who is both using a large number of possessions and scoring at a very high efficiency. Niels Giffey wasn't a huge usage option for UConn, but he was tremendously efficient on the offensive end as a senior. On the other hand, Doug McDermott was incredibly high usage, and only slightly less efficient than Giffey scoring the ball. It is obviously rare for a player with McDermott's usage to score with the efficiency associated with much lower usage roleplayers. Cleanthony Early takes the third spot before a considerable drop off due to his ability to his well above average percentages all-around (58% 2P, 38% 3P, 84% FT).
Melvin Ejim makes an appearance in the top-5 here and doesn't rank far below average in any particular category we'll look at. A much improved shooter and offensive player overall over his career at Iowa State, Ejim ranks just above Rodney Hood. Hood's shooting ability helped him make a splash playing next to Jabari Parker in his only season at Duke.
Andrew Wiggins ranks average here, while Jabari Parker ranks marginally behind him. College power forwards transitioning to the small forward spot at the NBA level, C.J. Fair, Jakarr, Sampson, and Josh Huestis all possess impressive explosiveness, but were not overly efficient scoring the ball last year. LaQuinton Ross and James Young round out the bottom-5.
Assists Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||4.3|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||2.6|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||2.4|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||2.1|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||1.8|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||1.6|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||1.3|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||1.2|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||1.1|
Moving away from the scoring categories, some players who didn't stand out in any of the previous categories immediately jump to the top of the list, indicating the rather noticeable schism between pure scorers and all-around players in this group.
Kyle Anderson had the highest assist rate of any player in this draft class regardless of position. One of the most unique players to come out of the college game in some time, Anderson may have outstanding size and questionable athleticism, but he's an extremely adept passer who showed marked improvement in a number of areas this year. Adin Vrabac takes the second spot, as the Bosnian wing plays a point forward role of sorts for Spars. He's a very good athlete even relative to American prospects, and is very productive in transition.
Joe Harris is surprisingly the 2nd best passer among college players, as his unselfishness in Tony Bennett's system help him rank above more prolific shot creators and ball handlers here. Thanasis Antetokounmpo takes the fourth spot, just above Damien Inglis. Inglis played plenty of point-forward on the junior level.
Andrew Wiggins edges Jabari Parker here, though neither player ranks particularly high on this list. DeAndre Daniels ranks as the least prolific passer, dishing out just one total assist during UConn's run in the NCAA Tournament. Cleanthony Early, T.J. Warren, and LaQuinton Ross were responsible for a large portion of the scoring for their respective teams, and didn't often make plays for others.
Turnovers Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||4|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||2.9|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||2.8|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||2.7|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||2.7|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||2.4|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||2.4|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||2.1|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||1.9|
Adin Vrabac and Kyle Anderson are the most turnover prone players in this group followed by two other fairly prolific passers in Damien Inglis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Jabari Parker jumps into the top-5 as his heavy usage plays against him here.
Andrew Wiggins ranks above the mean here, while Doug McDermott turned the ball over at a shockingly low rate relative to his prolific scoring numbers. Glenn Robinson, Jerami Grant, and Josh Huestis rank among the least turnover prone players in this group, as all three did little shot creating for themselves this season relative to their peers. Spot-up shooters Ioannis Papapetrou and Niels Giffey round out the bottom-5.
Pure Point Ratio
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||-1.7|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||-1.8|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||-2.7|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||-2.7|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||-2.9|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||-3.1|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||-4.1|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||-4.7|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||-5.4|
Looking at the prior two categories combined and then adjusted for the negative value of the turnover, only two players in this group finish above 0, as this group on the whole doesn't feature a great number of prolific passers. Kyle Anderson has an excellent pure point rating even for a point guard, while Joe Harris's posts a solid number for a wing.
Rodney Hood, Jerami Grant and Josh Huestis rank above average. Though Huestis and Grant weren't prolific assist-men, their low turnover numbers put them in good shape relative to the rest of the group.
Cleanthony Early has the lowest PPR in this group, falling just below Jabari Parker. As much as Parker turned the ball over, he didn't compensate with many assists. Like T.J. Warren, and C.J. Fair, he falls in the bottom-5 due to how heavily his team relied on his scoring production. He was seldom looking to pass, but often in attack mode.
Among top prospects, James Young ranks slightly above average, right below Doug McDermott. Andrew Wiggins ranks slightly below average here.
Rebounds Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||9.7|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||9|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||8.4|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||8.3|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||8.3|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||6.7|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||6.3|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||5.6|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||4.2|
Having spent a good amount of time at the power forward center positions for Duke this year, Jabari Parker takes the top spot here by a sizeable margin. Parker may have been in better position to rebound the ball more frequently than some of his peers defending inside, but also has excellent instincts on the glass.
Kyle Anderson takes the 2nd spot, as in addition to his passing ability, his length and terrific anticipation skills make him a solid rebounder as well. Melvin Ejim and Jerami Grant take the 3rd and 4th spot, both playing power forward for long stretches. Ejim has a teriffic frame and motor on the glass while Grant's length and athleticism help him here. Damien Inglis rounds out the top-5 thanks to his tremendous physical maturity for a player his age.
