The last three years have seen two #2 overall picks and 1 #1 overall pick come from the Big 12. Which player was the best of those three? And who is next?
Over the past three years the Big 12 has been probably the best conference in college basketball. They’ve seen a national champion, and at least one Elite 8 team each of the last three years. They’ve also had three of the great individual talents in college basketball. In 2007, Kevin Durant took Texas to a share of the conference title and a #2 pick in the NBA Draft. The year after Michael Beasley had perhaps an even better season statistically, and led K State to only one of three wins over Kansas. The year after that Blake Griffin had a slew of double doubles and led Oklahoma to the Elite 8. But which was best? A statistical rundown.
We know Offensive Rating for team (pts per 100 possesions.) This is just the individualized version.
Some context: Each player had decent 2nd bananas, DJ Augustin, Bill Walker and Willie Warren, so you cant penalize or give anyone a bonus there. 2009 was a terrible year for upper echelons teams, so perhaps give Griffin a bit of a penalty for doing it against worse competition than Beasley and Durant.
The formula for eFG% is (FG+.5*3P)/FGA. This adjusts for the fact that a three pointer is worth more than a two pointer.
Here Griffin was just so good inside (Made 66% of his twos) and got a ton of dunks which gives him a huge edge here. Durant and Beasley both played outside more and shot more jumpshots. Durant took over 200 three pointers and Beasley took almost 100.
True shooting percentage is a derivative of eFG that takes into account field goals, 3 pointers and free throws. The formula is PTS/ (2* (FGA + .44*FTA))
Here Beasley draws a little closer to Griffin because he shot 77% from the line whereas Griffin shot just 59%. Durant, for his part, shot 81%
Really all 3 of their numbers are impressive when you look at the fact that Durant and Beasley were mainly perimeter players. Although, they did have the advantage of being boxed out by smaller guys.
Griffin was the 3rd best defensive rebounder last year, Beasley was the 6th in 2008, and Durant was 27th in 2007.
It’s really close, but to me Beasley was the best of the three players, at least offensively. As it’s been shown in his brief NBA career, the guy just doesn’t play defense. But, seeing as neither Durant nor Griffin are defensive stalwarts themselves, I think Beasley is the best of the one and done era, which is odd since he probably will be the worst of the three in the NBA.