Flynn vs Telfair vs Lawson vs Randolph

I engaged in a heated debate with my buddy (and fellow season ticket holder) during last night's game.

It was a welcome distraction from the travesty on the court, but got a little out of control in the volume and emotion of it.

Despite booth of us booing the selection of Flynn on draft night, he is now a Flynn Apologist.

He's been mocking my support of Sebastian Telfair all year long.  I told him last night that Telfair has played better than Flynn this year, which he again mocked.

When I criticize Flynn, he claims I'm blindly following Stop N Pop's holy crusade against him.

I brought up how Ty Lawson is better than Flynn, and he tried to argue that it wasn't true because "Lawson isn't even a starter."

Finally, he argued that my evaluation of Flynn is invalid since I also want to trade a late first round pick for Anthony Randolph, which he finds ridiculous.

I asked him for some statistical evidence that backs up his belief in the quality of Flynn's play.  He said he'd get back to me.

While I wait for that, I thought I'd put together my own analysis.  Let's break it down.

Here is a quick, simple comparison of 2010/11 stats for the three point guards, per 36 minutes.

Apologies in advance for any formatting issues.

Lawson 23 DEN NBA 55 6 1316 5.8 11.6 .501 1.1 2.9 .390 2.9 4.0 .724 1.0 2.4 3.4 5.6 1.2 0.1 2.3 2.4 15.6
Flynn 21 MIN NBA 30 8 591 4.2 11.3 .373 1.1 3.7 .295 1.1 1.3 .818 0.4 2.4 2.7 6.1 1.2 0.1 4.3 2.1 10.6
Telfair 25 MIN NBA 34 8 676 5.1 12.1 .423 1.5 3.9 .378 2.1 2.9 .709 0.6 1.9 2.4 5.7 1.2 0.2 3.4 3.2 13.8

Takeaways: Lawson has by far the best field goal percentage, followed by Telfair, then Flynn.

Jonny is the better free throw shooter, by a considerable margin.

Lawson has the best average from 3, although Telfair is close behind.  Flynn is shooting almost 10 percentage points worse than Lawson this season.

Assists are fairly even.

Flynn is averaging 2 more turnovers/36m than Lawson, almost 1 more than Telfair.

Those are the simple stats.  What do the advanced stats tell us?

Here's Flynn the past 2 years.

2009-10 20 MIN NBA 81 2339 13.0 .511 .457 1.1 8.1 4.6 24.7 1.8 0.1 17.9 24.2 97 114 -0.6 0.7 0.1 0.002
2010-11 21 MIN NBA 30 591 6.5 .447 .422 1.1 7.5 4.2 25.4 1.6 0.3 26.7 19.0 84 114 -1.1 0.1 -0.9 -0.077
Career NBA 111 2930 11.7 .501 .452 1.1 8.0 4.5 24.9 1.7 0.1 19.4 23.2 95 114 -1.6 0.8 -0.9 -0.014

Lawson the past 2 years.

2009-10 22 DEN NBA 65 1316 16.5 .600 .559 3.7 7.1 5.4 24.2 1.8 0.1 15.4 18.0 118 111 2.9 0.9 3.7 0.136
2010-11 23 DEN NBA 55 1316 16.5 .585 .549 3.4 7.4 5.5 24.8 1.7 0.1 14.8 19.5 115 113 2.7 0.5 3.2 0.116
Career NBA 120 2632 16.5 .592 .554 3.6 7.3 5.4 24.5 1.8 0.1 15.1 18.7 116 112 5.5 1.3 6.9 0.126

Telfair this year/career.


2010-11 25 MIN NBA 34 676 10.7 .516 .485 1.8 5.9 3.8 24.7 1.6 0.3 20.1 19.7 99 114 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.013
Career NBA 426 9912 10.6 .477 .433 1.3 6.9 4.0 26.3 1.7 0.4 16.8 19.3 98 113 -0.7 3.5 2.7 0.013

The simplest measure of the three players is PER, where Lawson dominates, finishing well ahead of last year's pre-injury Jonny, and a full 10 points ahead of him this year.  Flynn PER this year is bottom of the barrel stuff.  Not Eddy Curry bad, but still.  Telfair is ahead of him by 4 points this year.

Lawson's true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage have been far above Flynn's both years, as well as his total rebound percentage.

Flynn did compare to Lawson in assist percentage, but his turnover percentage was two points higher last year, and is 12 points higher this year.  Killer.

Lawson defensive rating is slightly better, and he absolutely destroys Flynn in the win shares department.

I rest my case on Lawson vs Flynn.

Has Telfair been better this year than Flynn?  He's 4 points higher in PER, has a better TS% and eFG%, significantly lower TOV%, has a much better offensive rating and unlike Flynn, is in the positive in terms of win shares.

I think I can rest my case on Flynn vs Telfair.

Finally, we come to Anthony Randolph.  Is he worth a late first round pick?  After all, he's been buried on Mike D'Antoni's bench.  Doesn't that mean he sucks?  Well, we have a prime example starting at center of a serviceable NBA player being buried on a D'Antoni bench.  Coach Mike is Coach Mike, and if he doesn't like you, or thinks you don't fit his very specific system, you will not get burn.

So, what was Anthony Randolph before he moved to New York, and how does that compare to another recent Wolves late first round pick, as well as Flynn?

As a rookie, he had a PER of 16.9, increasing to 18.7 in his second year before suffering an injury after 33 games.

His win shares have been 1.6 and 1.5, with WS/48 of 0.069 and 0.098.

Compare that to Flynn's PER of 13.0 and 6.5, as well as win shares of 0.1 and -0.9, with WS/48 of 0.002 and -0.077.


A comparison with recent late first round picks by the Wolves of Wayne Ellington and Lazar Hayward?

Wayne (who I actually like) has PERs of 9.6 and 9.8, win shares of 0.4 and 0.3 and WS/48 of 0.014 and 0.020.  Those numbers are actually pretty decent for a late first round pick, but nowhere near what Randolph did in his first 2 years.

In his first year, with limited minutes on an awful team, Hayward has a PER of 7.4, win share of 0.0 and a WS/48 of -0.003.  Not so good.

Anthony Randolph versus Flynn/a late first round pick by David Kahn?

I rest my case.

Here is my final thought.  Throw all the basic and advanced stats aside.  Here is my favorite Flynn anecdote.

The Wolves are playing the Denver Nuggets.  Kevin Love is 5 for 5 from 3 point range.  He runs pick and roll with Jonny, who draws Love's defender, along with his own towards the basket, leaving Love wide open.

What play does Jonny make?  Throw it back to the wide open, red hot 3 point shooter?  No.  Jonny chose to dribble further into traffic, jump in the air, realize his shot would be blocked, then wildly throw the ball away for a turnover.

That, in my mind, is the snapshot of Jonny Flynn.  He fails to make the play that any player with an even below average basketball IQ should make.  I have a below average basketball IQ, and I saw the right decision, right away.  As soon as Love went to make the screen, I thought "I hope they go with Jonny so he can kick it back out for another 3."  Nope.

But, what about you?  Are you with me?  Or, am I a crazed, lone disciple of Stop N Pop following him blindly down the Jonny Flynn Disparagement Trail?

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