Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Inaugural 2007 NBA Draft Post

From Chad Ford's blog yesterday (Insider) regarding Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert declaring for the draft:
"[Hibbert] is a legit 7 feet, 2 inches tall and has proven to be quite skilled around the basket. He has good footwork, is a good passer and seems to have a good basketball IQ in the paint. So what keeps him from being ranked as a top 5 pick? He's not a great athlete, was just a so-so rebounder in college and isn't a great shot blocker."

"And for those of you who ask why Washington's Spencer Hawes is rated ahead of Hibbert, look at the numbers. Hawes is doing as a freshman what Hibbert is just now beginning to do as a junior. And while Hibbert has the height advantage by a couple of inches, Hawes is a better player in just about every other area of the game."
So let's look at the numbers...

Points, assists, turnovers, blocks, and steals listed per 100 individual possessions


Last year, Hibbert was a better shooter, a more efficient scorer (This despite his lower FT%--Hibbert's FT Rate was 37.9 vs. 20.4 for Hawes. Hibbert got to the line far more often.), per possession, Hibbert scored more often, committed fewer turnovers, blocked more shots (in fewer opportunities--Georgetown's opponents attempted 37.7% of their field goals from behind the three-point line, Washington's opponents took just 32.8% of their shots from beyond the arc), and had slightly more steals. Per opportunity, Hibbert grabbed an offensive rebound almost twice as often as Hawes and had a slight edge on the defensive glass.

The numbers are not the place to make the case that Hawes is a better player.

The case for Hawes over Hibbert lies in his age (18 vs. 20), his stamina (Hawes played a higher percentage of his team's minutes despite missing a game), and the relative competence of the two offenses they played in last year (though, if you give credit to Hawes for overcoming poor guard play, I think you'd also have to debit him some for Washington's abysmal team defense).

Ford makes a good point that Hibbert's (relative) lack of athleticism may mean that he tops out as an excellent role player in the NBA. I'm skeptical that Hawes offers even that in terms of upside. It's hard for a half-way decent big man in college basketball to get just 1 steal per 100 possessions or an OR% of just 8.1.

Does a team really want to draft a player in the hopes that, by the time they have to make a decision about his second contract, he's able to contribute what Raef LaFrentz did as a rookie?

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