December 5, 2009

A look at the League’s Top Rookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 11:59 am

Let’s take a look at the league’s top rookies. (see the chart below). Brandon Jennings has tailed off lately. After adjusting for strength of the guys he plays with and against, we estimate that Jennings is around 2.6 points better than an average NBA player. Note that in last 8 games, however, he has played at a well below average level. Maybe he is hitting the rookie wall or teams have figured him out. Time will tell. On a pure points basis, Thornton of the Hornets and Thabeet of Memphis have been the best (although in limited minutes).  To see the effectiveness  of Thornton note that when Thornton and Chris Paul are both out the Hornets play 12 points worse than average while if Thornton is in when Paul is out the Hornets play only 3 points  worse than average. Collison has also done a great job for the Hornets.  Using a version of Value of a Replacement Player borrowed from baseball (see Chapter 33 of my Mathletics book for details) we determined a “fair” salary for each rookie based on his points rating and minutes per game. We find, for example, that if Ty Lawson of Denver   continues to play at this present level of +6.3 and keeps the same playing time (22 minutes per game) he would generate 7.7 million dollars worth of value.  A blank in the salary column means that so far the player has played at below replacement level. For example, so far Flynn of MIN has been a large disappointment and has been overrated by most pundits.

 

Player

Team

Season Pts

Last 8 games Pts

Salary(MILLIONS)

THORNTON

NO

12.9

10.8

10.22

JENNINGS

MIL

2.6

-4.5

8.57

EVANS

SAC

2.2

3.6

8.41

LAWSON

DEN

6.3

5.9

7.70

THABEET

MEM

18.2

25.2

6.89

COLLISON

NO

3.7

3.7

6.08

HARDEN

OKC

3.6

3.7

5.74

JERETKO

DET

-0.5

-3.5

4.07

BLAIR

SAN

-1.5

2.6

2.05

YOUNG

MEM

-2.2

-1.5

1.62

FLYNN

MIN

-10.3

-10.3

-

CASSPI

SAC

-6.9

-6.5

-

GIBSON

CHI

-6.2

-6.3

-

 

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