Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anthony Bennett: Worst debut ever for #1 overall pick?



The Cavaliers shocked the world when they selected Anthony Bennett with the first pick in the 2013 NBA draft.  Unlike most #1 picks, Bennett was not expected to make an impact right away and it will be an uphill battle for him to get more minutes behind power forward Tristan Thompson.  That in itself exemplifies the weakness of this class.

Bennett shot 0-5 from the field in his pro debut, scoring only 2 points and collecting 5 rebounds in 15 minutes (while #2 overall Victor Oladipo has played far better thus far).  This left me wondering: "how many #1 overall picks played this poorly in their first NBA game?"  Is this an omen that he's the next Kwame Brown, or is there hope to cling on to?

Using Game Score, found on Basketball-Reference...

Game Score; the formula is PTS + 0.4 * FG - 0.7 * FGA - 0.4*(FTA - FT) + 0.7 * ORB + 0.3 * DRB + STL + 0.7 *AST + 0.7 * BLK - 0.4 * PF - TOV. Game Score was created by John Hollinger to give a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game. The scale is similar to that of points scored, (40 is an outstanding performance, 10 is an average performance, etc.).

Excellent (20-25 GS)
24.7 LeBron James: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals, 42 minutes (12-20 FG)
23.2 David Robinson: 23 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, 34 minutes (6-11 FG)
22.3 Allen Iverson: 30 points, 6 assists, 37 minutes (12-19 FG)
20.6 Blake Griffin: 20 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 39 minutes (8-14 FG)
20.0 Anthony Davis: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 29 minutes (6-12 FG)

It should surprise no one that the King tops this list.   The hype for LeBron was off the charts, and he delivered in memorable fashion in his first NBA game.  The top four players on this list are superstars, so this bodes well for Anthony Davis.  Not just anyone can walk into the NBA and drop 20 points in their first game with a bulls-eye on their chest.

Above average (10-15 GS)
15.0 Chris Webber: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 34 minutes (5-12 FG)
13.6 Andrew Bogut: 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 37 minutes (6-9 FG)
13.5 Dwight Howard: 10 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, 4 blocks, 38 minutes (6-11 FG)
11.7 Tim Duncan: 15 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers, 35 minutes (6-9 FG)
11.4 Elton Brand: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 35 minutes (3-11 FG)
11.2 Derrick Rose: 11 points, 9 assists, 3 steals, 32 minutes (3-9 FG)
11.1 Larry Johnson: 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 26 minutes (4-8 FG)
10.6 Joe Smith: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 26 minutes (5-12 FG)
10.4 Derrick Coleman: 11 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 25 minutes (5-13 FG)

Solid all-around games for these top rookies that most of them would build upon.  Joe Smith is the only player here who never made an All-NBA team.

Below average (5-10 GS)
9.4 Michael Olowokandi: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 22 minutes (5-9 FG)
8.9 Patrick Ewing: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 44 minutes (8-21 FG)
8.3 Shaquille O'Neal: 12 points, 18 rebounds, 3 blocks, 8 turnovers, 6 fouls, 32 minutes (4-8 FG)
8.1 John Wall: 14 points, 9 assists, 3 steals, 35 minutes (6-19 FG)
7.5 Danny Manning: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 27 minutes (6-10 FG)
6.3 Brad Daugherty: 8 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 37 minutes (3-8 FG)

Michael Olowokandi proved that a solid debut is not an indicator of future success (it was all downhill from there for Kandi-man).  Shaq's debut is probably the most interesting we've seen as he produced a ton of stats on opening night, both good and bad (obviously, he got it together).

Poor (0-5 GS)
3.6 Kenyon Martin: 10 points, 7 rebounds (4-16 FG)
3.4 Kyrie Irving: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 26 minutes (2-12 FG)
3.4 Pervis Ellison: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 13 minutes (2-4 FG)
1.8 Kwame Brown: 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, 12 minutes (1-2 FG)
0.5 Andrea Bargnani: 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, 9 minutes (1-3 FG)
0.3 Glenn Robinson: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 13 minutes (3-5 FG)

While Kyrie Irving had an awful debuts, we find the majority of draft busts here at the bottom of the list.  It logically stands that a player who was bad in their first game is more likely to be bad in games 2, 3, 4, etc.

Abominable (Negative GS)
-0.8 Anthony Bennett: 2 points, 5 rebounds, 15 minutes (0-5 FG)
-3.0 Greg Oden: 0 points, 5 rebounds, 13 minutes (0-4 FG)
-3.3 Yao Ming: 0 points, 2 rebounds, 11 minutes (0-1 FG)

Bennett is one of only three #1 overall picks to have a negative impact in their first NBA game, and beats out Greg Oden for the worst shooting performance by a #1 overall pick in the lottery era. Yao Ming ranks as the worst pro debut, which gives Bennett and Cavs fans some hope. However, Yao was up to speed and playing at a high level in about two weeks.  Greg Oden has had the worst career in NBA history for a #1 overall pick and it's not exactly encouraging to find Bennett's name next to his.

It's still too early to write-off Bennett, but given NBA history, it's looking a bit grim.

2 comments:

Philip Leow said...

I like how your writing this NBA article keeps it fresh, change of pace just from the 2k side of things. Great article, great comparisons, and it leaves me wondering how well Michael Carter Williams did using this ranking system. I know he wasn't first pick overall but he had quite an entertaining performance.

Rashidi said...

34.7 Michael Carter-Williams: 22-7-12, 9 steals, 36 minutes, (6-10 FG)

5.0 Victor Oladipo: 12-3-2, 23 minutes (4-11 FG)


MCW running away with Rookie of the Year one game in!