East-West Comparison

[UPDATE 7/3/09: After some discussion with some readers from wildaboutazcats.com, I revisited the formula to account for positions played by players. While the numbers are different overall, and the order in which players are listed has changed, the results are basically still the same.]

When it comes to NCAA basketball, no one can deny the fact that since the NBA shortened the draft to only two rounds in 1985, Arizona has had the most draft picks of any university (31) – more than Duke (29), UCLA (28), North Carolina (25), or Connecticut (23).

Some of those picks have been superstars (Gilbert Arenas), while others… not so much (Marcus Williams).

What would happen, then, if you had an all-Arizona NBA team vs. say an all-UConn NBA team?

Let’s take a look – for Arizona (all stats are career stats):
PG – Gilbert Arenas (22.8 PPG, 4.2 REB, 5.5 AST, 1.8 STL, 20.74 PER)
PG – Mike Bibby (16.4 PPG, 3.3 REB, 6.1 AST, 1.3 STL, 16.91 PER)
C – Channing Frye (8.2 PPG, 4.6 REB, 0.5 BLK, 0.4 STL)
SG – Andre Iguodala (15.6 PPG, 5.7 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.8 STL, 16.89 PER)
SF – Richard Jefferson (17.7 PPG, 5.3 REB, 3.0 AST, 0.9 STL, 16.56 PER)
PG – Jason Terry (16.2 PPG, 2.9 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.3 STL, 17.86 PER)
SF – Luke Walton (5.6 PPG, 3.2 REB, 2.5 AST, 0.6 STL)

for UConn (all stats are career stats):

SG – Ray Allen (20.9 PPG, 4.4 REB, 3.8 AST, 1.2 STL, 19.72 PER)
SF – Caron Butler (16.7 PPG, 6.0 REB, 3.0 AST, 1.7 STL, 16.72 PER)
SF – Rudy Gay (16.7 PPG, 5.4 REB, 1.7 AST, 1.2 STL)
SG – Ben Gordon (18.5 PPG, 3.0 REB, 3.0 AST, 0.8 STL)
SG – Richard Hamilton (17.9 PPG, 3.3 REB, 3.4 AST, 0.8 STL, 16.96 PER)
C – Emeka Okafor (14.0 PPG, 10.7 REB, 1.9 BLK, 0.8 STL)
PF – Charlie Villanueva (13.4 PPG, 6.3 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.6 STL)

If one went purely on PPG, UConn has the decided advantage at 118.1 PPG to Arizona’s 102.5. How about PER? Arizona has five career leaders versus UConn’s three.

However, I created another metric to summarize a player’s impact (PIR) based on the person’s stats over time – this takes into account the number of minutes played, so the career stats aren’t skewed by the longer careers of people like Bibby and Allen.

For comparison, I also did four other player PIRs. Unsurprisingly, none of the UConn or Arizona alums are even close to these four (one of which is a Hall of Famer, the other three will definitely be joining him).

Michael Jordan 96.87
LeBron James 89.92
Shaquille O’Neal 88.41
Steve Nash 79.03

Where do the UConn players rank?
Ray Allen 65.49
Emeka Okafor 61.28
Charlie Villanueva 61.16
Ben Gordon 60.42
Rip Hamilton 58.98
Caron Butler 58.87
Rudy Gay 54.46

Arizona … much, much better:
Gilbert Arenas 72.65
Mike Bibby 64.46
Jason Terry 62.48
Andre Iguodala 60.46
Richard Jefferson 58.88
Luke Walton 52.73
Channing Frye 50.24

Now, you have Arizona with three highly rated players along with Ray Allen and Emeka Okafor.

Also, if we drop all players who have not played 10000 minutes (which actually is 2 players from each side) and sum the PIRs, you get an average team (5 players) total of:

UConn: 61.01
Arizona: 63.79

(Even if you keep all 7 players and do the average PIRs, UConn ends up with 60.10, Arizona slightly higher with 60.27.)

In summary, UConn players may score more, but Arizona players have a little more impact in and on games than UConn players do. This is one of the many reasons why Arizona has more players drafted than any other school in the country.

