Top
Close
Follow Us ON

© 2017 Broom on the Warpath

Advertise Here Flag

Drummond Tops Rookie Rankings

 

Analyzing NBA rookies can be tricky at times. A good start to a player's career usually is a good sign for the future -- the guys recognized as having the best careers generally were productive as rookies. But not always. Most NBA fans could rattle off names of players who performed poorly to start their careers only to become all-time greats as they gained experience and improved their skills.

My look at this year's rookie crop is intended primarily as a snapshot for where they are right now. Virtually every young player in the NBA has the potential to become a productive professional player. What differentiates the future All-Star from the bust is almost always work. Players who put in hard, smart offseason work to develop their skills and their bodies get better; guys who don't...don't.

So far this season, 35 rookies have played at least 200 total minutes. This group has collectively posted a PPA of 75. For those who aren't regular readers, PPA is the player rating stat I developed. It's a per minute measure that credits players for things that contribute to winning and debits them for things that don't (in proper proportion for each). PPA accounts for the effect of pace and does include defense.

In PPA, 100 = average, higher is better and replacement level is 45.

So, as a group, rookies are solidly below average. Drop that one in the "no surprise" bin.

On average, these rookies use fewer possessions (17.9% usage rate vs. a league average of 20.0%) and are less efficient (they produce 101 points per 100 possessions compared to a league average of 105.4).

Here's a handy reference table ranking each of the 35 rookies with at least 200 total minutes. (Rankings are by PPA.)

RANK  PLAYER  AGE  TEAM  GMS  STA% MPG  PPA 
1 Andre Drummond 19  DET  38  47%  19.7  163 
2 Anthony Davis 19  NOH  25  75%  29.6  138 
3 John Henson 22  MIL  27  51%  12.9  118 
4 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 19  CHA  37  80%  27.4  111 
5 Damian Lillard 22  POR  38  74%  38.4  110 
6 Bernard James 27  DAL  21  41%  11.0  105 
7 Maurice Harkless 19  ORL  32  72%  16.3  97 
8 Jared Sullinger 20  BOS  37  50%  19.4  94 
9 Jonas Valanciunas 20  TOR  28  85%  22.4  92 
10  Chris Copeland 28  NYK  25  50%  12.2  92 
11 Andrew Nicholson 23  ORL  36  55%  14.9  90 
12 Harrison Barnes 20  GSW  36  82%  25.6  88 
13  Pablo Prigioni 35  NYK  36  44%  15.2  85
14  John Jenkins 21  ATL  22  41%  10.5  79 
15  Meyers Leonard 20  POR  29  48%  16.6  78 
16  Bradley Beal 19  WAS  33  77%  31.5  75 
17  Nando De Colo 25  SAS  33  43%  11.2  75 
18  Alexey Shved 24  MIN  35  66%  29.1  72 
19 Jae Crowder 22  DAL  35  55%  17.9  66 
20 Brian Roberts 27  NOH  38  43%  14.8  65 
21  Jeff Taylor 23  CHA  37  74%  22.8  58 
22  Terrence Ross 21  TOR  35  45%  17.1  57 
23  Dion Waiters 21  CLE  32  74%  30.5  57 
24 Kyle Singler 24  DET  24  75%  27.4  56 
25  Festus Ezeli 23  GSW  23  84%  16.1  52 
26  DeQuan Jones 22  ORL  25  62%  11.5  51 
27  Thomas Robinson 21  SAC  35  44%  16.1  50 
28  Tyler Zeller 23  CLE  36  63%  26.8  46 
29  Draymond Green 22  GSW  36  43%  14.2  45 
30  Darius Miller 22  NOH  23  45%  13.6  25 
31 Joel Freeland 25  POR  24  42%  9.6  22 
32  Will Barton 22  POR  31  40%  10.2  15 
33  Victor Claver 24  POR  18  58%  12.7  15
34  Austin Rivers 20  NOH  37  70%  24.7  -1 
35  Doron Lamb 21  MIL  23  42%  12.2  -30 
               

STA% is kind of a "degree of difficulty" measure. The full name is "starter percentage," and it's an estimate of how much of an individual's playing time comes against starters. This estimate is captured in the final PPA number.

Drummond has established a sizable lead in the PPA rookie standings despite shooting just 39% from the free throw line. He pulls ahead of Davis on the strength of superior overall offensive efficiency (which includes shooting from the field, assists, turnovers, and offensive rebounding), better overall rebounding numbers, and blocked shots.

Probably the most eye-popping result is the -1 for Austin Rivers in New Orleans. The Hornets made him the 10th pick in the draft; his score in Ye Olde Draft Analyzer (YODA) I've put together had him with a "don't draft" rating. Next time, I'll add YODA scores to the table. 

Wizards fans will be interested to see Bradley Beal at 16th in the rookie rankings. He's been playing better of late, and that's reflected in his PPA. Thus far, he's been about average for a rookie. The Wizards need him to continue improving.

Load