Bucks Diary

Friday, June 13, 2008

What to make of Joe Alexander

The winds seem to be whispering Joe Alexander (like the mixed Jimi Hendrix reference?). On the two top draft sites (draftexpress and nbadraft.net) Joe Alexander is now considered the choice for your Milwaukee Bucks. (although on NBA.com, the consensus pick is Kevin Love!!)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote how much I admired the guy, and how I would be satisfied if he were in fact the choice. But I'm a little hedgy right now. Let me explain.

The Case for Alexander

My endorsement of Alexander was based on a few factors. For one, his collegiate Win Score production was pretty good, especially last year. Two, his "standing reach" of 8'10'' was outstanding for a small forward prospect. Three, he's known as a hustler with a great attitude. Four, his strength and speed were off the charts, each being tops among all prospects, as I recall.

That is the case for Alexander.

Now for the warning signs that Alexander may not be a player after all.

The Case against Alexander

1. Win Score Mirage
My optimistic Win Score analysis was based on the generic collegiate productivity information then available to me. Subsequently I read Erich Doerr's outstanding predraft post, which broke each prospect down according to competition. The breakdown was not flattering to Alexander. Basically, Alexander played his best against the worst competition. He was just average when the competition stepped up.

2. Uneven collegiate record
Another warning sign is his uneven college productivity. He was not very productive at all his sophomore season. Unless it somehow can be explained by injury or what have you, that is not a good sign. Beware of the one year wonder they always say.

3. Shooting Woes?
As a perimeter player, we need to be concerned with Alexander's shooting range and accuracy on the jumpshot. There might be reason to worry. One marker I like to use for judging "pure" shooting ability is a player's free throw percentage. It turns out to be a pretty good benchmark. This season Alexander's free throw percentage was an excellent 81.2%, but, strangely enough, he was in the low 60s the prior two seasons. How do you explain that? And his abysmal percentages from the collegiate 3 line don't bode well either. His three year average from behind the very makeable arc was a paltry 26.8%. Partly as a result, his effective shooting percentage last season was an awful 47.7%. I don't like that.

4. Naturally Super Human?
I'm only going to suggest this gently, because I don't like dealing in innuendo, but I also don't like be blind to the obvious... so accept this for what it is -- sheer speculation. Something fishy is going on with this guy. He goes from a guy who was completely off the map to a guy who is now a lottery pick. He shows major improvement between his sophomore and junior years, in between which time he put on 20 pounds of muscle. Friends, I know you hear about such muscle growth all the time, but it doesn't happen without assistance. You simply don't put on 20 pounds through regular weight training, especially if you are mixing in regular basketball training as I have to assume he was. Its just a pure physical impossibility. Then a couple of weeks ago down in Orlando he displayed ungodly strength (his bench reps calculated to a one press max of nearly 560 pounds) and shocking world class speed. Maybe I'm way out of bounds here, and if I am I'll certainly withdraw the comment in a heartbeat, but the signs are hard to ignore.

Win Contribution Analysis of JA's college games
I did the analysis below after I wrote what was above. I tried to pick West Virginia's toughest opponents from last season. Alexander didn't actually do poorly overall. It seems he ran either cold or super hot against the best competition. He sure finished his career out nicely. Overall, his WC translates roughly into that of an average NBA contributor. That is actually better than I expected for sure. For those who don't know Win Contribution, here's my best primer yet on the subject. Negative Win Contributions are in red (because its hard to see the "-" and "+" signs).

1. Tennessee...-0.480
2. Auburn...+1.009
3. Oklahoma...-1.527
4. Notre Dame...+0.183
5. Marquette...+0.262
6. Louisville...-0.234
7. Syracuse...-0.075
8. Georgetown...-0.737
9. Villanova...-0.212
10. Connecticut...+1.765
11. Arizona...-0.200
12. Duke...-0.100
13. Xavier...+1.098

Win Contribution Average: +0.132
speculative NBA translation: +0.088


Update on Erich Doerr
I was in contact with Erich Doerr about becoming Bucks Diary draft guru. Unfortunately he has already signed an exclusive deal with Draftexpress.com. All you can do is try, Antlerheads... but it surprises me he would sign with Draftexpress. Their "athleticism" uber alles philosophy is almost diametrically opposed to his analytical, evidentiary approach. As I told him, I hope he doesn't "go native". We have enough "He's a freakish athlete" draft profiles on the web already. His statistical approach is unique and I think quite valuable.


