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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

March Madness, Part I

I will post my NCAA Tournament picks later today or tomorrow, but first I want to compare two prominent NCAA players. Here are their senior year statistics (I inserted the asterisks to separate the numbers and make them more readable):

*********** FG% *** 3 Pt. FG% * FT %
Player 1 *** .462 *** .441 *** .842
Player 2 *** .477 *** .421 *** .877

Player 1 is 6-3, 197 pounds and averages 3.4 rpg and 1.9 apg; Player 2 is 6-4, 190 pounds and averages 2.0 rpg and 2.7 apg. Player 2 averages roughly six more FGA and three more FTA per game, which accounts for his higher scoring average (27.4 ppg versus 17.3 ppg) despite their similar shooting percentages. Does one of these players "look" like a significantly better NBA prospect?

Player 1 is Trajan Langdon, who the Cleveland Cavaliers selected with the 11th pick in the 1999 NBA draft. He averaged 5.4 ppg in three NBA seasons, never shooting better than .431 from the field. Langdon shot .910 from the free throw line in his NBA career; he was a great pure shooter, but he was unable to consistently get his shot off against NBA defenders (or guard NBA players at the other end of the court). Player 2 is J.J. Redick, who is a better college player than Langdon was and probably will be a better pro--but is he truly worthy of being a Lottery pick? Today on BetUs.com radio I talked about Redick's pro prospects. Someone compared Redick to former NBA All-Star Jeff Hornacek, but Hornacek was a better rebounder, passer and defender than Redick and at least as good a shooter--Hornacek averaged as much as 5.0 rpg in an NBA season, had another year in which he averaged 6.9 apg and had 11 straight NBA seasons with 100-plus steals. Hornacek's NBA career shooting numbers in each category (.496/.877/.403) are as good or better than the numbers Redick has put up against college players this year. I will be very interested to see how highly Redick is drafted and what kind of NBA player he turns out to be. I strongly suspect that he will be selected higher in the draft than he should be, particularly if he performs well in the NCAA Tournament.

posted by David Friedman @ 3:47 PM


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