Stats & Info: Marcus Smart

2014 NBA Draft recap

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27

Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsAndrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker went at the top of this year's draft.
The 2014 NBA Draft is in the books. Here are the stats you need to know about the top seven picks.

No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins
Wiggins became the 2nd Canadian-born player to be drafted No. 1 overall, joining Anthony Bennett last season. There are now three Canadian-born top-5 picks in the common draft era, and all are on the Cavaliers (Wiggins, Bennett, Tristan Thompson).

Wiggins also joins Danny Manning, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1988, as the only players in Kansas history picked first overall.

No. 2 Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker
Parker became the sixth Duke player drafted in the top five since 1999.

He should be an immediate help for the Bucks in the post. Milwaukee averaged 5.9 post-up points per game, 27th in the league. Parker averaged 3.6 post-up points per game on 55.4% shooting.

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid
Embiid gives the 76ers a good two-way post player. On offense he shot 55 percent on post-ups this season, best in the Big 12 (minimum 50 plays).

In the last 15 games he played with Kansas, Embiid held opponents to 29% shooting in the post.

No. 4 Orlando Magic - Aaron Gordon
Gordon is the fourth Arizona player drafted in the top five in the common draft era, joining Mike Bibby, Sean Elliott and Derrick Williams.

The Magic also pick up the youngest player in this draft class. Gordon does not turn 19 until September.

No. 5 Utah Jazz – Dante Exum
Exum joins Kyrie Irving and Andrew Bogut as the only Australian-born players picked in the top five in the common draft era.

The only other international point guard drafted in the top 10 was Ricky Rubio.

No. 6 Boston Celtics – Marcus Smart
Smart is the highest drafted Oklahoma State player since Bryant Reeves in 1995.

The last time the Celtics took a point guard this high in a draft was in 1997 when they drafted Chauncey Billups third overall.

No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers – Julius Randle
Last season the Lakers ranked last in both defensive and offensive rebounding percentage. Enter Randle, who led the nation with 24 double-doubles last season.

How prolific was Randle? The only freshman in Division I history to ever record more double-doubles in a season was Michael Beasley, who had 28 for Kansas State in 2007-08.

NBA Draft: Who do analytics rate best?

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
There has been a huge analytics movement lately in the NBA – 23 of the 30 teams have analytics departments.

Some, but not all, advanced stats translate well from college to the NBA. Which ones translate the best?

Rebound percentage is the percentage of available rebounds a player grabs while he’s on the floor.

Among big men in the last five NBA Drafts, the top three in rebound percentage in their final college season have an NBA career rebound percentage better than 15 percent – Kenneth Faried, DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson.

The five worst players are nowhere near a 15 percent rebound percentage. Four of those five players have never even started a game in the NBA.

None of the 10 worst big men on this list have an NBA rebound percentage higher than 15 percent.

Rebound percentage is even telling for guards. The bottom 10 guards include Tyshawn Taylor, Peyton Siva, Marquis Teague, Jon Diebler, Doron Lamb, John Jenkins and Jimmer Fredette.

Which 2014 draft prospect had the best rebound percentage this season among Chad Ford’s top 50? Michigan’s Mitch McGary, who played in just eight games this season. Not far behind were Joel Embiid, Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle and Jarnell Stokes.

The prospects that don’t measure well in rebound percentage are Semaj Christon, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis and Spencer Dinwiddie, all of which grabbed fewer than six percent of available rebounds. The big man in Chad Ford’s top 50 who ranks the lowest is Patric Young.

Assist percentage is the percentage of teammates’ field goals a player assists on while he’s on the floor.

Among guards and wings in the last 5 NBA Drafts, eight of the top 10 in assist percentage in their final college season have started in the NBA.

The 10 non-post players picked in the lottery over the last five years with the worst assist percentage in their final college season could all be considered busts. They include Shabazz Muhammad, Derrick Williams, Anthony Bennett, Al-Farouq Aminu and Xavier Henry.

Some of the top wings include Klay Thompson, Paul George, Chandler Parsons, Lance Stephenson and Kawhi Leonard.

