Part 1 is here.
The idea in part 1 was that in order to become an upper crust team, a team needed to field a group of scorers that consisted of either two class Class A scorers, and surround them with specialists(see Shaq-Kobe or Shaq-Wade, 2nd Three-Peat Bulls) or field a team with one Class A scorer, and two Class B scorers, then fill in around the edges.(Ginobili-Duncan-Parker, Jordan-Pippen-Grant, Dantley-Thomas-Dumars, Hamilton-Billups-Sheed). A class A scorer is a player who has his points per shot in the 1.3 range and above. A class B scorer is between 1.2 and 1.29. And both of these have to include shooting the ball around 12 times per game or above.
This of course doesn’t take into account defense, but as a starting point, the team still has to be able to outscore the opponent, and the model works on a very basic level. It speaks to efficient offense, something the Thunder lack.
The 06-07 Spurs were comprised of three A level scorers:
Duncan: 1.41 pps-14 fga/gm
Parker: 1.30 pps-14.2 fga/gm
Ginobli: 1.44 pps-11.4 fga/gm.
These three guys took roughly half the shots for the Spurs that year. In the playoffs things tightened up, but the efficient offense and great defense prevailed:
Duncan: 1.32 pps-16.7 fga/gm
Parker: 1.18 pps-17.5 fga/gm
Ginobli: 1.34 pps-12.35 fga/gm.
Notice that these three guys shot the ball even more during the playoffs. The star players took on an even bigger role.
This year’s Cleveland Cavaliers team had a makeup that didn’t conform to the model and had difficulty in the playoffs:
Lebron: 1.42 pps-19.2 fga/gm
Williams: 1.28 pps-13.9 fga/gm
Ilgauskus: 1.16 pps-11.1 fga/gm
D.West: 1.19 pps-9.8 fga/gm.
Here the Cavs had one A+ scorer in Lebron, and one B scorer in Mo Williams, but the supporting cast were in the C range. In the playoffs, the supporting cast fell off even worse:
Lebron: 1.58 pps-22.2 fga/gm
Williams: 1.16 pps-14 fga/gm
Ilgauskus: 1.06 pps- 9.85 fga/gm
D.West: 1.22 pps-11.2 fga/gm.
Lebron became even more efficient, and took on a bigger load, but big Z and Mo Williams took a dive. One A scorer and a bunch of C scorers were exposed in the playoffs.
In part one I explained that Kevin Durant was one of only 29 class A scorers in the NBA last year, and that Jeff Green just managed to fall into the class B range. Russell didn’t qualify as either, but he took enough shots. That left us looking for another potential class A or B scorer to pair up with Green, Durant and Westbrook. D.J. White might be a good candidate, but he plays the 4 as does Green.
The most likely way to conform to the model would be to bring in a 2 who is a bona fide Class A or B player. With the draft coming up, I took some time and looked at who the most efficient scorers were in this year’s crop of potential wings:
S.Curry: 1.41 pps
Harden: 1.55 pps
Budinger: 1.38 pps
T.Evans: 1.25 pps
Lee Cummard: 1.43 pps
G. Henderson: 1.28 pps
Ellington: 1.35 pps
DeRozan: 1.32 pps
D. Green: 1.27 pps
T.Williams: 1.17 pps
J.Holiday: 1.19 pps
Meeks: 1.5 pps
J.Taylor: 1.34 pps. And just for fun and comparison’s sake, here are a few recent pros and how they fared in college:
J.J.Redick: 1.49 pps
Durant: 1.39 pps
J.Green: 1.38 pps
Westbrook: 1.27 pps
O.J. Mayo: 1.27 pps
Derrick Rose: 1.36 pps
Adam Morrison: 1.50 pps.
Most of the guys on these lists were either the top scorer and go to guy on their team, or close to it. Defenses were built to stop these guys, and yet they still were able to retain great efficiency night in and night out. The exceptions are probably Gerald Henderson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington, Budinger, Westbrook and Holiday.
In the wings from this year’s draft, a few players just weren’t that efficient. And if they can’t be efficient scorers at the college level, they likely won’t be in the pros anytime soon. Right off the bat I would discount Jrue Holiday, Tarrance Williams, Gerald Henderson, Tyreke Evans and Danny Green. Notice the guy that most Daily Thunder readers love James Harden. He tops the list. His scoring is a unique blend of all of the traits that you look for in a scorer. He is unselfish (he took less than 13 shots per game), he is a great passer, he can shoot from deep and midrange, he can drive to the basket and finish, and he gets to the line almost 8 times per game at the college level. He does this all while being the focus of the opposing defense, and retaining great efficiency.
Stephon Curry also gets high marks considering he was looking to create for team mates and also being the best player by far on his team. Lee Cummard is an underrated scorer and probably won’t even get into the first round unfortunately.
Harden I think would fit perfectly alongside Westbrook providing great efficiency and intangibles. Ideally of course the team needs to improve on defense as well and not just the offensive side of the ball, but there is good evidence that teams improve defensive efficiency as they age.