By the Numbers: The 2012 Forward Crop

By the Numbers: The 2012 Forward Crop
Jun 21, 2012, 09:24 am
In our third analysis of basic statistics, we take a look at the top 14 forwards in the 2011 NBA draft. This group may be shallow, but it is heavy on boom or bust types.

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To gain a better understanding of the statistics used, visit the glossary by Noah Libby-Haines. Interested in making your own statistical comparisons? You can do so here.

Point Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA25
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA22.4
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA20.7
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA20.7
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA20
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA20
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA19.8
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA19.7
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA17.3
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA17.1
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA16.9
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA16.8
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA16.8
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE15.5

This stat tells us plainly how often these forwards put points on the board, adjusting for minutes played and pace, which levels the playing field as best as we can without taking competition-level, individual team roles, and teammates into consideration. This is a good place to start with this group of players, as we immediately see the cream rise to the top.

Mike Scott is the top scorer in this group, despite lacking the buzz some of his peers have received. After losing his senior season to injury, Scott returned to lead Virginia to a NCAA Tournament berth. A powerfully built interior player who can score in the post and knock down shots from the midrange consistently, Scott's versatility and efficiency made him one of the more underrated scorers in the country last season, due to the extremely slow pace his team played at. When adjusting for minutes and pace, his stats look quite a bit better.

Joining him in the top-5 are John Shurna and Kevin Jones. Shurna's prolific shooting made him one of the more dangerous offensive players in the NCAA, while Jones did almost as much damage crashing the glass as he did from the perimeter.

Mitchell Watt had a breakout senior year next at Buffalo, and Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder turned in a memorable season under Buzz Williams.

We find most of the potential first rounders in this group sitting fairly low on these rankings. Perry Jones and Quincy Miller posted nearly identical scoring rates at Baylor, while Moe Harkless, Royce White, and Terrence Jones all sit in the bottom 5 here. Harkless's ability to develop a reliable jump shot will play a role in his scoring rate in the NBA, while White and Jones are among the more intriguing players who could be available in the second half of the first round on draft day.

Tornike Shengelia takes the bottom spot here, but considering he was playing in the best league in the world outside of the NBA, the fact that he doesn't fall that much farther behind the pack is impressive.

Three Point Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA7.3
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA5.8
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA4.4
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA4
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA3
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE2.9
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA2.7
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA1.8
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA1.4
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA1.3
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA1.2
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA0.9
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA0.6
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA0.4

This stat tells us a lot about the role these prospects played for their team, as well as the confidence they had in their perimeter shooting ability.

John Shurna takes the top spot here by a wide margin. The prolific scoring forward has been one of the best shooters in college basketball for some time now, and while his mechanics are not exactly orthodox, his shooting motion is quick and consistent.

Jae Crowder grabs the two-spot. Though Crowder is maligned at times for his size, he showed development as a perimeter shoot this season and is a tireless worker, leaving some room for optimism as he makes the transition to the next level.

Draymond Green and Kevin Jones sit in the top-5, and while the pair have very different body types, both players utilized their ability to score from the inside and outside for the respective teams.

Quincy Miller ranks at the top of these rankings among first round prospects. Moe Harkless sits just behind him, while Perry Jones and Terrence Jones find themselves near the back of the back. Both players showed some potential shooting the ball, but neither did so at a highly productive level.

Royce White ranks last here, and the development of his jump shot will be worth keeping an eye on during the early part of his career. For a player who handles the ball and passes the way White does, a reliable jump shot would be an interesting tool. Similar things can be said about Perry Jones, who played a lot more inside the arc than outside it last season, but is hoping to become more perimeter oriented according to what he's said in pre-draft interviews.

Three Point Attempts Per Field Goal Attempt

John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA0.44
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA0.41
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA0.28
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA0.25
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE0.23
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA0.22
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA0.19
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA0.14
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA0.1
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA0.1
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA0.09
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA0.05
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA0.04
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA0.04

This stat examines how heavily a player relied on the 3-ball to score points, which is a good indicator of the role these prospects played last season, but is also an indirect gauge of how efficiently each of them got to the rim as well. Players that attempt a large proportion of their shots from beyond the arc may have some deficiencies in terms of size, ball-handling ability, athleticism, aggressiveness, or shot-selection. Or they simply could be outstanding shooters.

John Shurna and Jae Crowder take the top spots in this metric once again, with no player other than Tornike Shengelia making a significant move one way or another. This class does not feature many prolific shooting big men or forwards on the whole, and teams that might be looking for a pick and pop four-man in the draft may look to free agency to find a fit.

Free Throw Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA8.6
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA7.6
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA7.5
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA7.1
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA6.4
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA5.7
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA5.7
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA5.3
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA5
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA5
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA4.7
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE4.6
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA4.2
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA4

Free throws attempted per-40 minutes is a good statistic to measure the aggressiveness of a player getting to the rim, as well as his athleticism and ball-handling skills. In some ways, it provides an inverse look at the three-point stats we just looked at.

