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NBA Basketball: Insider Help

lakeshow22
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bangbangwaynee
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git it yo damself

We aint no charity../p

BasketBalAllan
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Here are my player scouting

Here are my player scouting reports and 2012-13 projections for the New Orleans Hornets. (Note: Projections are for players who played 500 or more minutes in the NBA in '11-12.)

PROJECTED STARTERS

GREIVIS VASQUEZ, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

13.8
3.9
8.0
13.6

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Slow-footed combo guard with great feel and advanced passing skill.
+ Mediocre outside shooter but very good on short-range runners.
+ Good size for position but vulnerable defender. Limited athlete.

Analysis
The category numbers don't look all that different, but Vasquez improved in every phase and the overall result was a huge jump in his PER. In particular, he was able to make a lot of the same incisive passes we saw in his rookie season but with fewer turnovers in between, so his pure point rating put him in the top third of point guards.

He also scored more and shot better, particularly in sinking 41.4 percent on 2s from beyond 10 feet. Vasquez's 3-ball still needs work, however (31.9 percent), especially since he's unlikely to get as much time with the ball in his hands on a more talented Hornets team this season.

Defensively Vasquez made tremendous strides after getting torched during his rookie season in Memphis. Synergy actually rated him well above average, and while I'd argue that's an especially enthusiastic interpretation, it does appear Vasquez is learning how to use his size and anticipation to make up for his leaden feet. That said, he'll always be a liability against quick guards and that's why he's probably destined to be a backup. You could do a lot worse than this guy, though, and he may have further offensive progress in his future.

ERIC GORDON, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

23.8
3.1
4.7
19.1

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ High-scoring off-guard who draws fouls with powerful bursts to basket.
+ Short but very strong. Good shooter, albeit overrated. Average passer at best.
+ Moves well and competes on defense, but lacks length. Injuries a concern.

Analysis
Gordon played only nine games last season, but played them at almost exactly the level he'd established the previous season with the Clippers. It's pretty amazing that the numbers were so similar given such a small sample of games.

A multiple threat who can power to the rim and rain 3s, Gordon could take his game up another level by raising his jump shot from good to great. He's at 37.0 percent for his career on 3s and 80.7 percent from the line; to justify a max contract he probably needs to approach the 40/90 levels. But even at his current numbers, he's pretty darned good.

Alas, the bigger worry is not with performance but permanence; injuries have taken out big chunks of his past three seasons. It's difficult to justify a max contract if he's not playing.

AL-FAROUQ AMINU, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

12.3
8.2
1.8
12.2

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Athletic, long-armed slasher who can run floor and finish. Poor outside shooter.
+ Good rebounder but lacks strength for frontcourt. A tweener with no certain role.
+ Needs to improve handle and decisions. Excellent defensive potential.

Analysis
Aminu still doesn't have a clue on offense, and that's something of a shame because he has some serious potential at the defensive end. He is crazy long for a wing player and ranked in the top quarter of his position in both blocks and steals per minute, and also finished fourth among small forwards in rebound rate despite his slender frame. His overall defensive data wasn't that strong because he still needs more game experience and better concentration, but he had some breathtaking moments at that end.

Offensively, alas, he's dead weight, largely because he dribbles into defenders indiscriminately and tends to throw passes to people who aren't on his team. Aminu had the worst turnover ratio of any wing player for a second straight season, a further indication that he appears no closer to figuring it out. Shooting is part of the problem here, as opponents happily concede jumpers to him and force him to drive into traffic.

Worst Turnover Ratio Among Wing Players, 2011-12

Player
Team
TO Rate

Al-Farouq Aminu
NO
15.9

Hedo Turkoglu
Orl
15.4

Thabo Sefolosha
OKC
15.3

Stephen Jackson
Mil/SA
14.8

Bill Walker
NY
13.9

Min. 150 attempts. Source: Hoopdata.com

Aminu fared well once he got to the basket, shooting 55.8 percent in the basket area with a high foul rate, but shot just 32.4 percent on long 2s and 27.7 percent on 3s. And since he had so much trouble dribbling past opponents, those jumpers composed the majority of his shots. He finished below the league average in 2-point percentage and among the bottom dozen small forwards in true shooting percentage, adding a further supply of empty trips to his profusion of turnovers.

