Seriously Amar . . . slow down. And seriously readers, this is 80 players . . . twice as big as the PG evaluation . . .
Who are these guys?
The wings (shooting guards and small forwards) I used for this analysis were: Adam Morrison, Al Thornton, Alec Burks, Al-Farouq Aminu, Andre Iguodala, Austin Daye, Ben Gordon, Brandon Roy, Carmelo Anthony, Caron Butler, Chris Singleton, Corey Brewer, DaJuan Wagner, Danny Granger, DeMar DeRozan, Derrick Williams, Dwyane Wade, Eduardo Najera, Eric Gordon, Evan Turner, Francisco Garcia, Gerald Green, Gerald Henderson, Gordon Hayward, J.J. Redick, J.R. Smith, Jamal Crawford, James Harden, Jason Kapono, Jason Richardson, Jeff Green, Joe Alexander, Joe Johnson, Joey Graham, Jordan Crawford, Jordan Hamilton, Josh Childress, Josh Howard, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kirk Snyder, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, Landry Fields, LeBron James, Luke Babbitt, Luke Jackson, Luol Deng, Luther Head, Marshon Brooks, Martell Webster, Marvin Williams, Matt Barnes, Michael Beasley, Michael Redd, Mike Conley, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Monta Ellis, Morris Almond, Nick Young, Nolan Smith, O.J. Mayo, Omri Casspi, Paul George, Randy Foye, Renaldo Balkman, Richard Jefferson, Rodney Carney, Ronald "Flip" Murray, Ronnie Brewer, Rudy Gay, Shane Battier, Terrence Williams, Thaddeus Young, Trevor Ariza, Tyler Hansbrough, Tyreke Evans, Wesley Johnson, Wesley Matthews, and Xavier Henry. These aren’t ALL guys drafted between 2000 and 2011. These aren’t ALL the guys who joined the NBA either. This is a list of some of the more notable ones who attended the NBA predraft camp (sometimes in Chicago, other times in Orlando) during this time period and went through the majority of the tests. Clearly this exhaustive group can produce a solid frame of references with which we can use to understand these potential rookies. Some of these guys were lotto picks. Some of them were late 1st round picks. Some of them barely made it into the second round.
The critical criteria
They test a ton of things at the predraft camps. For a shooting guard or small forward, I think, the critical criteria are height (in shoes – they don’t play in socks after all), weight, wingspan, bench press, ¾ court sprint, lane agility, max vertical, and max reach. Height and weight are obvious reasons. Wingspan helps to determine if they can get their hands on balls on defense. I’m not going to repeat myself a third time on why these things are important. I should be actually playing basketball with how the weather is outside, instead of writing about it. sigh
Player height, weight, 3/4 court sprint, and lane agility
The standard deviations exist as a color gradient. Within one standard deviation is lightest, with the higher standard deviations are increasingly full in color. Values above average are in blue tones. Values below average are in red tones. Rookies are in yellow cells. Former Jazz players are in grey cells. Current Jazz players are in Jazz colored cells.
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Height: There are eight potential rookies in this class that should challenge for a 1st round spot. Half of them are in the top half of these 80 guys. This is the first time that one of the rookie groups (bigs, point guards, wings) are among one of the taller players. The tallest kids are guys like Austin Daye, Kevin Durant, and a number of other guys who may have been playing power forward in a previous era of the game. Shane Battier wore some of those legendary Duke Draft Camp shoes that made him super tall. . Two of these guys, Derrick Williams and Chris Singleton, played a fair bit of power forward in college. They would love to be threes in the NBA though. There are a whole bunch of tweeners in this group of players so they fit right in – even if it’s around the head of this group. Our own Gordon Hayward is almost in the 1st quartile group.
Weight: Weight is a tricky thing for this group as well. There are a ton of string bean speedy guys – but this is also a playing class (wing) that includes mack trucks like LeBron James. Potential rookies like Williams and Singleton are in the Top 10 here as well.
3/4 Court Sprint: At these spots speed can kill. The easiest points to make are transition buckets. And those are easy buckets if you are out ahead of the pack. A number of guys didn’t participate in all of these drills because they may have not had anything to prove (like James), or maybe were advised not to, or could not due to health. Out of the ONLY 75 guys who were measured Joe Alexander was the fastest. I bet you didn’t see that coming. I bet you didn’t see Monta Ellis coming in at 57th either. I know that guys like Morris Almond and Marvin Williams shouldn’t be faster than Monta. I also know that guys like D-Wade and Eric Gordon are some of the fastest guys in the NBA. I guess not everyone performs their best at the predraft camp, and some people perform better than expected. The prospective rookies are doing well in this, with five of the eight in the Top 25. Chris Singleton and Marshon Brooks are just a blink slower than a guy whose nickname is "Flash". (And no, Gordon Hayward’s nickname isn’t Flash. You can’t give a nickname that someone else, who is better than you, already has. How dumb would it be to call Larry Johnson "The Mailman"?)