Which 2014 draft prospect had the best assist percentage this season among Chad Ford’s top 50? UCLA’s Kyle Anderson. Elfrid Payton and Tyler Ennis were close behind.

DeAndre Daniels and Noah Vonleh had the worst assist percentage among the top 50. The worst guards in this category were Andrew Wiggins and James Young.

Steal percentage is the percentage of opponents’ possessions while a player is on the court that result in that player getting a steal.

Among guards in the last five NBA Drafts, the top four in steal percentage in their final college season have started the majority of their NBA games -- Iman Shumpert, Michael Carter-Williams, Dion Waiters and Victor Oladipo. Not far below them are Paul George, Norris Cole and Kenneth Faried.

Among all players in the last five NBA Drafts, the worst five players in steal percentage combined for just 20 NBA starts this season.

Which 2014 draft prospect had the best steal percentage this season among Chad Ford’s top 50? UCLA’s Jordan Adams, just ahead of Marcus Smart.

Doug McDermott had the lowest steal percentage, with just eight steals all season. The worst among guards was Nik Stauskas.

Player Efficiency Rating or “PER” is an overall rating of a player’s per-minute statistical production. The NBA average is 15 every season.

In the last five NBA Drafts, six of the top nine players in PER in their final college season have an NBA career PER greater than 15. Of the bottom 10 on that list, nine of the 10 players have an NBA career PER less than 15.

The top 10 includes Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving.

The bottom 10 includes Josh Selby, Marquis Teague, Malcolm Lee and Daniel Orton.

Which 2014 draft prospect had the best PER this season among Chad Ford’s top 50? Doug McDermott, followed by NC State’s T.J. Warren.

The lowest PER among the top 50? Zach LaVine, followed by James Young.

Fixing weaknesses for 7 teams in draft

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
Cleveland Cavaliers – Post presence
According to Synergy Sports Technology, the Cavaliers averaged 6.0 post-up points per game last season, 26th in the league. On the defensive end, they ranked second-to-last in blocks per game.

Best fit – Jabari Parker
In his only season at Duke, Parker averaged 3.6 post-up points per game, shooting 55.4 percent on such shots.

Milwaukee Bucks – Inside presence
The Bucks grabbed just 71.4 percent of available defensive rebounds in the regular season, ranking 29th in the league. The team also allowed 108.9 points per 100 possessions, which trailed only the Jazz for the worst defensive efficiency.

Best fit – Joel Embiid
By himself, Embiid rebounded 27 percent of opponent's missed shots when on the court, the highest rebound percentage in the Big 12.

Philadelphia 76ers – Overall efficiency
Philadelphia was outscored by 10.7 points per 100 possessions last season, the worst rate by any team since the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats.

Best fit – Andrew Wiggins
The 76ers ran 151 more plays in transition than any other team last season, but scored only 49 percent of the time (worst in NBA). Wiggins could thrive in this run-and-gun system and would raise the team's efficiency, as he scored on 69 percent of his transition plays in his only season at Kansas, the best individual rate in the Big 12.

Orlando Magic – Playmaking in transition
The Magic struggled on both ends in transition, ranking 29th in transition offensive efficiency and 27th in transition defensive efficiency.

Best fit – Dante Exum
Although Exum has not played in the United States, he showed off amazing speed and quickness at the NBA draft combine in May. His 10.75 seconds in lane agility and 3.19 seconds in the three-quarter court sprint ranked second and eighth (tie), respectively. The combined rank of his times was the second-fastest, trailing just Zach LaVine among 51 players who participated in both events.

Utah Jazz – Defensive presence
The Jazz ranked last in defensive efficiency and struggled to pressure the ball, ranking second-to-last in opponent turnover percentage.

Best fit – Marcus Smart
Smart was one of the best defenders in the college ranks last season, ranking top-10 nationally in opponent points per game (5.3) and opponent field goal percentage (27.6 percent). Smart also ranked third in the nation with 2.9 steals per game and had a 5 percent steal rate, seventh in the nation.