Another Grab Bag

Random musings from a multitude of topics:

Lamont “Momo” Jones officially committed to the Arizona basketball team on Wednesday. This brings a recruiting class of Jones (SG/PG), Solomon Hill (SF), Kevin Parrom (SF/PF) and Kyryl Natyazhko (C) to the table before Sean Miller ever steps onto Lute and Bobbi Olson Court for an official practice. This also means that Arizona now has done the impossible and reloaded instead of rebuilding, as many thought would happen. The Pac-10 race is now three teams – UCLA, California, and Arizona.

Shaq traded to Cavs – straight salary dump, which is what I said should happen in this same blog last week, but only if it was for salary reasons. Now, with the 14th pick in the draft, and an extra $500k from the Cavs, the Suns should be looking for a couple of missing pieces to the puzzle. One, a veteran center who can play defense and rebound. Two, a backup SF. Ironically, the Suns might get the first in a trade for center Marcus Camby by sending Ben Wallace (whom they acquired in the Shaq trade) to the Clippers. Wallace makes $14.5m this year, and Camby makes only $10m, so a trade would also have to include a third player from the Clips, probably small forward Al Thornton ($1.78m). This gives the Suns the SF cushion they need in case Grant Hill does not return, and also gives them a center in Camby who will hustle, rebound, defend the pick-and-roll and finish at the rim.

I went to the Diamondbacks game last night and watched in horror as Eric Brynes absolutely killed Every Single Rally the D-backs had with two excuse-me swings back to the pitcher and two more groundouts to 2B. The Rangers aren’t a really talented or offensively-gifted team, but when you’ve got a rally-killer in Byrnes at the plate with 2 outs and men on board, all you need to do is score 2 runs against the D-backs and you can pencil yourself in a win. AJ Hinch should have started Ryan Roberts in left. Roberts hits .233 against right handers, unlike Byrnes (.215). Byrnes hits .185 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs, .218 with runners on and less than 2 outs. Roberts, even though he hits .167 with RISP and 2 outs – which is a function of not having that many bats in that situation (a grand total of 6) – has very good numbers with runners on base, hitting .314! And any manager will tell you that even if your AB gets you a hit, if you move the runner into scoring position, you’ve extended the inning just a bit more and put more pressure on that opposing pitcher.

The Mountain West conference had proposed an eight-team playoff to the BCS-people. It was rejected, of course, but really what that amounts to was a playoff that would be another dangling carrot to those non-BCS conferences – finishing in the top 8 would get a seed in the playoff, but would that REALLY happen every year in the next four years? Drawing on the past years, it’s possible, but really unlikely. One year, maybe two at best, but not all four. And what happens in the year it doesn’t happen – does the MWC complain again and threaten more antitrust stuff? Realistically, all the conferences signed on for this, and that’s the rules all teams play by. You want in, win on the field. Utah did last year, and it landed them a nice BCS bowl.

US defeats Spain 2-0 in soccer. I saw this headline in between innings at the D-backs game and did a complete double-take. Holy shmoly! One more victory away from the Confederations Cup? Now I have to find out when this final is playing on TV. You see, the US has NEVER done well in world play – well, the men haven’t at least. So, this is a big thing for the US Men’s team. It would be nice to walk away with a victory in the final and make it a stepping stone toward the next World Cup.

NBA Draft in less than 30 minutes – who will the Suns take at #14? My guess is probably be James Johnson from Wake Forest, though several sites have the Suns selecting Earl Clark from Louisville.

Finally, I’m almost done with the preseason AZ HS rankings. There will be some surprises, I’m sure.

High Schoolers, College Kids, and the NBA Draft, Oh My!

You know, this whole declaring early, withdrawing, one-and-done, playing overseas, all just trying to get an 18-, 19- or 20- year old multimillions of dollars so he can buy an Escalade, about twenty PS3’s for his “posse”, and a new house for his mama because his daddy left them when he was a baby, is starting to get really old.

