Point Guard Statistics Against Top-100 RPI Teams

Today I look at how point guards did against top-100 RPI teams. (See here for SGs and here for SFs.) This is widely regarded as a weak year for point guards, and the numbers reflect that. Damian Lillard of Weber State has been climbing the draft boards lately and looks like the top prospect. Let's see how he stacks up.

The first table shows the MDSD (explained here) and WS48 numbers for each prospect, calculated across all games. Based on this, Lillard clearly looks like the best of the group. Machado and Wroten have very good MDSD scores, but mediocre WS48 stats (which usually means the player is not an efficient scorer, but is good at other things).

Player Class School MDSD WS48
Lillard Jr Weber State 5.59 0.317
Marshall So UNC 0.96 0.190
Teague Fr Kentucky -1.42 0.122
Wroten Fr Washington 3.30 0.163
T. Taylor Sr Kansas 1.02 0.214
Brown Jr Texas 1.24 0.195
Machado Sr Iona 4.99 0.197
Holloway Sr Xavier 2.08 0.208
J. Taylor Sr Wisconsin 1.66 0.207
Ware Sr Long Beach 0.38 0.176

Now I show some statistics calculated against only top-100 RPI teams. As with other positions, I look at criteria established by Ed Weiland (here):

1. At least 18 points per 40 minutes (P40);

2. A 2-point FG% of at least 50 percent (2PT%);

3. "Some ability to hit a 3-pointer" (3PT%);

4. Assists per 40 minutes of at least 6 for juniors and seniors and at least 5 for freshman and sophomores (A40);

5. At least 1.3 steals per 40 minutes (STL40); and

6. At least 6.5 combined rebounds, steals, and blocks (RSB40).

"MIN" is the number of minutes played against top-100 teams; "Avg Rank" is the average RPI rank of those teams; and "# Criteria" is the number of Weiland's criteria that the player meets, excluding the 3PT% criterion.

Player MIN Avg Rank TS% P40 2PT% 3PT% A40 STL40 RSB40 A/TO # Criteria
Lillard 220 55.3 0.539 24.4 0.508 0.267 3.45 1.27 7.27 2.11 3
Marshall 636 31.1 0.549 10.6 0.524 0.298 9.94 1.01 4.59 2.93 2
Teague 774 37.3 0.477 11.9 0.419 0.300 5.63 0.72 3.77 1.68 1
Wroten 461 56.5 0.496 21.3 0.479 0.219 3.82 2.34 9.63 0.77 3
T. Taylor 824 25.8 0.568 20.1 0.509 0.376 5.63 1.60 5.05 1.23 3
Brown 590 23.0 0.539 24.1 0.433 0.373 3.93 0.95 4.68 1.21 1
Machado 327 66.8 0.624 17.0 0.485 0.500 10.76 1.71 5.75 2.20 2
Holloway 792 50.1 0.578 19.1 0.462 0.330 4.55 1.41 5.10 1.38 2
J. Taylor 794 34.3 0.557 17.0 0.435 0.358 4.03 1.06 5.19 2.16 0
Ware 359 36.0 0.531 21.6 0.424 0.347 4.68 0.89 3.90 1.27 2

The first thing to point out is that Damian Lillard played a ridiculously easy schedule. He had six games against top-100 teams. Three of them were against Montana. The other opponents were BYU, California, and St. Mary's. Despite this so-so "top" competition, Lillard's numbers took a hit compared to what he did against the rest of his schedule. The table below shows the differences. There is a very large drop in TS%, largely because his 3PT% went in the tank. We're talking about a pretty small sample here (12 for 45 on threes against top 100; 82 for 185 against over 100), so maybe this is a bit of a fluke. His 2PT% held up better as his competition improved.

Opp. Rank MIN Avg Rank TS% P40 2PT% 3PT% A40 STL40 RSB40 A/TO
Above 100 885 249.9 0.672 29.4 0.519 0.443 4.93 1.81 7.91 1.68
Top 100 220 55.3 0.539 24.4 0.508 0.267 3.45 1.27 7.27 2.11

Looking at the other PG prospects, no one jumps out as an obvious future star, or even NBA starter. Marshall's passing abilities have been compared to Rubio's, but so has his shooting. More worrying is that he has a poor reputation as a defender. Teague looks terrible, unless you think his statistics are really dragged down by the fact that he's a freshman and played on a loaded team (both of which are plausible theories, but they'd have to be pretty big effects to turn Teague into an attractive prospect). Wroten is a very intriguing prospect, and can put together an impressive highlight reel. Unfortunately, his blooper reel is just about as extensive and he can't shoot at all. (Watch the highlights and lowlights here.) Tyshawn Taylor has some decent stats, but his reputation for sloppiness is reflected in his low A/TO.

Scott Machado of Iona might be a decent second round prospect. Many of his numbers held up well against top-100 competition. His TS% was actually higher against top-100 teams (0.624 against them versus 0.607 against all others). A slightly closer look makes this seem like a bit of a fluke, as his 2PT% dropped from 0.562 against over-100 teams to 0.485 against top-100 teams, but his 3PT% went up from 0.366 to 0.500. I'll go out on a limb and guess that his 14 for 28 three-point shooting against top-100 teams isn't going to match his NBA career average (if he has an NBA career).

Teams needing help at point guard shouldn't expect a savior in this draft. Lillard may be a good scoring point in the mold of Stephen Curry, but the quality of his competition raises some doubts about him. If Marshall and Wroten can add to the skills they have, they could be good players. But it doesn't look like teams should expect much from this group.