Boston Celtics – Inside offensive presence
The Celtics struggled with offensive efficiency and were especially poor in the paint, ranking 27th in paint points per game last season.

Best fit – Aaron Gordon
Although Gordon was a poor jump shooter, he did a lot of damage inside the paint when it mattered the most: the NCAA tournament. Of his 57 points during Arizona’s tournament run, he scored 42 points in the paint on 61.8 percent shooting.

Los Angeles Lakers – Rebounding
The Lakers were abysmal on the glass during the regular season, ranking last in offensive, defensive and total rebounding rate.

Best fit – Noah Vonleh
Vonleh led the Big Ten in rebounds per game last season and in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 27 percent of opponent's missed shots in his only season at Indiana.

Vonleh also has an added dimension as a smooth jump shooter. He shot 16-of-33 on 3-point attempts, which would have ranked eighth in the nation percentage-wise if he had qualified with enough attempts. He also led the Big Ten with a 50 percent catch-and-shoot field goal percentage (minimum 25 attempts), ahead of sharpshooters such as Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris.

Historical analysis of NBA draft combine

May, 16, 2014
May 16
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid were not in attendance at the 2014 NBA draft combine in Chicago, but plenty of other top prospects went through anthropometric testing, strength and agility drills, and shooting drills.

Randle versus Gordon versus Vonleh
There are three power forwards ranked in Chad Ford’s top 10 prospects -- Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and Noah Vonleh.

Vonleh has the longest wingspan of the three players. His 7-foot-4.25 wingspan was second only to Isaiah Austin (7-foot-4.5) at the combine. Randle (7-foot-0) and Gordon (6-foot-11.75) both measured more than four inches shorter in wingspan.

Vonleh measured as the tallest of the three players (6-foot-8 without shoes, 6-foot-9.5 in shoes).

Vonleh led the entire NBA draft combine field in hand width (11.75 inches) and was tied for the longest hand length (9.75 inches). Since hand width was first recorded at the NBA draft combine in 2010, Vonleh’s hand width is the second-highest among all players, trailing only Gregory Smith (12 inches in 2011).

Strength and agility drills
Markel Brown and Jahii Carson had the highest max vertical leaps, at 43.5 inches. That’s tied for the third-highest maximum vertical leap at the NBA draft combine since 2000. The only higher verticals were Shane Larkin (44 inches last year) and Kenny Gregory (45.5 inches in 2001).

Other players to join the 40-inch vertical club are Zach LaVine (41.5), Nick Johnson (41.5), Glenn Robinson III (41.5) and Cleanthony Early (40.0).

Gordon recorded a 39-inch maximum vertical leap, the third-highest since 2008 by a player who measured at least 6-foot-7 without shoes. The only such players with a higher vertical were C.J. Leslie (40.5 last year) and Tyrus Thomas (39.5 in 2006).

LaVine was perhaps the biggest winner of the strength and agility drills. He is the only player who finished in the top 10 in all five categories –- lane agility time (1st), shuttle run (2nd), ¾-court sprint (T-8th), standing vertical leap (T-4th) and maximum vertical leap (T-3rd).

Other notes
Dante Exum fared well in the strength and agility drills, ranking in the top 10 in lane agility, shuttle run and ¾-court sprint. His ¾-court sprint time (3.19 seconds) was faster than Chris Paul (3.22), Stephen Curry (3.28) and Damian Lillard (3.34) at the NBA draft combine.

Marcus Smart’s lane agility time of 10.82 seconds was faster than John Wall (10.84), Russell Westbrook (10.98) and Paul (11.09) at the combine.

Gordon’s standing vertical leap of 32.5 inches topped that of Blake Griffin (32.0), Chris Bosh (30.5) and Dwight Howard (30.5) at the combine.

Skipping the combine
Will Wiggins, Parker and Embiid skipping the NBA draft combine affect their stock at all?

There have been four players in the past 10 drafts not to attend the combine for various reasons who still went in the top five. That includes a pair of No. 1 picks -- Anthony Bennett last year and Andrea Bargnani in 2006. Bennett was injured, while the other three played internationally.

