FanPost

Missing out on Wiggins may be a good thing

Long time since i last posted and good to be back. Personally I am quite happy at the 3 and 10 picks, as I think it gives the Sixers tons of options to trade up, take the best available player, and even (gasp) trade down to say pick 5 with Utah and pick up a bounty of picks in the process (my personal hope). However, the first thing that needs to be done is to impartially look at the big four in this draft (really only 3 as I can't translate Exum's stats).

PER OFRT DFRT Diff WS/40 Off % WS Def_RTG
Joel Embiid 28.2 116.6 90.9 25.7 0.213 53% 0.10023529
Jabari Parker 28.4 115 99.3 15.7 0.205 65% 0.07081818
Andrew Wiggins 21.4 116.1 102.8 13.3 0.17 65% 0.05897959

I'll go through each of these stats in turn as they reference the freshman year of each of these players in college basketball. PER is obvious, as it is the formula highlighted by Hollinger and used on ESPN where you can clearly see Embiid and Parker are a cut ahead of Wiggins. OFRT (offensive rating) and DFRT (defensive Rating) are kind of like plus minus stats for college. These aren't adjusted, but as you can see Embiid has a huge impact on both the offensive and defensive end whereas both Parker and Wiggins were more limited to the defensive end with Embiid by far having the most overall impact when he is on the floor. The last advanced stat is win shares, and again in this area you see both Embiid and Parker having much greater impact than Wiggins (I used a minutes adjusted version to equalize the fact that Embiid played less of the season than the other two players). What I was especially curious about is each players defense as Wiggins is rumored to be stronger on defense than Parker, and thus I looked at the percentage of their value that is derived from offense. What you see is that Embiid gets about half his value from defense (makes sense with all the blocks) whereas both Parker and Wiggins add much more value on offense proportional to their defensive contributions. When you factor this back out you can get the amount of value that they drove last season specific to defense each minute, and here comes the shocker. Jabari Parker actually outperformed Wiggins on a per minute basis on the defensive end in addition to drastically outperforming him on the offensive end.

So the question then becomes why? If Wiggins is supposed to be an excellent athlete and capable defender why hasn't he shown that in the 35 games he played in Kansas up to this point? The answer appears to be that he is too raw, and as he gets less raw then he will be more of a superstar. So let's then compare him to the other really "raw" players in the draft, Gordon, Vonleh, and Levine.

Name PER OFRT DFRT Diff WS/40 Off % WS Def_RTG
Aaron Gordon 20.4 108.9 88.6 20.3 0.183 39% 0.11183333
Noah Vonleh 22.2 113 91.7 21.3 0.182 44% 0.10111111
Andrew Wiggins 21.4 116.1 102.8 13.3 0.17 65% 0.05897959
Zach Levine 14.6 109.1 104.8 4.3 0.111 56% 0.04884

What we see first of all is that Zach Levine shouldn't be in the draft. He needs another year or two of college ball to develop. Beyond that, we can see that again Gordon and Vonleh outperform Wiggins overall and especially on defense as both Vonleh's and Gordon's defensive reputations are justified. Wiggins has an advantage on offense, however on defense both other players significantly outperform Wiggins more than making up the difference. Gordon in fact is the highest rated defensive player in the top 10 with Smart, Vonleh, and Embiid all in the running, again all players with a reputation for strong defensive play. So if the stats are good and other unfinished players are making their presence felt on defense (including Embiid) why can't Wiggins?

Maybe the issue is with the rankings themselves, as maybe advanced rankings don't rank AWESOMENESS or vertical leap. So let's look at all of the people the Sixers could realistically take in the top 10 (US only), as maybe the rankings themselves are the issue (I averaged the college stats of those with more than 1 year of college).

Name PER OFRT DFRT Diff WS/40 Off % WS Def_RTG
Aaron Gordon 20.4 108.9 88.6 20.3 0.183 39% 0.11183333
Marcus Smart 25.4 109.8 89.1 20.7 0.208 51% 0.10210909
Noah Vonleh 22.2 113 91.7 21.3 0.182 44% 0.10111111
Joel Embiid 28.2 116.6 90.9 25.7 0.213 53% 0.10023529
Adreine Payne 22.9 114.3 91.7 22.6 0.193 53% 0.09142105
Julius Randle 24.5 115.9 97.8 18.1 0.191 59% 0.07769492
Jabari Parker 28.4 115 99.3 15.7 0.205 65% 0.07081818
Gary Harris 21 117 97.9 19.1 0.188 63% 0.07026263
Andrew Wiggins 21.4 116.1 102.8 13.3 0.17 65% 0.05897959
James Young 16.6 114.8 104.3 10.5 0.145 64% 0.05244681
Doug McDermott 30.2 123.3 103.4 19.9 0.235 80% 0.04630112
Nich Stauskas 20.3 126.9 106.1 20.8 0.175 79% 0.03726852

What you can see here is that for the most part the player's reputations line up with their performance on the court according to these rankings. Most of the top defensive players end up grading out as such, with Harris maybe a little underrated on the offensive end and overrated on the defensive end and Payne maybe not getting enough credit for his defense. McDermott and Stauskas do in fact suck on defense and Embiid, Vonleh, and Gordon are in fact defensive studs with Parker and Randle about average. Basically the advanced stats show what the scouts and our eyes see with one exception - Wiggins. Though one can argue that Kansas had a tough schedule and he didn't try really hard on defense all the time (not a great argument by the way) the truth remains he just wasn't that good on defense. Embiid was the defensive star of Kansas and Wiggins reputation as a plus defender is based on one good half against Jabari Parker as opposed to game in game out excellence.

To be clear I am not saying that Wiggins will be a bust or that if he is available at three he shouldn't be taken. What I am saying is that I do not want to see the Sixers trade up in the draft to get Wiggins and based upon his play to this point he has relatively high bust potential. Both Embiid and Parker (and Smart) have shown they can be a superstar at the collegiate level, something that Wiggins hasn't shown on defense or offense. Other superior athletes in college that are raw have at least shown their skills on the defensive end, something that Wiggins has also not done. Granted he is still very young and has a lot of potential, but his performance up to this point has not been top pick worthy on either offense or defense and makes me worry about his future. Having a great vertical leap is nice, but the best forecast on how you will play basketball in the future is how you've played in the past and in that regards Wiggins is nowhere near his competition. Personally I hope Wiggins isn't around when the Sixers draft, as though they almost have to take him if he is there I am not so sure that is a good thing.

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