May 2012 -
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Spreading the Floor
Ersan Ilyasova had an excellent 2011-12 season. No NBA player before
matched his combination of three-point accuracy and rebounding.
Ilyasova became the first player in NBA history to shoot 45 percent from
three-point range and grab 10+ rebounds per 40 minutes. In fact, his
12.8 rebounds per 40 minutes far surpassed the next closest 45 percent
three-point shooter: Mike Miller had 7.4 in 2009-10.
Ilyasova’s long-range accuracy opened up the interior for his Milwaukee
teammates. The Bucks attempted 23.2 free throws per 48 minutes with Ilyasova on the court compared to just 19.4 when he sat out (see chart).
The Bucks weren’t the same team when Ilyasova went to the bench. They
averaged 101.6 points per 48 minutes when he was on the court versus
95.9 when he sat.
Teams that struggle with spot-up shot attempts and on the boards would
benefit from Ilyasova’s skill set. The Nets, Kings, Wizards and Bobcats
all need help in these two areas.
Ilyasova also still has plenty of upside. He posted a 20.55 Hollinger
PER in his age-24 season. The list of active players who did this at the
same age and approximate height is impressive: Al Horford, Josh Smith,
Andrei Kirilenko and Emeka Okafor.
Looking Back and
Once a player emerges like Ryan Anderson, it’s easy to look back and see
how he did it. The challenge is identifying the traits and statistics of
a potential breakout player in advance.
Unlike most successful long-range shooters, Anderson posted excellent
rebound numbers as well. In the past five NBA Drafts, he joined Kevin
Durant as the only players to surpass 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2 made
three-pointers per 40 minutes in their final college season. Durant was
over a year younger and a far better all-around talent, but Anderson’s
strong showing in these categories boded well for his future.
Among the top 100 prospects in this draft, only one reached these
levels. Nonetheless, Jae Crowder hasn’t gotten much draft buzz. Despite
his ability to knock down outside shots, Crowder doesn’t remind anybody
of Anderson. Rather than finding specific comps to project prospects,
it’s revealing to find characteristics that match an NBA player or
Crowder combines his shooting skill with rugged defense. His 3.05 steals
per 40 minutes led all 2012 draft prospects. In the past five drafts,
only Iman Shumpert (3.43) and Mario Chalmers (3.32) surpassed him.
Although he projects as a three, Crowder can defend bigs. That and his
outside shooting will make him a force in smaller lineups. His stats in
many categories more closely resemble Shane Battier than Anderson.
Especially since Crowder will be younger on draft night than Battier
was, his numbers stack up well. He’s one of the youngest seniors – even
younger than some juniors – in the upcoming draft.
Crowder is also a great finisher down low and on the break. He hit over
60 percent of his two-point shot attempts in 2011-12. Only one other
prospect (Jeremy Lamb) made 50+ threes and shot over 60 percent inside
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All players used in this newsletter and our sample charts are selected at
random. None of the information comes from actual projects for agents. All projects and conversations