College basketball teams play very different schedules. Some of the small conference guys put up pretty good numbers. This can make it difficult to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison across players. One way to account for this is to look at each player's statistics against only teams ranked in the top 100 of the RPI. Results below the jump.
I collected data for the nine shooting guard prospects I like best (or, in one case, hate most). I present a range of statistics, many of which are tied to the SG evaluation criteria established by Ed Weiland (who saw Jeremy Lin coming) here:
1. Hit over 50 percent on 2-pointers (2PT%);
2. Score at least 20 points per 40 minutes (P40);
3. Combined rebounds, steals, and blocks per 40 minutes of at least 7.0 (RSB40);
4. At least 1.3 steals per 40 minutes (STL40);
5. Assist to turnover ratio of at least 0.8 (A/TO); and
6. An ability to hit 3-pointers at an NBA level (I show 3PT%, but you need to judge for yourself).
The table below shows what I found. "# Criteria" is the number of Weiland's first five criteria that the player meets. In the case of all but A/TO, higher is better even after the threshold is reached. "Avg Rank" is the average RPI rank of the teams that the player played against (again, only looking at top-100 opponents). "MIN" is the number of minutes the player played against top-100 teams.
|Player||Team||MIN||Avg Rank||P40||2PT%||A/TO||RSB40||3PT%||STL40||TS%||# Criteria|
|Johnson||UC Santa Barbara||303||37.8||21.7||0.475||0.96||9.0||0.368||0.7||0.520||3|
So what do I conclude? I started looking for the best prospect who could be available at 18, not just the best SG prospect. It turns out that it's the same player. I would pick Will Barton ahead of Beal, J. Lamb, Waiters, and Ross. Yeah, I just wrote that. Prove me wrong.
This exercise improved my opinion of Ross a bit, and made me think a little less of Waiters. (See this comment for a more detailed look at how his performance suffered against good competition.) Also, Marcus Denmon is going to give some lucky team great value in the second round. Oh yeah, and Austin Rivers still sucks. He's even worse against better teams, as it turns out.