As we ring in 2013, it's time to take a renewed look at how the Freshman class is performing. Listed below are some of the notable performances, accompanied by our pre-draft grades.
WP48 DI Score
Andre Drummond .338 .45
Maurice Harkless .197 .59
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist .186 1.56
Anthony Davis .171 2.80
Jared Sullinger .155 1.06
Damian Lillard .081 .29
Harrison Barnes .058 .68
Festus Ezeli .049 .11
Terrence Ross .019 .48
Bradley Beal .010 1.05
Jae Crowder -.015 .92
Thomas Robinson -.022 .70
Austin Rivers -.059 .13
Analysis: The runaway Rookie of the Year (in reality) is Drummond, who is actually among the league's best players this season. He's so good in fact, that the Pistons seem to be taking notice, upping his minutes and even winning a few games of late. As you may have noticed, DI wasn't all that high on Drummond- he has transformed his rebounding, hitting the glass the way a player of his size and athleticism should and is ranging all of over the paint making defensive plays. Two steals a game for a player of his size in the limited minutes he's getting is just absurd. One thing to keep an eye on- his free throw shooting as stayed in the 35-40% range it was in college, and as opponents catch up to how good this guy is, he's going to see some Hack-a-Drummy.
Harkless looks like the real deal, he and Vucevic are making that Howard deal look downright defensible. Mo is an interesting case study on DI, he was a Freshman, the number one option on a Big East team that wasn't terrible, but as you can see, his production was middling. Had he stayed at St. Johns, he may have incrementally improved and solidified himself as a lottery pick in another year or two, or he may not have. It's impossible to tell.
DI is fundamentally a measurement of the safety of a given draft pick, and therefore it does not really handicap for younger players. Freshman are graded on the same curve as seniors because, at draft time, we don't know any more about the older player's ability to play professional basketball than we do the younger. Neither prospect has done it and we have to use the information available to decide if they might be able to. To our mind, Hennigan and Dumars both took defensible risks and hit it big.
Our favorites, Davis, MKG, and Sullinger are steady and productive. Lillard's early hyper-efficiency has come back to earth a little, this is probably what we can expect from him. Ezeli and Barnes have also bottomed out a little, Barnes plays his ass off and we think this is just a blip on the radar, he should be a solid .100+ player.
Waiters and Ross are proving to be the flat, inefficient guards DI predicted they'd be. Beal is still having a rough year, but he's starting to rebound and distribute the ball the way he did as a Gator- we are cautiously optimistic.
Many in the analytic world were on the Crowder bandwagon, and we were pretty interested too. At 6'4, we had no idea how the hell he could play forward in the NBA, but he clearly had some game. So far, the former Marquette star seems to be suffering from an identity crisis of sorts. He's been playing like a shooting guard, spotting up, (28% from 3) and steering clear of the paint (1.2 offensive rebounds per 48 minutes), where he did so much work in college. We aren't saying it's going to work, but he's at least got to try to play that Chuck Hayes/Carl Landry role- all fire and piss and elbows.
Austin Rivers is still bad.
**Numbers from TheNBAgeek.com - 1/2/13**