It should be noted that I am in favor of picking Andrew Wiggins this Thursday. I was about 70/30 in favor of Wiggins prior to reading this FanPost by WitMi, but after reading it that jumped up to around 90/10. Still, I don't think it'd be a complete disaster if we picked Jabari Parker. This fan post will examine the statistical evidence that shows Jabari might be the best scorer to enter the draft in the last 5 years. Let's take a look:
(Note - I will not be covering athleticism, weight issues, or whether Jabari has any interest in playing in Cleveland. Those are things I'll leave to the front office. Just the stats!)
[All stats from KenPom.com]
32.3% - The percentage of Duke's shots taken by Jabari Parker while he was on the floor.
111.7 - The ORtg Parker maintained while taking that many shots.
123.5 - Duke's adjusted offensive efficiency last season with Jabari Parker leading the way.
4th - The ranking of Duke's adjusted offensive efficiency last year when compared with every other team in division 1 basketball since 2002 (3rd - the 2012 Missouri team that shot 57.0% inside the arc and 39.8% outside, 2nd - Chris Paul's 2005 Wake Forest team, 1st - the 2014 Michigan team that rained high-volume 40.2% efficiency three-pointers).
Parker was not 'just a volume scorer'. He was the central cog of one of the most efficient college offenses we've seen in the last decade. Coach K has had some really good offensive teams. In 2002 Duke had a starting lineup of Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon, Dahntay Jones & Carlos Boozer. The 2014 team was significantly more efficient on offense than that team, and every other Duke team since then. This accomplishment should not be diminished.
To try to find a comparable season, I (manually) searched KenPom.com for players that fit these criteria:
- Age-19 freshman (Parker = 19.3 on draft day)
- Played on an NCAA tournament-caliber team (Top 50 in KenPom rankings, Duke ranked #13 overall that season)
- Team adjusted offensive efficiency of 113.0 or more (Duke = 123.5)
- Player took at least 30% of team's shots while on the floor (Parker = 32.3)
- Player maintained an ORtg of 108.0 or more (Parker = 111.7)
I attempted to make these criteria somewhat generous compared to what Jabari and Duke achieved in 2014 in order to get as many results as possible. However, since 2004 there have only been 2 players that met these criteria: Kevin Durant at Texas in 2007 and Michael Beasley at Kansas St. in 2008.
The 'Player Stats' section on KenPom.com only goes back to 2004, but I managed to find one additional player myself: Carmelo Anthony at Syracuse in 2003.
I thought it was interesting that none of these guys stand out in athletic testing, and all of them could be classified as combo forwards to a certain extent.
Let's take a detailed look at their measurements, team statistics and individual statistics to see what else we can glean from these comparisons:
Jabari Parker, 2014 (age = 19.3 on draft day) - 6' 9" tall in shoes, 6' 11.75" wingspan, 8' 11.5" standing reach
Carmelo Anthony, 2003 (age = 19.1 on draft day) - 6' 7.5" tall in shoes, 7' 0" wingspan, 8' 9.5" standing reach
Kevin Durant, 2007 (age = 18.8 on draft day) - 6' 10.25" in shoes, 7' 4.75" wingspan, 9' 2" standing reach
Michael Beasley, 2008 (age = 19.5 on draft day) - 6' 8.25" tall in shoes, 7' 0.25" wingspan, 8' 11" standing reach
So, Durant was an absolute freak and the youngest prospect while the rest measured out very similarly, within 0.4 years of age, 1.5" of height, 0.5" of wingspan, and 2" of standing reach.
Duke, 2014 - #13 team overall, 123.5 adjusted offensive efficiency, .7022 strength of schedule
Syracuse, 2003 - #5 team overall, 113.4 adjusted offensive efficiency, .7281 strength of schedule
Texas, 2007 - #24 team overall, 117.5 adjusted offensive efficiency, .6505 strength of schedule
Kansas St, 2008 - #23 team overall, 113.4 adjusted offensive efficiency, .6911 strength of schedule
Syracuse was the best team and faced the hardest schedule, while Duke had the best offense of the bunch. Durant was amazing, but when we look at his stats we should keep in mind that he faced the easiest schedule of these 4 prospects. On a side note, Syracuse had the #14 ranked defense that year, Kansas St. #52, Texas #106, and Duke #116. This should be considered when looking at the NCAA tournament fortunes/misfortunes of each team (for those that don't recall, Syracuse won it all while Kansas St. & Texas both lost badly in the round of 32).