Eric Griffin takes the top spot here. The Campbell product is extremely raw, both in terms of skill level and physical strength, but he is among the more unique small school prospects in this draft. Flashing the ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter, attack off the dribble, and score in the post, Griffin did a very good job using his length and athleticism to draw contact at the rim.

Royce White and Mike Scott take the next two spots. Both strong and compact interior players, the pair did a nice job carving out position and using their strength to earn trips to the line down low.

Terrence Jones and Draymond Green actually post the same mark in the middle of the pack here despite being radically different roles, while Perry Jones finished last in this metric. One of the biggest enigmas of this draft, Jones struggled to get to the line last season, something he surely needs to improve on to take advantage of his physical tools and become a more efficient scorer at the next level.

Free Throw Attempts Per Possession

Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA0.5
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA0.41
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA0.38
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA0.37
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA0.35
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA0.35
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA0.34
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA0.31
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA0.3
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA0.29
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE0.28
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA0.27
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA0.26
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA0.25

Even though Free Throws Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted tells us how much a player attacks in bulk, it doesn't show how much they attack relative to their usage rate. This stat tells that story.

Shooting one free throw for every two possessions used, Eric Griffin easily takes the top spot here. JaMychal Green makes an appearance in the top-5, and the athletic Alabama forward is a very good athlete who has improved his frame since his freshman year.

Terrence Jones climbs the board from the last table. He may not have gotten to the line especially frequently, but he did draw trips to the charity stripe at a fine rate relative to his usage.

Quincy Miller and Moe Harkless rank near the middle of this list. Both players impressed as freshman scoring from the inside and out, but neither had the ball-handling ability to get to the line at a high rate when attacking from the perimeter last season.

Perry Jones joins John Shurna and Kevin Jones at the bottom of this list.

True Shooting Percentage

Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA63%
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA63%
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA62%
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA61%
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA59%
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA59%
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA58%
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA55%
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA55%
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA55%
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA55%
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA54%
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE52%
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA51%

True Shooting Percentage is adjusted to account for what a player adds to their efficiency and team's point total with free throw attempts and 3-pointers. A player who makes 4/10 3-pointers obviously contributes the same amount of points as a player who made 6/10 2-pointers—which doesn't show up in the traditional field goal percentage stat. This stat attempts to adjust for that.

Riding his ability to get to the line to the top spot here, Eric Griffin ties Mike Scott for the top spot in there rankings. Every prospect in these rankings who shot about 58% was a senior last season, and there's obviously something to be said for experience and polish when it comes to being an efficient forward in the college game.

Among underclassman, Royce White takes the top spot with Moe Harkless bringing up the rear. Both players need to improve their perimeter shooting ability, but White's usage on the block gives him a decided edge of the St. John's product.

Perry Jones, Quincy Miller, and Terrence Jones rank right on par with Chris Singleton and Tobias Harris, two first rounders for last season's draft, when it comes to their true shooting numbers.

Assists Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA6.3
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA4.6
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA3.1
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA2.9
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA2.5
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA2.4
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA2.3
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA1.9
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE1.9
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA1.8
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA1.6
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA1.6
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA1.6
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA1.3

This metric tells us a bit about the versatility and court vision of this group of prospects. There aren't any try point-forwards in this group, but there are a few competent passers. Any astute college basketball fan in the country could tell you Royce White would lead this group in assists should they get to choose a name from our list. White is not just an interior threat, but a gifted passer with a great feel for using his dribble to move the defense before making simple passes to find the open man. Dribbling into defenders to set impromptu screens before handing the ball off to a teammate, the onus will be on the team who drafts White to make the most of his unique abilities.

Draymond Green has a somewhat similar impact for Michigan State, but was not the creative force White was. Green does a great job facing up, seeing the floor, and finding cutters. John Shurna joins him in the top-5, doing a nice job moving the ball in Northwestern's offense from the outside-in.

The top passer among first round prospects is Quincy Miller. Miller's length and ability get into the mid-post helped him find creases to deliver the ball to Perry Jones and Quincy Acy when he attacked the rim last year.

Perry Jones, Moe Harkless, and Kevin Jones rank among the least prolific passers in this group.

Turnovers Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA4.8
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA3.9
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA3.7
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA3.4
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA3.3
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE3.1
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA2.9
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA2.9
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA2.7
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA2.2
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA2.2
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA1.8
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA1.4
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA1.3

Royce White takes the top spot here, which should come as no surprise considering his role and the amount of time he spent with the ball in his hands last season. Draymond Green follows suit, turning the ball over almost as often as he dished out an assist.

John Shurna is the interesting case in this group. Despite ranking third in passing the former Wildcat ranks third last in turnovers. His spot-up heavy role works in his favor here.