When the NBA created the Development League, the idea was to snatch the farm system idea from Major League Baseball without the multiple levels – you know, AAA, AA, High-A, Low-A, etc. – because the shelf life of an NBA player is about 5-6 years, while an MLB player can play for a good 10-12.

Of course, the NBA erred at once by creating it’s league acronym as “DL”. If you’re going to borrow from the MLB, you don’t want your league, which is supposed to have a similar function as the MLB’s AAA farm team, being called the DISABLED LIST (DL).

That said, the NBA really hasn’t gotten its DL moving as fast as it probably should be this time. There’s a stigma associated with the DL that just hasn’t gone away. Maybe it’s the “disabled list” thing. Maybe it’s the (very) small paycheck you get as a DL’er. Maybe it’s the (very small) per diem you get as a player. Maybe it’s the venues you play in – they’re not exactly major cities. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. Or maybe it’s because it’s Just Not The NBA.

In addition, the NBA still has this silly rule that high schoolers cannot declare for the NBA draft; they must be one year removed from high school. This forces a lot of HS’ers that “think” they are good enough for the NBA – I say “think” because, really, if you’re in HS, are you really playing against elite competition? The answer is “NO” for about 99% of them – to consider one-and-done stints in major college programs. I mean, you’re not going to get one-and-done kids to go to West Texas Tech and Farming College… c’mon, be reasonable. The one-and-done kids have to get national recognition so they can up their draft stock, which means playing in a major program – like Arizona, or Maryland, or Florida, or UCLA.

Or they can take the Brandon Jennings route and try their luck overseas. Except that Jennings, who thought he was NBA material before he left, really didn’t help himself in Europe. In fact, he played poorly there – which just shows that a) he’s not really ready to play against elite competition (ie. the NBA, or even a elite major NCAA team), and b) he’s still a kid who thinks he’s better than he is. And yes, other kids are watching and seeing just how good those Europeans are – they’re WAY more physical and they concentrate on skills more than just raw athleticism. How many HS’ers are talented skillwise enough to play in Euroleague? Probably 1% of the 1% of the kids that even consider it.

The whole mess can be avoided if the NBA does something really simple – combine forces of the DL and the draft. Here’s how:

  1. Allow high schoolers to declare for the draft. However, HS’ers can only be drafted into the DL, where they must play their first year and may not be “called up” during their first season.
  2. NBA teams who draft a HS’er are not subject to the first round rookie scale contract – instead, they can negotiate a contract similar to second round draft picks which may or may not include incentive bonuses (they probably will include them though).
  3. If a HS’er decides not to opt for the draft, or is drafted and opts not to sign for the drafting team, the kid must play three years in college (this rule already exists for baseball and works perfectly well), or may go overseas but the same three year rule applies. Note that the rule is “PLAY THREE YEARS”. If you redshirt one of those first three years, you still have to play three years before being eligible.
  4. An NBA team that drafts a HS’er and is not able to sign said pick would receive a “compensation pick” in between the first and second round of the next draft. This is similar to MLB as well.
  5. After three years, the now-college junior or senior (see “redshirt” above) (or overseas player) may declare for the NBA draft, but has to decide to stay in or withdraw by May 15th. This will force kids to either sh_t or get off the pot and finish their studies so as not to penalize the school’s graduation rate.
  6. If the college student withdraws, the rule of “declaring twice means you’re automatically in” is moot because his next year would be his last year eligible anyway and he’d have to stay in.
  7. NBA teams who draft college kids are still subject to the first round rookie scale contract, however, they have the option to immediately send their draft choice to the DL. Their draft choice may be “called up” at any time.

What this would do for basketball at the college level and the NBA level would be a VAST improvement. For the college level, it avoids any further O.J. Mayo / Derrick Rose / Brandon Jennings problems. Kids either are committed for three years or they don’t attend at all. Money-hungry parents would not longer be encouraging their kids to do a one-and-done, if they value their kids education at all. Of course, Europe / Israel / Russia / Asia is still an option for those that are so determined to get their money that they don’t care where they play, just so long as they get their paycheck.

