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January 29, 2009

More Rookie Similarity

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 3:20 am

In the follow-up to today’s column picking rosters for the Rookie Challenge, I’ll take a look at similarity scores for some other rookies who did not crack my roster. This list is not definitive. I looked at players I considered interesting and cut a few without noteworthy comparable players.

Michael Beasley, Miami
While Beasley did not make my team, he is on the actual rookie roster–and it’s a shame. Kevin Love was picked three spots after Beasley, has played basically the same amount of minutes and has been more productive in every aspect of the game save creating shots. I don’t see a strong argument to take Beasley over Love, but scoring average (13.2 ppg vs. 8.8) and talent triumphed.

That being said, the slow start to Beasley’s career, as I considered last week, is not a terribly bad thing. His comps are still OK, just more of the fringe All-Star variety (Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Antoine Walker are the top two) than superstars. (For the record, none of Erik Spoelstra‘s four comparisons made the list.)

Joe Alexander, Milwaukee
Alexander’s low minutes total makes similarity an inherently challenging project. Of course, that Alexander has played so little tells us something in and of itself, and his top 10 comps feature a disturbing number of journeymen. Oddly, the success stories (Orlando Wooldridge, Robert Horry) tend to be power forwards, though Horry did come into the league as a three. Is Alexander’s future as a floor-spacing four?

D.J. Augustin, Charlotte
Led by Deron Williams (don’t expect quite that big a leap in year two), Augustin’s group is pretty good. The disturbing note is that Raymond Felton of all people shows up as second in similarity.

Jason Thompson, Sacramento
I’ve liked what I’ve seen of Thompson as a rookie; SCHOENE is unimpressed, demanding better immediate production from a four-year college player. His similar players are remarkably underwhelming. The group is led by Donald Hodge, a Temple product who was surprisingly decent during his rookie year in Dallas. The rest of the group features a lot of centers, many of whom never developed a whole heck of a lot.

Anthony Randolph, Golden State
I was intrigued by seeing Randolph’s results, and similarity confirms that his skillset is unique. Just four players score a similarity of higher than 90. Josh Smith leads the list in a case where most similar is really least dissimilar. Even removing the age requirement does not yield a lot of close matches, though it’s worth noting that it offers up a pair of LSU products (Stromile Swift and Tyrus Thomas). Just what is in the water in Baton Rouge?

Marreese Speights, Philadelphia
Speights was the toughest cut from my rookie squad, and his list of similar players confirms a bright future, including standouts like Shawn Kemp, Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire. LaMarcus Aldridge scores as most similar.

Courtney Lee, Orlando
A couple of really good sixth men on Lee’s list–Aaron McKie and James Posey. Morris Peterson represents another reasonable career expectation. Lee should be useful for a while without ever being a standout.

Nicolas Batum, Portland
Even though Batum’s production has not been outstanding this season, players who see so much action at age 20 have turned out pretty good. Hence Batum’s list of comparables includes some pretty good players. Joe Johnson comes out as easily the most similar player, which would suit the Blazers just fine, I suspect.

Mario Chalmers, Miami
Generally speaking, similarity scores are tilted somewhat towards more recent players. This isn’t intentional; it just seems to come out that way. Not so for Chalmers; just two of his top 10 comps debuted after 1990. Overall, the list isn’t as impressive as you might expect given the large role Chalmers has played as a rookie. He looks statistically like a relatively finished product.

DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers
On the strength of Jordan’s phenomenal rebounding and shot-blocking in limited PT, there are but two players who score as remotely similar: Andris Biedrins and Tyson Chandler. Hmm. . .the Clippers might have something on their hands here.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee
Grant Long comes out as a near-perfect match, which makes some sense. Long was a little bulkier and not quite the athlete, but maybe that’s me remembering the vintage Long and not the earlier model (hey, I was seven when Long was a rookie). Generally, the comps underscore the notion that Mbah a Moute can be a very useful defensive specialist for the Bucks.

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