Draft Express has an interesting statistical comparison up on its site that delves into the Win Shares of the top prospects in the draft. As is the case with nearly each and every statistical measure of the past season, Michael Beasley comes out on top (by wide margins in most cases, and with even better numbers than Kevin Durant), but the 2nd best performer is someone the Wolves have been paying more attention to of late:
Purely on the numbers, Love makes a solid case as the top 2008 draft prospect. While Beasley sports a higher 10.9 PAWS/40, Love bests him when either adjusting for pace or competition.
Also, as described in the Wages of Wins, there are diminishing returns in basketball. In other words, having many good players on a team can understate the statistical quality of an individual player. This means that if Michael Beasley went to Kansas rather than Kansas State, his PAWS/40 would likely not have been as high.
Given this information, Kevin Love looks even better in comparison, as UCLA is loaded with projected NBA talent, and Kansas State is devoid of it.
Will Kevin Love become a better player than Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley? The question is certainly intriguing, but given these players projected draft value, Kevin Love seems to be quite underrated and certainly a draft value whenever he comes off the board.
Long time readers of Hoopus will recognize the Love/Beasley comparisons:
Player 1 is Michael Beasley. Player 2 is Mr. Love. Both are tremendously young players with size that puts them in between legit NBA positions. Comparing their stats, there's not too many numbers that put one player, name removed, over the other.
Before looking at the numbers, my initial thought would be that if there were large differences between the two players, the difference would mostly speak in favor to Beasley's overall superiority. While there are some stats that do speak to this gap (Beasley shouldered the load on 1/3 of his team's possessions compared to Love's 1/4 load), Love did a number of things much better than the big fella from K-State.
First, Love's ORtg is off the charts good. While he doesn't have the raw numbers of Beasley, Love's eFG, FTRate, and TORate all speak to the fact that he was undeniably efficient with the ball when he got his hands on it. His OReb% is especially notable; by grabbing the amount of oreb he did (15.2% compared to 13.3 for Beasley), Love made the most of his time on the offensive end of the court on a level every bit as impressive as a guy who racked up a record amount of double-doubles for a freshman. As far as college performance goes, you'd be hard pressed to say that Beasley was in another league than Love.
Will Love's game transfer to the NBA? Will he be able to bring his tremendous efficiency to the Association? Whatever the answers to these questions may be, when you look at the body of work that Love put up in his freshman year and compare it to what Rose and Beasley accomplished, it's pretty damn hard to say that he doesn't belong in the conversation for who should be the Wolves' top pick...especially when you consider that Love measured out with essentially the same numbers as Al Horford. I guess the question to ask yourself in regards to Love is this: Would Al Horford be the 3rd pick in this year's draft and would the Wolves take him if he were available? If you answer yes to these questions, then it's pretty hard to give Love the cold shoulder.