2013 NBA Draft preview: Wings (part 1) - Caldwell-Pope, Crabbe, and more

USA TODAY Sports

Part 3 of TheMoon's draft preview. Centers were discussed here, and Power Forwards here.

This installment will go much like the previous ones but with a broader statistical palette. First, as we move toward the perimeter I think it is important to use (in addition to the usual: orebs, stls and blks) the ratio of free throws to field goal attempts as a means of getting at a player's slashing ability. Second, I start looking at the percentage of made 3s that were assisted as a way to approximate how a player shoots 3s under duress. The reasoning behind this is when a player shoots after a pass that shot attempt is likely to be comparatively stationary and comparatively open. But a shot taken without a set-up is more likely to have been perturbed in some way. I figure a player who will be able to shoot in the pros needs to have been able to make those same shots even while covered and not perfectly lined up in college.

1. KENTAVIOUS CALDWELL-POPE (Georgia), GLEN RICE JR. (Georgia Tech) and JAMAAL FRANKLIN (San Diego)

Opening Tip: Glen Rice the Younger's ripped up the D-League recently and so may become a first round draft pick. I have decided I do not care about his D-League performance and will only use his college numbers. The reason for this is as follows. Watching Rice, you cannot help but notice he looks like an fine offensive player and a pretty rancid defensive player. I decided to give him a pass on the defense because, as you can see from the video linked, the "D" in "D-League" obviously doesn't stand for "defense". But if I can't knock his horrid defense because he plays in a league where no one tries on that end then I can't give him too much credit for his offense either, since that offensive output came against in absentia defense. You might as well make a scouting video out of a Rucker Park game.

These are three excellent rebounding wings with prototypical wing size and debatable skill level. Three questions: 1) Can they slash? 2) Can they defend? 3) Can they shoot?

I am not sure any can be trusted slashers at the next level:

NAME

FTA/FGA

%Shots Rim

%Ast'd Rim

FG% at Rim

TOV%

KCP

0.39

21%

39%

70%

11.1%

Jamaal F.

0.54

29%

54%

61%

17.9%

Glen Rice

0.30

21%

34%

76%

15.9%

AVERAGE WING

0.38

31%

42%

66%

13.5%

I suppose based on the evidence KCP has the best shot at becoming a good slasher at the next level. He possibly has an excuse for his scant at-the-rim production; namely that his team was absolutely horrendous and that made it hard to get to the hoop. He personally made almost 45% of his team's three-pointers, which is a remarkable figure and possibly tells you a little about his team's spacing. I don't know: is there anything easier than coming up with excuses for a player you happen to like? Franklin looks raw by this analysis.

Shooting:

NAME

3PT%

FT%

3PA per40

% ast'd 3PTM

KCP

38%

80%

8.60

61%

Jamaal Franklin

28%

79%

5.50

57%

Glen Rice

33%

61%

5.70

68%

AVERAGE

36%

75%

4.86

75%

Again KCP looks like the class of this group. Rice's D-League numbers are encouraging. Perhaps this is an area of genuine improvement. His FT% was much better in the D-League (74%).

Chad Ford recently tweeted that Franklin is really killing it with his shot in workouts. With all due respect to Ford, that's beside the point isn't it? Franklin's problem is that when he cannot find a way to dribble past his man he is likely to take a long, off-balanced jumper. And miss. I'm pretty sure these workouts aren't a very good "stress test" for that. There is however hope for a player such as this, as the following table will show:

NAME

3PT%

FT%

3PA per40

% ast'd 3PTM

Kawhi Leonard

29%

76%

3.10

50%

Jamaal Franklin

28%

79%

5.50

57%

Iman Shumpert

28%

81%

5.80

52%

Both Shumpert (40%) and Leonard (37%) have become quality three point shooters in the NBA.

KCP and Franklin seem like they could be solid backcourt defenders at the next level. And they seem to relish their defensive play, something that will be necessary if they are going to win playing time on Thibs' squad.

Rice looks like he has slow foot speed to me, which is probably why he only emerged as a scorer in the D-League when they moved him to power forward. He has excellent defensive boxscore numbers, but his quickness makes me wonder about his defensive potential. He has a stronger body right now than the other two, and will probably be more comfortable covering larger wings.