At June 14, 2008 at 12:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he's definitely not on steroids. he lifts and trains like a mad man, and last summer his diet was jut right. huggins made it a requirement that all of his players bulk up. and alexander took that to heart.

as far as his foul shooting goes. his sophomore season Beilein did not know how to use him. he basically made him a jump shooter/three shooter. therefore he didn't even try to get to the foul line that much because he wasn't driving that much.

he'll be a good NBA player...i just wish he would stay at WVU another year and prove he can do what he did late this past season consistently.

At June 14, 2008 at 7:26 AM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

I linked this one over at realgm....we've got a good discussion going on the performance enhancers.

It is a legitimate discussion point IMO. If I were Hammond and Skiles, the possibility of this would cause me to pass, given that Alexander is not an out of this world shooter.

At June 15, 2008 at 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you knew Joe Alexander, you would never even say the word steroids and his name in the same sentence!!! Joe doesn't even eat potato chips!Nothing goes into his body that isn't good for him. I am his best friend- grew up together and I visit him at WVU. He works out a lot and eats an A LOT- it's almost unreal. He is just learning the game, and hence his suddden emergence on the BBall radar.

At June 15, 2008 at 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alexander on steroids is a complete joke. The strength can be contributed to one thing, hard work. Under coach Belein, Alexander struggled at times and said that it was in part due to the fact that they werent encouraged to lift during the season. Huggins has a rigorous lifting schedule and that combined with the fact that Joe is working out or playing basketball 20 hours a day is the only reason he has catapulted his strength and abilities....The man slept in the basketball arena for 4 days straight at one point. Its not impossible to put on 20 pounds when you only weighed 150 before the gain.

At June 16, 2008 at 6:25 PM, Blogger Erich said...

Thanks for the mention. I do want to clarify that I merely verbally agreed to post the bulk of my content on DraftExpress (an excellent site!). I did not sign anything and am not financially compensated for my contributions.

I did drop by for a quick feel on a Buck's fan's interest in trading Redd and an in-depth opinion on Joe Alexander, both of which were thoroughly covered! Nice work.

Keep an eye on DraftExpress for further draft coverage in the same statistical style.

At June 27, 2008 at 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Discussion. I'm not a body builder, but ask anybody that is really knowledgeable on muscle gain subject. While you can definitely develope and add muscle over time..........hear me on this.........IT IS SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE TO PUT ON 20-25 POUNDS IN A SUMMER. Home boy went from skinny to HULK HOGAN in 2 months. Its simply not scientificly possible. Ask anybody at the gym that lifts. Its really hard to add muscle. Only can do it over long time with hard work. It sure doesn't happen over a summer, no matter how much you lift. Over a year sure......not during a school break.....wise up folks!

At September 15, 2008 at 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am easily the most reliable source in this forum. Trust me. To the person who posted the previous comment. Ever heard the song "Go Getta" by Young Jeezy? Check it out, and take it to heart. Listen to it while hypnotically reading adidas' campaign slogan "Impossible is Nothing." Some people in this world hear comments like "IT IS SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE TO PUT ON 20-25 POUNDS IN A SUMMER," and respond "F*** you, pay me." For the record, Joe put on 25 pounds of muscle not in one whole summer, but in half a summer (75 days), while decreasing his body fat percentage at the same time, without illegal performance enhancers (he was drug tested twice his junior year). Impossible?..."wise up folks."



At September 15, 2008 at 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any of you are really interested in how Joe did this, look up his strength trainer at WVU at the time; Jeff Giosi. Giosi was a national champion body builder, and from some of the stories I've heard, was just insane and able to get ridiculous results out of his guys.

At November 16, 2008 at 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he's so SEXY

At January 4, 2009 at 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

joe alexander is a fag. look at his player pic on the bucks website. way to waste a draft pick, he'll be working at abercrombie and fitch in 2 years.

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