Perhaps he wouldn't have so much trouble if he could fill out more and play the 4, since he has the requisite length. Alternatively, maybe he just needs to improve his shot and stop driving. But wherever he needs to be, he's not there yet.

RYAN ANDERSON, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

20.2
9.9
1.3
21.2

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Slow, aggressive power forward with deadly 3-pointer off the catch. Quick trigger.
+ Excellent offensive rebounder but bad on defensive boards. Limited mobility.
+ Rarely creates offense off the dribble. Mediocre defensive player. Doesn't block shots.

Analysis
While Rome burned around him, the Grenade Launcher had a breakout season that saw him win the league's Most Improved Player award and earn a big payday in free agency from the Hornets. Flinging seven 3-point attempts a game off his right shoulder, he shot 39.3 percent for a second straight season and threw in elite offensive rebounding as a bonus.

I don't think people understand what a devastating offensive player Anderson is because he doesn't have the ball in his hands much. But he's basically a poor man's Nowitzki in that he generates lots of points with a remarkably low cost in empty trips ... thereby leaving lots of other possessions for his teammates to score, too.

He's a bit like the high OBP guy in baseball that way. Anderson averaged a point every two minutes, which is great, but the amazing part is he did it while ranking fifth among power forwards in true shooting percentage and third in turnover ratio; that's why the Magic scored a whopping 13.8 points per 100 possessions more with him on the court last season.

A school of thought has developed that Anderson was just a creation of opponents' focus on Dwight Howard, an idea that gathered steam when Anderson had a terrible playoff series against Indiana. However, the breakdowns don't support that idea.

Anderson's true shooting percentage was 57.6 with Howard off the court, 59.8 with Howard on it. That's a bit of a decline, but he also scored 21.0 points per 40 minutes without Howard and 19.3 with him. In other words, he took more shots, at a cost in efficiency, when Howard checked out -- exactly what you'd expect a No. 2 option to do.

As for his defense ... can we change the subject? Anderson was better last season, but he still can be torched in the wrong one-on-one matchup and needs to work on his off-ball awareness as well. Additionally, his defensive rebound rate (61st among power forwards) is a major disappointment given how good he is on the offensive glass. Having a good shot-blocker behind him helps, and he'll have that again in New Orleans.

ANTHONY DAVIS, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Dominating shot-blocker and rebounder with superior length and great motor.
+ Very good ball handler for size. Can finish at basket. Needs to add post game.

Analysis
Um, yes. This guy. The numbers back up everything everybody else has said -- this is the real deal. Davis had by far the best rate of blocks of any collegian, had the pure point rating and steal rate of a shooting guard, and had the best PER and fewest eyebrows of any collegian.

Save for needing more muscle and better-fitting T-shirts, it's hard to find a weakness Davis brings to the next level. He may not be a great scorer right away, but his defensive ability is off the charts and he has enough ball and shooting skills to become an excellent face-up 4. Basically, he was far and away the most talented player in this draft and it will be an upset if he doesn't make multiple All-Star teams.

RESERVES

AUSTIN RIVERS, G

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Attacking, shoot-first combo guard who draws fouls. Average shooter at best.
+ Modest athleticism numbers. Tends to dominate ball. Must improve foul shooting.

Analysis
Rivers was one of the most divisive players in this year's draft, with some seeing him as an irredeemable ball hog and others as an aggressive scorer with a bulldog mentality.

The tipping point for me is whether he has the athletic gifts to keep going to the basket in the same way as a pro. Lurking below the radar is the fact Rivers' athleticism markers are really, really weak: He shot only 48 percent on 2s, blocked one shot in 1,129 minutes and had one of the worst rebound rates of any prospect.