2. REGGIE BULLOCK (North Carolina), SOLOMON HILL (Arizona) and ALLEN CRABBE (California)

A lot in common with these three. High basketball-IQs, upperclassmen from big schools, good size, good shooters, good passers. I would like to compare their slashing ability and physical impact to see if maybe one doesn't stand out above the others.

Name

%Shots at Rim

%Ast'd at Rim

Reggie Bullock

23%

56%

Solomon Hill

27%

14%

Allen Crabbe

19%

45%

Average Wing

31%

42%

If Hill's assisted-at-rim number looks unusually low that's because it is. Hill needed less help getting baskets at the rim than all but one wing prospect over the last three years. Such an extreme number must be surprising, but when you watch his DX video I think his above average ball handling and nice first step stand out and so I think the stats at least make sense. He is however a below average finisher at the rim for a wing (63% vs 66% average). We can make excuses for this and say that finishing around the rim is hard when you are creating so many of your own opportunities there but I prefer to keep it as a mark against him. Slashing at the next level is very difficult and you have to be excellent to pull it off. He also turns the ball over a little more than I would like, though he is such a good passer that his AST/TOV is above average (1.23 vs 1.04).

Bullock and Crabbe, one would infer from these numbers, may lack even average ball handling skills and/or quickness with the ball at the wing. Based on the numbers, scouting and observation, I think Bullock's unusually high AST/TOV (2.21 vs 1.04 average) is less an indication of his slashing efficiency and more a signal that he is a very smart player who knows not to try things he definitely cannot do (which, creatively, is a lot I am afraid). I suspect this is one reason why people think Bullock will be a solid 7th-10th man in the NBA (I do mean that as a compliment).

None of these players is even above average at impacting the game physically, but all told Hill probably does the best at defense, offensive rebounding and slashing.

Name

Per40 OREBs

Per40 STL+BLK

FTA/FGA

Reggie Bullock

2.40

1.70

0.21

Solomon Hill

2.10

2.10

0.36

Allen Crabbe

1.10

2.00

0.30

Average Wing

2.09

2.33

0.38

I suppose it is inevitable that people will compare Allen Crabbe to Klay Thompson. I do not think this comparison holds water, and one huge difference is their slashing ability:

NAME

%Shots at Rim

%Ast'd at Rim

Klay Thompson

16%

19%

Allen Crabbe

19%

45%

And Crabbe is not quite on Thompson's level as a shooter either (I used career numbers for 3pt% since Crabbe had a down year this year):

NAME

FT%

3PT%

Per40 3PTA

%Ast'd 3PTM

Klay Thompson

84%

39%

7.50

54%

Allen Crabbe

81%

38%

6.30

88%

So maybe Crabbe becomes a "poor man's" Klay Thomspon? I really dislike that kind of analysis. First, there's the obvious point that there is no player in the NBA named "Poor Man's Klay Thompson", so instead of doing the hard work and telling me what a player is this instead tells me what a player isn't (namely, Klay Thompson). Secondly, I am not entirely sure what a poor man's version of a 12.7 PER player looks like but that is not exactly a ringing endorsement. Maybe Chase Budinger is the better comparison. Their junior year numbers are very similar, though Budinger's are a little better almost across the board. That's a solid player.

A final note about scoring styles. Crabbe is notable for being a Rip Hamilton style of shooter, someone who attacks defenses by running around screens all day. Something I realized this year: you have to be amazing at that style of scoring to make it worthwhile. Otherwise it just chews up way too much time and energy every possession trying to get the guy open for what is often one of the least efficient shots in the game (mid-range jumper).

Hill is the best post player of the three. Post play from the wing is normally a relatively worthless tool in itself, but it becomes quite valuable with Derrick around as opponents like to put large wings on Derrick, so the wings need to be able to exploit their matchups against smaller guards. This is yet another reason why Jimmy is a nice fit next to Derrick.

Any one of these guys would be a solid pick. KCP would almost certainly be the best, but I doubt he's available. If it is an either/or proposition though, I think Hill for a second rounder is more valuable than either of the others for a first.

All stats are courtesy of draftexpress.com, sports-reference.com or hoops-math.com. All per40 stats are pace adjusted unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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