FanPost

Rookie of the Year: Rookie Score Cards 1980-Present

The germ of an idea took hold while reading the comments section of a blog post found on the front page of this site back on January 16th. The title of the blog post was Victor Oladipo is more Robin than Batman. Nothing too outlandish there but it was enough of a bold statement to garner some healthy discussion, and it did.

This got me thinking. We had just played our 39th game and so we were a little less than half-way through the season. Oladipo was averaging 14/4/4 on 50% TS. I had an intuitive sense of Oladipo's worth from the combine results and his college track record. Hennigans' selection of Oladipo #2 and subsequent praise for the kid only further fed expectations. Then there was the surprising PG experiment and Oladipo's seeming aptitude to undergo a complete identity overhaul at the NBA level. Hennigan was part of a similar player transformation while at OKC with Russell Westbrook. Was he going to pull it off a second time with Oladipo? Or were we seeing an "overwhelmed", "no basketball IQ", "paralysis" unfold right before our eyes.

I come over to these parts and see the above quote getting woven into a broader narrative trashing Oladipo, from one blog's comment section to the next, like clockwork. It isn't just one guy. It is bigger than that. It is a broader culture that is very unique to this blog.

Now, if anyone knows me (doubtful) you know that I like to range off anchor towards optimism, but I pride myself in grounding my anchor in reality. If I error on the side of optimism, big whoop, it was a fun ride and enough of the facts could be strewn together to support the optimistic proposition. Well, the above quote and general anti-Oladipo culture is not ground in any reality that I had assessed up to that point. So I began this project with a simple goal; to qualify Oladipo's rookie performance.

Value is determined in relation to its context. Supply and demand. Abstract what Oladipo represents in this league and a few key descriptors come to mind; he is a rookie, and he is a guard. So the Orlando Magic have gone into the draft and tapped its supply of rookie guards. What is the demand for rookie guards? Every team needs them, so abstractly the demand for rookie guards is just as high as for rookie forwards or rookie centers. Well, what about the quality that is demanded of rookie guards? That is thankfully not an abstraction, that is concrete and easily quantifiable. So quantify the quality of rookie guards is what I did, arriving at the Rookie Score Card.

I'm not going to teach a basic statistics course here. I will describe the simple process I follow in creating a Rookie Score Card. In a previous fanpost I looked at data for rookie guards through their first 54 games. I calculated the standard deviation within their counting stats and TS% and moved two standard deviations out from the average in both directions to qualify production as Terrible, Poor, Average, Good, and Elite. I then weighted each quality and added the categories up to determine their Rookie Score. So for example, if our rookie is an elite scorer but a poor rebounder, poor assister, poor defender, and good shooter they'd score a -1. As you'll see a -1 does not a ROY candidate make. The stats for this hypothetical player would look like 16.6/1.1/0.9 with 0.4 STOCKS on 54% TS.

For this blog post I've taken complete Rookie Year data for all rookie guards since 1980 that played in at least 50 games. I took full season data as this is not a pace report. This is a look at the finish line. I chose 50 games as the cutoff since no ROY guard has ever won playing less (Vince Carter won playing only 50 games, Kyrie Irving only 51, and Brandon Roy only 57. No other ROY guard won without at least 70 games). I've extended out two additional deviations from the average to allow for Jordan's phenomenal scoring and Mark Jackson's phenomenal assisting. These additional deviations are "Star" and "GOAT".

