Friday, November 23, 2012

The 12.5% Report: Out of the Gates and (Mostly) Running

Even with only three weeks of basketball under our belts, past years have shown we can get a pretty good idea of how most of these youngins inaugural season is going to pan out. Let's take a look at which players are getting it done thus far:

The Good                                                WP48* (avg- .100)        
Andre Drummond                                             .361
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist                                     .258
Anthony Davis                                                  .257
Bernard James                                                  .170
Festus Ezeli                                                       .141
Jared Sullinger                                                   .128
Damian Lillard                                                  .120
Harrison Barnes                                                .117

Andre Drummond was the proverbial "Door Number Two" of the 2012 Draft. Was he an obvious dominant big-man prospect in a league without dominant big-men? Was he DeMarcus Cousins redux: a fatally flawed player despite more than looking the part? Or, would he bust all together as his lackluster rebounding and sub 30% free throw shooting implied was at least an outlying possibility? Fortunately for the Pistons, it's kind of looking like the first one. Now if only they didn't have the worst guard play in basketball by alot...
Davis and MKG were our (and reality's) top two prospects and have rewarded our faith in them. If you don't believe me, just get a load of those Bobcats...
As for our other highly-rated prospect making an appearance on this list: Sullinger and his back are extending defenses and scoring with great efficiency and one of our second round favorites, Bernard James has successfully transported his shot-blocking and toughness from Tallahassee to Dallas. 
So, what did we not see coming? Lillard is posting respectable assist numbers, protecting the ball, and sticking 39% of his threes: offensively there isn't a ton more you can do. We aren't necessarily shocked by these developments, especially after the show he put on in the Summer League, but he has been more efficient than we were expecting. We still feel somewhat vindicated by his non-contributions to the NBA's 3rd worst defense, but don't get us wrong, we think he can play.
DI was higher on Barnes than many of our contemporaries, likening the forward to a poor man's Marvin Williams. However, early returns suggest that that Williams comparison might need no qualifier. Festus Ezeli is filling the gaping hole at Center for the Warriors with surprising competency. He is converting a lot of dunks and rebounding better than he did at Vandy thus far.

The Bad                                       WP48*
Austin Rivers                                  -.091
Tyler Zeller                                     -.043
Dion Waiters                                  -.040
Jeffrey Taylor                                 -.009
Bradley Beal                                    .001
Andrew Nicholson                           .034

Speaking to the overall decency of the Class of 2012, there are more guys making significant contributions than are not, however there are a few players whose new teams might start to be wondering whether they made the right call. DI was unambiguously down on Austin Rivers and he has been every bit as bad as we thought he'd be. Somebody needs to tell him to shoot less and try to get get to the hoop, play some defense, (waive a towel).
Zeller and Waiters were supposed to add depth and punch to a young Cavs team on the rise but instead have just been part of the problem in Cleveland. I think both guys are better than this, but the Index predicted they would just be role players.
DI gave its highest grade to Bradley Beal and we can't help but be concerned with what we are seeing so far. It should be noted that Beal is 19 years old and playing on an absolute wasteland of a basketball team, but if he can't improve his shot from outside, there's no ostensible difference between himself and Jordan Crawford- and that ain't good.

*numbers through 11/21/12 - from

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