Doug McDermott ranks slightly above average while Andrew Wiggins ranks slightly below average, showing how athleticism isn't everything when it comes to cleaning the glass in the college game.
Adin Vrabac ranks as the worst rebounder in this group, just below Joe Harris, James Young, and Rodney Hood. Vrabac's numbers show that he played a guard-like role in Bosnia while Hood, Young, and Harris aren't overwhelmingly strong and explosive athletes, though each is fairly fluid and skilled. Thanasis Antetokounmpo's bottom-5 finish is surprising relative to his superb physical tools. The same can be said for Glenn Robinson.
Steals Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||2.1|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||1.8|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||1.4|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||1.3|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||1.3|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||1.2|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||1|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||0.9|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||0.9|
A small forward's ability to apply ball pressure and get in the passing lanes often helps his team quicken the pace of the game without forcing the issue. Though there's a million ways to create a turnover, this stat paints a broad picture of what a prospect brings to the table both physically in terms of quickness and length and mentally in terms of intensity and anticipation. Many analytics-based metrics use this stat heavily as part of their formula to decipher how effectively players will transition from college to the NBA, as it has reportedly proven to be quite telling throughout the years.
T.J. Warren and Kyle Anderson are not the most athletic players, but they find themselves in a tier by themselves thanks to their anticipation and aggressiveness in the passing lanes. Three professional players round out the top-5, as Viktor Gaddefors and Damien Inglis have excellent physical tools for small forwards in the European game while Thanasis Antetokounmpo's length and athleticism helped him put together some terrific performances defensively.
Jabari Parker edges Andrew Wiggins by a small margin here, as both players rank a bit above average.
Doug McDermott takes the bottom spot by a sizeable margin, as his lack of great quickness and length limits him defensively. Josh Huestis takes the 2nd to last spot as he spent much of his time protecting the rim instead of defending the perimeter. Jakarr Sampson has better tools on the defensive end to work with than Rodney Hood, but neither player forced many turnovers last season.
Blocks Per-40 Pace Adjusted
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||1.3|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||1.2|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.9|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||0.8|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||0.8|
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||0.7|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||0.6|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||0.5|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||0.3|
K.J. McDaniels is easily the best shot blocker in this group. While his vertical didn't top the charts at the NBA combine, the Clemson forward is a tremendous athlete and put his explosiveness to better use than many players on this list defensively, where he was unafraid to challenge finishers inside.
Josh Huestis blocked shots at a high level as well, playing primarily inside at the college level, which also helps propel Jabari Parker to a top-5 finish. The length of DeAndre Daniels land him the third spot, while Thanasis Antetokounmpo shares his brother's knack for making spectacular defensive players to some degree.
Andrew Wiggins ranks just outside of the top-5, although there is a significant drop off after Parker. He may not have blocked as many shots, but there's little question Wiggins showed more potential defending the perimeter one-on-one this season.
Doug McDermott takes the bottom spot once again, again due to his average physical tools. James Young and Rodney Hood both rank poorly here, and like McDermott, have questions to answer about their defensive ability at the next level as well.
Player Efficiency Rating
|T.J. Warren||N.C. State||NCAA||31.7|
|Cleanthony Early||Wichita State||NCAA||26.7|
|Melvin Ejim||Iowa State||NCAA||23.6|
|LaQuinton Ross||Ohio State||NCAA||22.1|
|Jakarr Sampson||St. John's||NCAA||18.7|
|Nedim Buza||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||16.5|
|Adin Vrabac||Spars Sarajevo||BOSNIA||16.1|
|Ioannis Papapetrou||Olympiakos||EURO, GREECE||15.1|
|Viktor Gaddefors||Virtus Bologna||ITALY||12.4|
Created by John Hollinger, PER is a total measure of what a player does on the floor based on more than a dozen weighted calculations. It isn't always wise to compare players across different leagues given how different the style of play is internationally and at the college level. The NCAA is especially tricky considering the varying levels of competition we find in the different conferences. As maligned as the countless catch-all statistics out there are, PER specifically provides an interesting glimpse into how all of the statistics we've looked at thus far piece together.
Doug McDermott and T.J. Warren take the top spots thanks to their truly elite scoring ability. Jabari Parker and K.J. McDaniels finish neck and neck for the 3rd spot, getting a boost from their impressive rebounding and defensive numbers. Cleanthony Early rounds out the top 5, with Kyle Anderson just behind him. Anderson's placement near the top-5 is fairly impressive given his lack of scoring ability relative to the rest of the top-8. Jerami Grant is in a similar boat, finishing well here given his limited scoring ability, albeit a ways behind Anderson. Andrew Wiggins finishes just behind Grant and right above average.
The pro players in this group take the bottom 6 spots, with James Young ranking as the least productive collegiate prospect. Inglis, Antetokounmpo and Gaddefors all rank below the built-in average of 15. Gaddefors and Inglis simply don't play a bit enough role to finish above that bar, while Antetokounmpo is limited here by his lack of productivity and efficiency.