For the full NBA draft combine results, click on this link.

BPI Talk: Why Florida is the best team

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
Which team is the best team in college basketball? And how do we really measure that?

Syracuse is No. 1 in the AP Poll, but that is based on the subjective votes of media members.

Arizona is No. 1 in BPI and Kansas is No. 1 in RPI. But those metrics are based on formulas that factor in a team’s performance through the entire season.

The more insightful question is: Which team is the best with the roster we think each team will have in the NCAA Tournament?

For most teams, that's their current roster, but there are a few exceptions.

To evaluate that, we'll use each team's BPI with all of its key players. Those key players are defined as the five players who average the most minutes per game among players who have played at least half of the team's games. Games in which a key player played less than 10 minutes due to injury or foul trouble or any other reason are not included.

Florida reigns supreme
Based on this metric, the Florida Gators are the best team in college basketball.

With their current roster -- with Scott Wilbekin, Casey Prather, Michael Frazier II, Patric Young and Dorian Finney-Smith in the lineup together -- they are 17-1, with their only loss coming by one point to UConn on a buzzer-beater by Shabazz Napier.

Undefeated Syracuse comes in at No. 2, followed by Kansas at No. 3.

A healthy Michigan State is dangerous
Michigan State is expected to have Branden Dawson back for the NCAA Tournament. Based on Dawson’s returning, the Spartans would rank fourth with their full squad.

That's a significant jump from their overall No. 15 BPI rank. They've lost four of seven games since Dawson went out.

In their two games with all of their key players except Dawson, the Spartans have a 61.1 BPI (win against New Orleans, loss to Nebraska), which would rank well below any team expected to get an at-large bid. That’s how important a healthy Dawson could be to their chances of going deep in the NCAA Tournament.

Is Iowa a top-5 team?
Based on this metric, the Iowa Hawkeyes are No. 5. They're 18-4 with their full squad.

Jarrod Uthoff has played at least 10 minutes in all but two games (at Michigan and against Ohio State). Iowa lost both.

Arizona isn't top 10 without Brandon Ashley
The Arizona Wildcats have been a much different team without Brandon Ashley, who is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Based on this metric, the Wildcats are No. 13. They're 2-2 without Ashley. That includes losses at California and at Arizona State and a two-point home win against Oregon.

Arizona has the No. 1 BPI with Ashley in the lineup, but it's a different story without him. Ashley could be the difference between Arizona being the National Championship favorite and not even contending for a Final Four berth.

What about Oklahoma State and North Carolina?
Although Michael Cobbins isn't among the top-five Oklahoma State players in minutes per game, the Cowboys are a much different team without him. Their BPI without Cobbins but with Marcus Smart ranks 33rd in this metric among teams currently in the BPI top 40.

Oklahoma State is 4-6 without Cobbins and with Smart, with two wins against West Virginia and home wins against Texas and TCU.

North Carolina's current roster includes Leslie McDonald, who was ruled eligible Dec. 18 after he missed the first nine games of the season. Since then, the Tar Heels' current roster has the worst BPI of any team currently in the BPI top 40.

The Tar Heels are ranked No. 32 overall in BPI, but their three best wins of the season -- against Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky -- came without McDonald.

Since McDonald returned, they have losses to Wake Forest and Miami (FL) and didn't have a BPI top-50 win before Saturday's victory against Pittsburgh.

Embiid's Jayhawks control the paint

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18

John Rieger/USA TODAY SportsEmbiid tied a Big 12 freshman record with eight blocks in the game. Oklahoma State had three.
In a showdown that could feature three of the top five picks in the upcoming NBA Draft - Kansas's Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid against Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart - it was an Embiid block party that stole the show and controlled the paint in the Kansas Jayhawks win.

Embiid finished with eight blocks, breaking his own Kansas freshman record for blocks in a game and tying the Big 12 freshman record.

He rejected 26 percent of Oklahoma State's shots while he was on the floor. And he also tied a career high with nine defensive rebounds.