He'll also need to improve as a shooter. While his 3-point percentage was solid, his funky-looking stroke tends to break down off the dribble. Moreover, 65.8 percent from the line isn't going to cut it, especially for a player seeking to get to the stripe the way Rivers is.

With all that said, his youth, pedigree and outstanding ball skills give him a solid chance for success. I think he was picked too highly, based on the iffy athleticism referenced above, but he's definitely a first-round talent.

JASON SMITH, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.2
8.3
1.6
15.3

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Pick-and-pop big who can run floor and jump. Decent frame, but not physical.
+ Limited ball handler with no post game. Rarely penetrates or draws fouls.
+ Plus defender against pick-and-roll but weak on boards. Low-turnover player.

Analysis
Smith quietly had a breakout season in New Orleans, putting up by far the best offensive numbers of his career as a pick-and-pop center. He added nearly five points to his 40-minute scoring average by letting it rip from the perimeter early and often; he shot 44.9 percent on jumpers from beyond 10 feet and took nearly six of them a game. The Hornets were actually running pin-downs for him to get jumpers, a sight you rarely see with a 7-foot center.

When Smith did it get to the rim, it was usually for a clean dunk. He shot 79.5 percent in the basket area, which would have led the league except that he had only 83 attempts. His high shooting percentage offset an anemic free throw rate and gave him a respectable TS% for the first time in his career. The drawback, of course, is that he really needs to be a lights-out midrange shooter to have an offensive impact, because he just doesn't do much else.

Defensively Smith is a below-average rebounder, but has improved as a shot-blocker and his mobility is a tremendous plus. Synergy gave him positive grades and the Hornets gave up 2.8 points per 100 possessions less with him on the court. His shooting numbers are likely to regress next season so his PER won't be quite as potent, but he has established himself as a very solid third big in a frontcourt rotation.

ROBIN LOPEZ, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.4
9.4
0.7
14.7

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Slow big man who can finish shots around basket and draw fouls.
+ Good effort on defense but slow reactions. Disappointing rebounder.
+ Amazingly bad passer. Poor ball handler in general. Limited post game.

Analysis
Lopez had a pretty good season, and while I'm unsure if he'll ever be a starter, at 24 he can be a top-notch backup 5 for a long time. One can argue he'd be even better if he'd focus more on just shooting around the basket. Lopez ranked ninth among centers in free throw rate and usually makes his freebies (71.4 percent for his career), but the other nonsense drags down his percentages. Lopez made only 32.5 percent of his shots outside the immediate basket area, and amazingly more than half his attempts came from this range. In his case, less would be more.

One notable improvement, however, was that Lopez managed to have 20 assists last season. If that doesn't seem like much, it's not ... but it nearly equals what he totaled in his first three seasons combined (23), when he annually was the worst in the league in this category.

Defensively, Lopez's size is an impediment but his slow movement is most notable on the glass, where he was 59th out of 63 centers in defensive rebound rate. He blocks shots (12th among centers last season), but he has a high foul rate that likely prevents him from becoming a long-term starter -- last season it was nearly a whistle every seven minutes. Opposing centers once again racked up a big PER against him, 18.4 this time according to 82games.com, but it's his pick-and-roll defense that is the real shortcoming -- and one that creates a lot of those openings for opponents.

HAKIM WARRICK, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

17.0
7.6
2.1
13.2

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Long forward who excels as pick-and-roll dive man. Draws lots of fouls.
+ Amazingly bad defensive player. Lacks strength and focus. Subpar rebounder.
+ Limited low-post game. Likes to operate from elbows for drive or jump shot.

Analysis
Warrick likes to play an inside-outside game, using the threat of his midrange game to open drives, but last season his outside game failed him. Warrick shot a brutal 26.2 percent from outside the immediate basket area, a problem given that two-thirds of his shots came from those locations. He still drew fouls in bunches, ranking second among power forwards in free throw rate despite all the jump shots, and because of that he was able to score at a decent clip and salvage some value at the offensive end.

Unfortunately, he has to be quite good offensively to warrant minutes because he's so bad on defense, and Warrick took a further step back last season. His rebound rate withered to 64th out of 70 power forwards, and he was 69th in blocks. His only "plus" was a low foul rate, but that's symbolic of his not trying, not a sign of effectiveness.