At the NBA level, it would really showcase the top talent – teams will have already drafted top high school talent and stuck them in the DL for a year of seasoning. If they aren’t improving enough to be called up, the kids can stay in the DL, and the team isn’t on the hook for a multi-million dollar rookie contract. If they wash out in the DL – they just can’t deal with elite talent – then the team can release them, and again, the team isn’t on the hook for a multi-million dollar contract for a draft bust. And for those kids that take the SMART choice and go to college for a couple of years, the kids get the benefit of a paid-for education (for at least three years), and play against elite competition the entire time, and the NBA will have to evaluate like it does now on draft day – and it will also have the option to draft a kid and send him to the DL, EXCEPT that if they draft a kid who has played for three years, they will be on the hook for a mega-contract if the kid’s a bust… which is how it is now.

Does it make sense? Of course. Will it be implemented? Not likely, unless someone from the NBA or Players’ Union is paying attention…

A Haberdashery of Notes

Yes, I know what a haberdashery is. I just wanted an excuse for a new usage of it.

The Phoenix Coyotes are staying put – at least for the upcoming 2009-10 season. After that, however, who knows. The biggest rumor circulating is that potential purchaser Jerry Reisendorf would buy the NHL franchise and then apply to move it to Las Vegas for the 2011-12 season. Sigh – again, the Coyotes’ PR department has stated the team has lost money every year since moving to the Valley in 1996. You know what? Put a winning team on the ice and you’ll get fans in droves. And if you wouldn’t isolate the team in BFW Glendale, you would’ve had more fans to begin with.

The Suns are exploring options for trading Shaquille O’Neal to Cleveland for basically nobody (really, Rasheed Wallace’s contract, which would be bought out, and Sasha Pavlovic’s contract, which would also be bought out). Here’s my concern – the Suns in the three games under Alvin Gentry with Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash, and O’Neal managed to completely blow out opponents, scoring close to 140 ppg. Everyone knew that the Suns were an injury away from playoff contention, and O’Neal would have been unstoppable in the playoffs against the Lakers. Why would the Suns trade O’Neal at this point when they would have a full season under Gentry, who has shown he is able to combine not only the historic run-n-gun that Nash and Stoudemire prefer, but also the slow-em-down, post-up that O’Neal prefers. If purely from a financial standpoint, I think an O’Neal trade is prudent.

For the UA Wildcats, there are still reports out there that Lamont “Momo” Jones is still considering Arizona after being released from his LOI at USC. Other reports also have Florida and Memphis in the mix for Jones’ services. While Jones is a gifted athlete, I question why his presence is necessary on the Wildcats’ squad, now that Nic Wise has confirmed his return for his senior season and the fact that there are possibly three 4-star quality PG’s available in the class of 2010 (Naadir Tharpe, Ray McCallum, and Gary Franklin), making Jones quite expendable. Jones’ best bet, ironically, would be to suit up for Josh Pastner at Memphis, where he would get some immediate playing time, if that’s what he’s after – but if he’s really after competition and wants to learn under Wise and Miller, then Arizona is the place to be.

Also, the University of Maryland announced that they are no longer pursuing Lance Stephenson for their men’s basketball team. Some pundits believe (including yours truly) that this is because Greivis Vazquez pulled out of the NBA Draft to return to Maryland. Thus, Stephenson’s choices have been narrowed now to Arizona, Memphis and Florida. However, until the court case surrounding Stephenson is resolved at the end of June, Arizona will not be officially or directly recruiting him. (And if it turns out Stephenson plea bargins a guilty response or if he’s found guilty, Arizona will be making an official “he’s no longer being pursued” announcement almost immediately afterward – I would expect that the Media Relations department at the UA already has this announcement written…)

Finally, and unfortunately, the proposed Pac-10 schedule change (8 conference games instead of 9) failed so, the Pac-10 will be tightening their collective belts and hoping that a fifth BCS bowl game (not counting the National Championship) is in the future after this next four-year TV block. I have to say that the ADs who voted against this proposal got it completely wrong. Of course, the ones that voted against it were the ones that had no hope for BCS games to begin with (Washington State, Oregon State, etc), being more concerned with getting guaranteed crowds at their games due to Pac-10 play. Maybe if these teams would schedule teams that are “close” to their locations, they wouldn’t have these issues (read: Boise State, Idaho, Fresno State, San Jose State, etc) because those teams would surely draw fans with them. Or in the case of certain “nationally recognized teams”, they would have fans already there (read: BYU).

