Bucks Diary

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Comparing the potential of Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley

Since the Bucks reside in the sweet spot for winning the lottery (I'm kidding... but doesn't it seem like the 7th or 8th place team always ends up winning?), who would they take if they had to choose between the consensus top pick candidates? ESPN's Chad Ford believes it would be Memphis PG Derrick Rose (the alternative, of course, is Kansas PF Michael Beasley).

Ford's logic: He believes new Bucks GM John Hammond would not pass on a "franchise" point guard if given the opportunity to choose one. He also believes the Bucks would not draft a power forward two years in a row.

Shouldn't let your past picks adjust your draft board

All right, before I evaluate the two prospects, let me say I hope John Hammond takes no account of the Bucks drafting history when making his selection.

If NBA draft history has taught us anything, it has taught us that passing on a better player because you just picked that position in a recent draft is one of the surest roads to regret. Look at recent Bucks history. Do you think the Bucks regret passing on Chris Paul and Deron Williams? Yet they never even considered drafting either point guard because they just spent a lottery pick on TJ Ford. Or how about the all-time classic example: Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. The Blazers passed on Jordan because they just drafted a player at Jordan's position (Clyde Drexler) the season before.

Rose vs. Beasley: Its a close call

Between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, who projects as the better professional player?

If you go strictly by college offensive Win Score, the answer is probably Michael Beasley. The average professional retention rate is around 63%. So Beasley's college performance projects to an NBA average Win Score of 14.7, which would be superlative. Rose's college performance, on the other hand, projects to about 6.4, which would be slightly below average for a point guard.

But two things make the 63% standard uncertain for these two prospects. One is Beasley's size. It indicates he might do worse. The other is Rose's position. It indicates he could do better.

In the few instances where players' college Win Scores drop way off of their college production, the player's size (meaning height and/or weight) relative to the average at the player's position is usually an issue. Specific to Beasley, his weight/height mix leaves him in the danger zone for a power forward, especially his weight (because his college numbers are so heavily dependent on his extraordinary collegiate rebounding). I've found that a big man's relative weight is an excellent predictor of his likely professional rebounding production, but that it can be overcome by extraordinary height (which Beasley does not possess).

Now, if you project Beasley at small forward, its a different story. His size for that position is ideal. (But would he be able to guard anybody there?) Either way, though, I don't see how Beasley can be expected to produce anything less than 56% of his college numbers, which would be a Win Score of about 12.1. That would be a Win Score over positional average of +2.1 at power forward and about +5.6 at small forward.

As for Rose, his numbers could be potentially greater than 63% of his college numbers. Point guards, once in a while, will outperform the 63% standard.

And if you look at analagous point guards, it seems Rose is almost likely to do better. My comparative choices are Deron Williams of Utah, Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks, and Baron Davis of the Golden State Warriors. All 3 players have similar size and playing styles to Rose.

If the professional results of those 3 are instructive, we can project Rose to produce 83% of his college Win Score, or 8.5. I say that because that's precisely what the three similar point guards have produced. Deron Williams college Win Score was 7.7. Thus far his NBA career Win Score is 6.1, which is roughly 83% of his college performance. Jason Kidd's college Win Score was 14.1, and his career NBA Win Score has been 11.8. Again, roughly 83% of his college performance. And Baron Davis' college Win Score was 9.1, and his NBA Win Score has been 7.1. That's 83% almost on the dot. Amazing, but true.

If that holds for Rose, then Rose will produce a +2.2 Win Score over position on the offensive end. Very good numbers.

Can't say about either player's defense, though

None of this, of course, takes into account defense. That analysis would be purely subjective. But from what I saw in the NCAA tournament, Rose seems to be the better defensive prospect of the two.


So, in short, if you are going for the home run, Michael Beasley would be the pick. If he hangs onto the normal amount of his college production, he will be a big time offensive producer. But his risks are greater, because of his size and his uncertain defensive adjustment.

If you want the surer thing, then, Rose is the pick. His size is excellent, and his defensive instincts indicate he will do fine on that end. Plus, if the history of similar point guards is instructive, he will also be an above average player on the offensive end (though probably not right away).


At May 14, 2008 at 7:48 AM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

All sports leagues are one of trends. With Chris Paul and Deron Williams dominating like they have the past two years, Rose will go #1 overall.

At May 14, 2008 at 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember when MKE passed up Paul Pierce because they already had Big Dog and Ray Allen? Then having Nellie steal Dirk for a fat, foul prone "low post scorer" Robert Traylor the gut punch I think he wanted to give Herb for forcing him out.

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