Lane Agility: Here the rookies do well, with five guys in the top 25 again. Marshon Brooks is Top 10 out of 80 PEOPLE over 11 years in both Lane Agility and Sprint. This is not something we should blink at. There are only four other guys from the last 11 years who can say they’ve done that: Dwyane Wade, Eric Gordon, Joes Graham, and Rodney Carney. For a point of reference, J.R. Smith (a guy we can only stop because he has no brain) is #12 in lane agility and #32 in sprint. Brooks is a guy who is faster in both sections, and isn’t a nutcase. But let’s not go off the deep end with pre-draft measurements. From this one could conclude that Gordon Hayward was a better athlete than DeMar DeRozan.
Wingspan, Bench Press, Max Vertical, and Max reach
Same legend as before…
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Wingspan: Good God in Heaven Kevin Durant! There’s only one dude who is within +3 standard deviations above the norm when it comes to wingspan. And it’s the one guy on the list who doesn’t need even more help getting his shot off. The other guys high on this list are guys who have played a bit of the 4 in college (Marvin Williams, Al-Farouq Aminu, Kawhi Leonard, Derrick Williams, etc). Guess who also is up there? It’s Marshon Brooks who has the same wingspan as the #12 guy, but gets bumped down to #16 because of how my spread sheet ordered them. Brooks has a greater wingspan than Deng, LeBron, Psycho-T, Ronnie Brewer, and everyone else who didn’t play PF in college for a bit. Amazing. Gordon doesn’t have much to write about here when guys like Kirk Snyder has a greater wingspan.
Bench Press: It’s not easy to get a ton of bench press reps when you are trying to lift up 185 pounds. It’s even harder when you are a skinny high school kid who has never had to even try this before. Monta Ellis, Austin Daye, and (1yr removed from HS) Kevin Durant all failed to lift the bar up once. Even Kawhi Leonard, a guy some people liken to Gerald Wallace, got it up only 3 times. J.J. Redick had 6 reps. Average for this group was 10.2 times. Hayward just barely missed it. Joey Graham and Joe Alexander both rocked it – for 26 and 24 reps respectively. Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, Ronnie Brewer and Kirk Snyder all finished with 19. Bench press doesn’t make you an all-star, and being bad at it doesn’t make you one either. I will say that in our offense upper body strength is appreciated.
Max Vertical: Eight of these 80 guys have max vertical jumps equal to or greater than 40". These high fliers are (in ascending order) Eric Gordon, Brandon Roy, Nick Young, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes, Mike Conley, Al Thornton, and Ronnie Brewer. You know you are in elite company when 10% of a sample population has a 40" vertical leap (at worst). After I post this I’m going to try to dunk on a 10’ rim and I’ll fail. Fail hard. Clearly these man are no longer the same species as the rest of us. Because I love Marshon Brooks I’ll just leave this here: he has a 38.5" max vertical – same as DeMar DeRozen.
Max Reach: You may remember that I listed some of the bigmen who got into the 12’ club. It wouldn’t be surprising to know that some of these wings are part of that club as well. Joe Alexander, Ronnie Brewer, Al Thornton, and Rudy Gay (at a whopping 12’3.7" !!!) are all capable of getting at balls a lot of us ‘under the rim’ guys can’t. J.J. Redick’s is 10’10.5, Kyle Korver’s is 11’2, Gordon Hayward’s is 11’5.5 . . . man don’t we really miss Brewer? (Especially now that he’s apparently awesome at free throws and clutch from three…)
Wings are hard to try to go apples to apples with because they all have different skill sets. Some are defensive guys, others small and quick. Others are like freight trains, while the majority of them are very average. Derrick Williams is a very interesting prospect, but I don’t really know. His attitude rubs me the wrong way, he looks really impressive in this group. But if I stacked him up against power forwards (like Ty Thomas or Josh Smith) he would not look that special. I guess that’s why he wants to play only SF in the NBA. Alec Burks is supposed to be too athletic. His ordinal ranks for the either categories are: #57 (height), #68 (weight), #17 (sprint), #15 (lane agility), #44 (wingspan), #65 (bench press), #34 (max vertical), and #33 (max reach). My guy Marshon’s ranks in the same category order are: #64, #67, #8, #7, #16, #61, #15, and #31. He scores better in every category except for height. I’d take a serious look at this kid, even if it appears like our front office is secretly married to Jimmer at the #12.