Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sometimes Shot Blocking and Rebounding Don't Co-Exist

I've seen something like this written countless times since the buildup to the 2007 NBA Draft began...

In Part 2 of his NBA Preview series, Bill Simmons writes:
"Even if the Nets extract two quality years from Williams before he self-destructs (shades of Richard Dumas and the Suns), that's an unexpected boost from a monster shot-blocker/rebounder who gives them something they haven't had since Kenyon Martin left. To land someone that talented with the 19th pick is just crazy."
This is not to pick on Simmons. His false epiphany with regard to Sean Williams has just brought this general complaint of mine to the surface.

Everything you have read about Sean Williams as a shot blocker is absolutely true. He will block a ridiculous number of shots. He will do this by attempting to block every shot the other team attempts inside of fifteen feet. Because of this he is rarely in position to rebound. He shows little interest in rebounding. Once he fails in blocking he shot, he typically watches the rest of the play unfold before re-entering the flow. There's a reason Boston College has been 93rd, 84th, and 52nd in the nation in defensive efficiency the last three years.

Here are his rebounding numbers at Boston College:

YearOR%DR%
FR10.612.5
SO8.415.1
JR9.615.7

For comparison, the 06-07 rebounding rates for his fellow first round picks:

YearOR%DR%
Oden15.223.3
Durant9.223.6
Horford12.227.0
B Wright8.815.8
Noah13.324.6
Hawes8.118.1
Young
9.4
10.4
J Wright11.020.0
Thornton12.716.4
Williams9.615.7
Smith14.326.7
Dudley10.215.2

Among first round picks, Jeff Green, Daequan Cook, and Morris Almond all also posted a higher DR% than Williams.

Williams was clearly a worse rebounder than every other frontcourt player taken in the first round except for the freshmen.


Through 34 NBA minutes, the New Jersey Nets are allowing 3.8 more points per 100 possessions with Williams on the court despite the spike in block rate (18%) with Williams on the court as opposed to off the court (6%). (Source: 82games.com) On the positive side of the ledger, Williams' rebouding rates (9.1 OR%, 17.2 DR%) are better than I expected.

34 minutes is a ridiculously small sample on which to judge a player. Simmons ("From what I've seen so far, Williams is clearly the most talented rookie other than Kevin Durant, Al Horford and Greg Oden (in absentia).") may be cool with that but even a cursory examination of the rest of the evidence of Williams' career strongly suggest that Sean Williams will continue to serve as an example that shot-blocking ability and rebounding ability do not automatically co-exist.

Ballhype: hype it up!