2009 Recruiting

Update on the recruiting possibilities

Recruits still “considering” Xavier or Arizona (i.e. not signed yet):

* 6-10, 250-pound center Kryrl Natyazhko (considering Xavier, could follow Miller to Arizona – also considering ASU, but this could push him to Tucson)
* 6-8, 200, power forward Glenn Bryant (considering Xavier, could follow Miller to Arizona)
* 6-6, 200, swingman Victor Rudd (Arizona is Rudd’s first choice)
* 6-4, 190, shooting guard Sherrod Wright (considering Xavier, could follow Miller)
* 6-6, 195, small forward Solomon Hill (oral committment to USC, considering decommitting and coming to Arizona).
* 6-1, 170 point guard Aaron Robinson – no info from Rivals

* 6-5, 239 shooting guard Bill Edwards has offers on the table from Miami (OH), Dayton, and UMass. He was NOT offered by Xavier and because of that he probably will not follow Miller to Arizona.
* 6-8, 220 power forward Colin Borchert was offered by two Pac-10 schools (USC, Cal), along with UNLV, Kentucky, and Nebraska. Given the Calipari hire in Kentucky now, I’d be surprised if Borchert doesn’t take the Kentucky offer.

And for the class of 2010:
* Santa Rita junior Terrell Stoglin reaffirmed his oral committment to Maryland.
* 6-6, 200 HS junior power forward J.D. Weatherspoon has decommitted from Xavier and is now considering Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech.
* 6-8, 210, HS junior power forward Jordan Latham (would be a November signee)

From Javier Morales:

The developments of one-time hot prospect Victor Rudd are actually getting worse instead of better. Rudd, a 6-6 swing man who played for Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, is back at home in Van Nuys (Calif.) after getting kicked off the team for disciplinary reasons. This means he will not fulfill his academic requirements and college coaches are leery of his character. It appears that Arizona and Marquette are no longer recruiting him, and UNLV (whose coaches attended almost all of his games) has also backed off as well. Findlay coach Mike Peck told the Las Vegas Sun all that Rudd had to do was issue an apology to his teammates, but he refused and bolted from school. Peck told the newspaper he will not offer a stamp of approval for Rudd if coaches inquire. “I can’t put my name on it,” Peck said. “It hurts our future. That’s my name. I don’t want that school calling me next December asking me, What in the heck? I can’t put my name on it. That’s unfortunate.”

Given this info, it’s likely that Arizona will cease his recruitment.

From NBADraft.net:

2009 Mock Lottery

Updated: 4/7/09 4:40 pm

1 Sacramento Blake Griffin So.
2 Washington Jordan Hill Jr.
3 LA Clippers Hasheem Thabeet Jr.
4 Oklahoma Cty James Harden So.
5 *Minnesota Brandon Jennings Intl.
6 Memphis Demar DeRozan Fr.
7 Golden St. Earl Clark Jr.
8 *New York Gerald Henderson Jr.
9 Toronto Chase Budinger Jr.
10 Milwaukee Craig Brackins So.
11 New Jersey Ty Lawson Jr.
12 Indiana Wayne Ellington Jr.
13 Charlotte Greg Monroe Fr.
14 Phoenix Al-Farouq Aminu Fr.

Hill and Budinger are top 10 picks, with both going to situations where their teams can contend. Tempe Normal’s James Harden looks to be headed to no-man’s land (Oklahoma City), where he’ll be stuck on a non-contender for his rookie contract.

And who the heck is Aminu that Phoenix is looking at? Can’t they actually look at homegrown talent? Or better yet, if they draft him, how about they KEEP him???