Kevin Jones and Jae Crowder managed to cough the ball up less frequently than the rest of this group despite playing against quality competition on a nightly basis in the Big East and being asked to play sizable roles for their respective teams.

Shurna, Crowder, White, and Green are the only forwards with assist to turnover ratios above 1.0, as the majority of the top players at this position rank do not impress as shot creators on the whole.

Rebounds Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA13
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA11.6
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA11.5
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA11.3
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA10.9
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA10.6
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA9.8
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA9.7
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA9.6
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA9.5
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA9.4
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE8.1
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA8
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA6

Rebounding is an important skill for forwards. Their ability to support their bigmen helps win the possession battle and put their team in better position to win the game.

Draymond Green and Royce White are both the best passers in this group, and the best rebounders on paper. Green fairs especially well here on the defensive glass, while Kevin Jones made his biggest impact on the offensive boards among players in the top-5.

Terrence Jones and Perry Jones both rank in the middle of the pack, and while both have the tools to be tremendous rebounds, both struggled to show consistent motors.

Quincy Miller ranks last here among first round prospects. It will be interesting to see where Miller finds minutes at the next level, and his rebounding is not necessarily poor for a small forward.

John Shurna takes the last spot here, lacking the leaping ability and athleticism to consistently make an impact on the boards.

Steals Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA2.9
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA1.8
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA1.8
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA1.7
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA1.5
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA1.4
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA1.2
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA1.1
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA1.1
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA1
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA0.9
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA0.8
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA0.7
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE0.6

A forwards' ability to get in the passing lanes often helps his team quicken the pace of the game and generate easy shots without forcing the issue. Though there's a million ways to create a turnover, this stat paints a broad picture of what a prospect brings to the table both physically in terms of quickness and length and mentally in terms of intensity and anticipation.

Jae Crowder is among the more physical, intense defenders in this group, and is the only standout here. On par with Chris Singleton last year, Crowder may get knocked for his lack of size at his position, but few players match his motor and toughness.

Terrence Jones and Moe Harkless emerge in the top-5 with Draymond Green and Royce White, though none sits significantly far ahead of the rest of the pack.

Unsurprisingly, we find Tornike Shengelia at the bottom of our list. The Georgia native has blended in across the board by the numbers.

Blocks Per-40 Pace Adjusted

Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA3
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA2.8
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA2.4
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA2.1
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA1.9
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA1.5
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA1.2
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA1.2
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA1.1
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA1.1
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA1
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA0.8
Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA0.7
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE0.2

This is yet another stat that can provide some insight into the physical traits that these forward use defensively.

Eric Griffin and Mitchell Watt show well here. Both need to add weight to their respective frames, but both share length and nice explosiveness for players their height.

Terrence Jones ranks first among the top forward prospects, and considering his excellent blend of physical tools, it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to put things together defensively at the next level.

Perry Jones ranks shockingly low here, though some of that certainly stems from playing in a zone-heavy system, while Mike Scott and Tornike Shengelia take the bottom two spots, lacking the dynamic athleticism to block shots as a high level.

Player Efficiency Rating

Mike ScottVirginiaNCAA30.7
Jae CrowderMarquetteNCAA28.9
Kevin JonesWest VirginiaNCAA28.6
John ShurnaNorthwesternNCAA27.6
Eric GriffinCampbellNCAA26.5
Mitchell WattBuffaloNCAA26.5
Draymond GreenMichigan StateNCAA26.1
JaMychal GreenAlabamaNCAA25.2
Terrence JonesKentuckyNCAA24.3
Royce WhiteIowa StateNCAA22.9
Perry Jones IIIBaylorNCAA21.2
Moe HarklessSt. John'sNCAA21
Quincy MillerBaylorNCAA19.3
Tornike ShengeliaCharleroiEUROLEAGUE12.2

Another one of John Hollinger's gems, PER is a total measure of what a player does on the floor based on more than a dozen weighted calculations. It isn't wise to compare players across different leagues, though, since an average score of 15 (the median) would be a totally different figure in another league, with its own averages. The NCAA is especially tricky considering the varying levels of competition we find in the different conferences.

Mike Scott takes the top spot, with Jae Crowder and Kevin Jones not too far behind. All three players got it done at the rim as scorers and on the glass as rebounders last season and could likely hear their names called in the second round on draft night. John Shurna and Eric Griffin could not be much different stylistically, but they round out the top-5 nonetheless.

Clumped together at the bottom of our rankings, Terrence Jones, Royce White, Perry Jones, Moe Harkless, and Quincy Miller all possess at least one significant area of weaknesses that they will need to overcome at the next level. Each possesses massive upside, especially with where they are currently projected to be picked in the upcoming draft. Though this group of players is not terrible deep or exciting at the top, it will be perhaps the most interesting to watch develop in the coming year.

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