Offensive Rating and % of Team's Shots Taken
Jabari Parker - 111.7 on 32.3%
Carmelo Anthony - 112.9 on 31.5%
Kevin Durant - 116.5 on 34.3%
Michael Beasley - 119.8 on 35.7%
Durant and Beasley are a tier above Parker and Anthony here, even though they did it against easier schedules. It is noteworthy that Durant and Anthony have an ORtg slightly lower than their team's adjusted offensive efficiency, while Beasley's ORtg was significantly higher than that of his team. Parker is unique here in that his ORtg was 11.8 points LOWER than his team's offensive efficiency. That can be interpreted many different ways. Some might say that this means he should have passed the ball more, enabling his more efficient teammates to shoot more often. My view, considering that this offense was among the best in the last 12 years, is that this is what happens when you surround a versatile front court scorer with excellent spot up shooting. Parker can draw the defense's attention in isolation, as the P&R roll man, or down in the post, enabling his teammates to get open looks on the perimeter, which they were more than capable of knocking down. I feel like his assist numbers were deceptively low, and that he probably had quite a number of hockey-type assists where the shot came after 2-3 passes within the flow of the offense. It should be noted that this is purely speculation, as I only watched 6 or 7 Duke games this year and certainly didn't track this type of thing. Perhaps someone who follows the team more closely can comment on whether this may be correct or not.
Shooting Splits (2P / 3P / FT)
Jabari Parker - 2P = 198/393, 50.4%; 3P = 38/106, 35.8%; FT = 160/214, 74.8%; 2PA/FGA = 77.8%
Carmelo Anthony - 2P = 221/446, 49.6%; 3P = 56/166, 33.7%; FT = 168/238, 70.6%; 2PA/FGA = 72.9%
Kevin Durant - 2P = 224/444, 50.5%; 3P = 82/203, 40.4%; FT = 209/256, 81.6%; 2PA/FGA = 68.6%
Michael Beasley - 2P = 271/482, 56.2%; 3P = 36/95, 37.9%; FT = 216/279, 77.4%; 2PA/FGA = 83.5%
Parker, Anthony, and Durant were all very close in 2P% and volume, while Beasley was the clear standout here. Opponents at the college level were simply overmatched against him inside the arc, as he had the highest volume, highest efficiency and highest free throw rate of this group. Durant was the best 3-point shooter in both volume and efficiency, while the other three were all very close in this aspect. Parker doesn't stand out in any of these categories, but he also doesn't lag behind. There's something to be said for having competitive numbers with a group this good.
Rebounding (Off / Def)
Jabari Parker - OR% = 11.4; DR% = 23.1
Carmelo Anthony - OR% = 8.7; DR% = 18.6
Kevin Durant - OR% = 9.0; DR% = 24.1
Michael Beasley - OR% = 13.3; DR% = 29.9
Again, Beasley is the stand out here. Parker comes in slightly ahead of Durant for 2nd place, while Anthony lagged behind a little bit. Still, all of these guys were very good rebounders at the college level.
Assists / Turnovers
Jabari Parker - AST% = 8.6; TO% = 14.5; Ratio = 0.593
Carmelo Anthony - AST% = 11.9; TO% = 11.9; Ratio = 1.000
Kevin Durant - AST% = 8.6; TO% = 14.2; Ratio = 0.606
Michael Beasley - AST% = 9.3; TO% = 15.1; Ratio = 0.616
Carmelo is actually the standout here (ironic considering his reputation as a ball hog). The other three are very close, and all are above average in TO%.
Blocks / Steals
Jabari Parker - BLK% = 4.0; STL% = 2.1
Carmelo Anthony - BLK% = 2.3; STL% = 2.4
Kevin Durant - BLK% = 5.5; STL% = 3.0
Michael Beasley - BLK% = 5.4; STL% = 2.2
Durant and Beasley stood out in blocks, while 'Melo lagged behind. All were very solid in STL%, but once again Durant was the best.
That's all I've got. Make of it what you will. But I think it's clear from these numbers that Parker fits right in with his group of prospects. Durant and Beasley had better numbers overall (against slightly weaker competition), but Parker is right there with 'Melo in nearly every category. Chad Ford rated Kevin Durant as the #5 prospect since the year 2000, Carmelo Anthony as #7, Jabari Parker as #12, and Michael Beasley as #17. Make no mistake, Beasley was an excellent prospect. He hasn't panned out in the NBA, but that can be at least partly attributed to off-court issues, as well as a less perimeter-oriented game than the other prospects.
Where will Parker end up ranking among this group? Will he be the next Michael Beasley, fizzling out at the NBA level? Can he follow a similar career arc as Carmelo Anthony, a perennial top-3 scorer in the NBA? Could he possibly reach the heights of Kevin Durant, the reigning MVP?
Personally, the way he reminds me of 'Melo, both on paper and on film, is almost uncanny. His game is incredibly polished for a 19-year old player. If only he came to Syracuse he probably would have won a national title too, haha. (Seriously, think of all the parallels there would be. They both would have had a heady freshman PG in G-Mac/Tyler Ennis, an athletic sophomore PF that excelled at rebounding/defense in Hakim Warrick/Jerami Grant. It could have happened!! LOL).
He may not be the best fit, and our roster would certainly require some re-tooling if we drafted him, but he projects to be a darn good player. If we draft him we could realistically have a top-3 offense in his sophomore year depending on the pieces we put around him and Kyrie. The Spurs just won the NBA Championship behind a great offense and an above-average defense, so an offense-oriented model certainly can work.
So what do you think? Beasley, 'Melo or Durant? Or somewhere in between? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.