The NBA is the toughest professional league to break into. With just 12 players per roster X 30 teams that’s 360 roster spots to go around. There are almost that many teams in Division 1 basketball, and when you factor in the highschoolers, players from Europe, and non-D1 college players, it’s tough to go from college to the NBA.
Yet, there are still a lot of NBA players who don’t bring anything to the table. JJ Redick can’t create his own shot, and can’t defend. Given that the Orlando Magic aren’t going to run their offense for Redick, he’s a pretty useless NBA player. Ditto for Adam Morrison, who couldn’t guard the chair he sits on every night.
I was going through some old boxscores on Statsheet, one of the best websites ever, last night trying to come up with a topic for a post today, and I noticed that there was a player who shut down the guy he was guarding, often first round and lottery picks, almost every time out, yet never got any credit for it (that I could find via Google anyways).
Said player wasn’t a great offensive player – he had a 49.4 TS% as a Frosh and a 57.8 TS% as a senior, so at least he improved – and as a point guard he was both high assists and high turnovers. But in my mind there’s no way you can convince me that he couldn’t be on the court the same time as Steve Nash in Phoenix, knowing that Nash doesn’t play defense and Player X wouldn’t be required to do much offensively.
I don’t want to say who player X is, since I don’t want name recognition to take over. If I say it is a former Florida player, Mr. Tomas Verde will post 5,000 comments saying he should be in the NBA. If I say it is a former UNC player, a certain someone (besides this author of course) would say no freakin way.
So, let’s highlight how some of his opponents did after the jump:
Sophomore season v. Mustafa Shakur
Shakur didn’t end up being a good pro, but I figured we would take some baby steps. For the season, Shakur had a 53.6 TS%, a 27.2 Assist rate, and a 22.8% TO rate. Shakur did shoot the ball well in this game, in part from being much better from the line, but his assist rate was a paltry 9% and his TO rate was 29%.
Sophomore season v. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo is one of the best PGs in the NBA right now. He had an assist rate over 30% and a TO rate under 20% that year. He also shot 54% from two.
However, player X held him to just 2-7 (28.5%) from 2, and had just 3 assists compared to 2 Turnovers.
Sophomore season v. Daniel Gibson
Player X didn’t matchup with Gibson exclusively, but still managed to hold him to a 33 TS%, while forcing him into a 21 TO% with just a 20% assist rate.
Junior season v. Taurean Green
Green, a Senior who would point guard Florida to a national championship that year, would post a 58 TS%, a TO rate of 16%, and an assist rate of just 5%.
Junior season v. DJ Augustin
Augustin would be a lottery pick of the Bobcats, but in this game posted just a 2-6 from 2 and an 0-2 from three. He also had a TO rate of 39%, although he did have an assist rate of 26%
Senior season v. OJ Mayo
Mayo was the 4th overall pick, and had some great games his rookie year. But on this night he shot just 6-21, and only a 14% Assist rate.
Senior season v. Jerrod Bayless
Bayless is getting some run with the Blazers right now. In this game he had an assist rate of 17% and a TO rate of 42%
Senior season v. DJ Augustin
The future lottery pick this time went just 1-13 from the field, although he did have a better assist rate than TO rate.
Senior season v. Scottie Reynolds
Reynolds nearly got Villanova to the final four last year, but on this day went just 4-13, with 0 assists and 4 turnovers
Senior season v. Ty Lawson
We’ll finish off with this one. Lawson was considered the best point guard in college basketball the last two seasons. Player X held him to a 31 eFG, a 13% assist rate, and a 20% assist rate, all while having a good game himself on the other end of the floor.
Basically this is just a long winded version of saying that Player X absolutely should be in the NBA.
Feel free to add any thoughts.