Kansas controls the paint
Embiid's presence on both ends contributed to a huge disparity in the paint: Kansas outscored Oklahoma State by 12 points in the paint despite taking fewer shots in the paint.

The Cowboys managed just 22 paint points on 26 shots, shooting less than 43 percent from the area.

For its part, Kansas shot 68 percent in the paint. Oklahoma State's defense wasn't much of a deterrent - while Embiid himself blocked eight shots for Kansas, the entire Oklahoma State team managed three.

Naadir Tharpe outshines Smart
On the offensive end for Kansas, Naadir Tharpe stole the show with his outside shooting.

Tharpe went 7-for-8 on shots outside the paint, finishing with a team-high 21 points.

His backcourt counterpart, projected top-five NBA draft pick Marcus Smart, finished at the opposite end of the spectrum. Smart missed all eight of his field goal attempts outside the paint.

Smart finished 3-for-14 from the field, a season-low 21.4 field goal percentage.

Historical notes
The Jayhaws won three straight regular-season games, all against ranked teams, for the first time since November 25-December 2, 1995. That year's team, which featured Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce and Jacque Vaughn, reeled off consecutive wins against No. 8 Utah, No. 15 Virginia and No. 23 UCLA.

After winning in Lawrence last year, Oklahoma State falls back to the wrong side of the coin. The Cowboys have lost 17 of their last 18 games at Allen Fieldhouse.

Numbers to know: November recap

December, 1, 2012

Lance King/Getty ImagesMason Plumlee had a huge month for the Blue Devils, averaging 19.9 PPG and 11.0 RPG.
Player of the Month – Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils
Plumlee was the key to Duke’s 7-0 start, which included three wins over top-five schools. He averaged 19.9 points per game and 11.0 rebounds per game during the month. There’s a long season ahead, but it’s worth nothing that only Tim Duncan (twice) and Ralph Sampson averaged 19 and 11 in the ACC over the previous 30 years.

Plumlee’s month included multiple 20-point, 17-rebound efforts. Over the last 15 years, the only other major conference players to do that before the end of November were Michael Beasley and Blake Griffin.

Leading Scorer of the Month – C.J. McCollum, Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Topping 30 points on three occasions, McCollum averaged 26.3 points per game to lead the nation in November.

If history is any indication, McCollum could be lottery-bound this June. That’s where the past five players to lead the nation in scoring in November were eventually selected.

Defensive Player of the Month – Jeff Withey, Kansas Jayhawks
Withey averaged 5.7 blocks in November, the most blocks per game by a player in November since Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado in 2008. Withey alone had twice as many blocks (40) as Kansas’s opponents combined (20).

Could Withey average 10 points and five blocks this season? The last major conference players to do that were Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning in 1991-92.

Freshman of the Month – Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Smart led the Cowboys to a 5-0 November, averaging 13.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 5.8 APG. Just how complete is Smart’s game? The last freshman to reach all three of those averages in November was Dwyane Wade in 2001.

Free Throw Shooter of the Month – Jordan Adams, UCLA Bruins
Adams was the bright spot in a forgettable month for the Bruins, and he did a big part of his damage from the line. The freshman went 35-36 (97.2 percent) on free throws. Having made his last 33, Adams stands 10 shy of Darren Collison’s school record.

3-Point Shooter of the Month – Ryan Sypkens, UC Davis Aggies
The Aggies senior averaged 5.3 3-point field goals per game, the most for a player in November since Rotnei Clarke in 2009 for Arkansas. Sypkens also made 63.6 percent of his attempts, the highest for any player with at least 20 attempts.

Rebounder of the Month – Jamelle Hagins, Delaware Fightin Blue Hens
Hagins led the nation in rebounds per 40 minutes and ranked second in defensive rebounding percentage. His 23 rebounds against Lafayette were the most for a Division I player in November since 2009.

Distributor of the Month – Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange
Carter-Williams tallied 46 assists in five games to lead the nation at 9.2 APG. That’s the most assists-per-game in November for a Big East point guard (min. three games) since Omar Cook’s 10.0 in 2000.