Making the Grade: The Categories

STDV

4.3

1.1

1.8

0.6

0.8

4%

Poor

3.6

1.1

0.9

0.4

0.7

46%

Average

8.0

2.2

2.7

1.0

1.5

50%

Good

12.3

3.3

4.5

1.6

2.3

54%

Elite

16.6

4.4

6.3

2.2

3.1

58%

Star

20.9

5.5

8.1

2.8

3.9

62%

GOAT

25.3

6.6

9.9

3.4

4.7

66%

Guards Who Won ROY Honors Since 1980: Score Cards

Season

Player

PTS

TRB

AST

STOCK

TOV

TS%

Total

1984-85

Michael Jordan*

GOAT

Star

Good

Star

Terrible

Elite

15

2005-06

Chris Paul

Good

Elite

Elite

Elite

Average

Good

14

1998-99

Vince Carter

Elite

Star

Average

Elite

Average

Average

13

1988-89

Mitch Richmond

Star

Star

Average

Average

Terrible

Good

11

2006-07

Brandon Roy

Elite

Good

Average

Average

Average

Good

10

1995-96

Damon Stoudamire

Elite

Good

Star

Good

Terrible

Average

9

1996-97

Allen Iverson

Star

Good

Elite

Elite

Poop

Average

9

1999-00

Steve Francis

Elite

Elite

Elite

Good

Poop

Good

9

2009-10

Tyreke Evans

Elite

Elite

Good

Good

Poor

Average

9

2011-12

Kyrie Irving

Elite

Good

Good

Average

Poor

Good

8

2012-13

Damian Lillard

Elite

Average

Elite

Average

Poor

Good

8

1987-88

Mark Jackson

Good

Elite

GOAT

Elite

Poor

Poor

7

1994-95

Jason Kidd

Average

Elite

Elite

Good

Terrible

Poor

4

2008-09

Derrick Rose

Elite

Good

Good

Poor

Poor

Average

4

1980-81

Darrell Griffith

Elite

Good

Poor

Good

Poor

Poor

1

2013 Guards: ROY Candidates

Season

Player

PTS

TRB

AST

STOCK

TOV

TS%

Total

2013-14

Victor Oladipo

Good

Good

Average

Elite

Poor

Average

7

2013-14

Michael Carter-Williams

Elite

Elite

Good

Elite

Terrible

Poor

6

2013-14

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Poor

Elite

Poor

Average

Average

Average

2

2013-14

Trey Burke

Good

Average

Good

Poor

Average

Poor

2

2013-14

Tim Hardaway

Average

Poor

Terrible

Poor

Elite

Good

-1

2013-14

Nate Wolters

Poor

Average

Average

Poor

Good

Terrible

-3

2013-14

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Poor

Poor

Terrible

Average

Elite

Poor

-5

2013-14

Nick Calathes

Poor

Poor

Poor

Poor

Good

Average

-5

2013-14

Ben McLemore

Poor

Average

Terrible

Poor

Good

Poor

-6

2013-14

Tony Snell

Poor

Poor

Poor

Poor

Elite

Poor

-7

2013-14

Matthew Dellavedova

Poor

Poor

Poor

Poor

Elite

Poor

-7

2013-14

Phil Pressey

Terrible

Terrible

Poor

Poor

Good

Terrible

-11

We have awarded the ROY to 15 guards over the last 32 years. The average Score for this group is 8.7. The average ROY profile is an elite scorer and rebounder, a good passer and defender, a poor ball protector, and an average shooter. You can see that Oladipo with his 7 Score is short of the average ROY. Looking at his profile he is only a good scorer and rebounder and an average passer, holding him back. Closer to the mark, if not in score than in profile, is Michael Carter-Williams. What hurts MCW is his terrible ball protection and poor shooting.

Both shortcomings are predictable for Oladipo and MCW. Oladipo is transitioning to an entirely new role as a lead ball handler and offensive focus while MCW has a history of heavy turnovers and poor shooting.

As things stand MCW better fits the profile of a ROY guard. Oladipo, however, is the more well-rounded candidate, as his score attests. No one else comes into the discussion for ROY, it really is a two man race at this point.

From all of this one thing is clear; the anti-Oladipo culture his not grounded in reality. It is not taking into account the context within which we should be evaluating Oladipo. What we have in Oladipo is one of the best defensive guard prospects of the last 30 years, making the switch to NBA PG at the age of 21. Out of 427 Rookie Guards since 1980 Oladipo's rookie production so far ranks 38th. He is only getting better. Strap in, the ROY race still has a ways to go.

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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