As always, his other metrics were disastrous. Synergy rated him among the league's worst defenders, the Suns gave up 5.7 more points per 100 possessions with him on the court, and opposing 4s rang up a 16.4 PER against him, according to 82games.com. Warrick's defensive metrics have been brutally awful every season in the league, largely explaining why he's become a bit player despite solid offensive production.

XAVIER HENRY, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.2
5.2
1.7
10.2

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Left-handed wing with good size and strength. Erratic jump shot needs work.
+ Decent athlete who could be very good defender. Good rebounder.
+ High character guy, but handle, motor and offensive instincts need improvement.

Analysis
Henry didn't seem overwhelmed the way he was in Memphis a season earlier, but his lack of a perimeter game remains a major impediment to progress. He shot 31.3 percent on long 2s and 61.2 percent from the line and made seven 3-pointers all season, and unfortunately two-thirds of his shots came away from the basket area. Henry did draw a lot of fouls going to the bucket, ranking seventh among shooting guards in free throw rate, but his poor foul shooting offset much of that good work.

Summing it up, his shooting numbers were just ghastly: Out of 61 shooting guards he was 60th in 2-point percentage, 57th in overall shooting percentage, 54th in secondary percentage and 60th in true shooting. His ballhandling numbers were bad too, as he was 54th in assist ratio.

Defensively he shows more promise, with a solid frame and good size for a 2. Henry was seventh among shooting guards in rebound rate and had above-average rates of blocks and steals, and overall his defensive statistical data was pretty solid. But he's a very limited role player unless he can make more shots.

ROGER MASON, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.7
4.0
2.9
10.9

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Catch-and-shoot specialist with quick line-drive release. Can hit off dribble.
+ Handles well enough to play point, but lacks burst to get into paint.
+ Size an asset on D, but subpar athlete who struggles with quickness.

Analysis
Mason's career was on life support, but he played well enough in D.C. to stay in the league another year. The key was a 38.3 percent mark on 3s, which comprised three-fifths of Mason's shots, and he was also a much more aggressive offensive player than in previous stops, averaging 16.4 points per 40 minutes. But Mason still gets asked for ID when he goes in the paint: He made only 11 shots at the basket all season and attempted just 27 free throws.

Nonetheless, he was solid enough in other respects to be a viable bench player. He has a good enough handle to offset his limited athleticism, and defensively he did a respectable job ... except when the Wizards tried to play ultra-small and use him as a 3, in which case he was absolutely savaged by bigger wings.

DARIUS MILLER, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Skilled "point forward" who can shoot, handle and distribute. Doesn't draw fouls.
+ Struggles defensively. Shockingly bad rebounder for a player of his size.

Analysis
The quiet glue guy in Kentucky's title run, Miller is both an excellent shooter and an accomplished ball handler. During his last two seasons at Kentucky, he shot over 40 percent on 3s, plus his pure point rating was one of the best among players his size. The one drawback is that Miller rarely earned easy points for himself, sporting one of the lowest free throw rates of any prospect.

Athletically, he may also struggle. Miller's 5.6 rebound rate is pretty sad for a 6-8 forward, and it's an open question whether he can defend NBA small forwards. But he'll be able to space the floor and is comfortable playing a subsidiary role, making him a decent second-round gamble.

LANCE THOMAS, F

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

11.0
8.0
0.8
10.4

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Lanky, undersized, mobile power forward. Lacks strength and struggles on glass.
+ Quick but turnover-prone. Attacks basket and draws fouls. Good foul shooter.
+ Strong pick-and-roll defender but can't defend big post players.

Analysis
Thomas earned minutes for the Hornets with his mobility at the defensive end, with Synergy giving him rave reviews. His other data was more neutral, but it's clear that Thomas is a very solid help defender and a rather suspect post defender. He has a thin frame and is only 6-8, but he doesn't have the ball skills or shooting range to play on the wing.

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