Based on the group we're looking at here, we should not have too many problems drawing some conclusions about which of these players stand out in which areas. With only a couple of players from small conferences, two international prospects, and one D-League player, the point guard position has some interesting diversity, but remains fairly straightforward. Unfortunately, we can't include Dynamo Moscow's Alexey Shved in our analysis since we only have statistics for his limited minutes in the Euroleague with CSKA.
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
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||25.1|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||20.3|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||19.4|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||13.3|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||12.8|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||9.6|
This stat shows us how well these point guards put the ball in the basket, 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 the point guard crop, as it helps us understand the role that the player played on his team, and a little bit about his mentality as a playmaker or scorer.
Each of the top three scorers here are seniors hailing from big conferences. Downey and Reynolds are both highly skilled undersized scorers, probably more combo guards, while Vasquez's ability to hit tough shots allowed him to carry Maryland for stretches.
Jerome Randle checks in next on our list, showing that he can also score in addition to being an outstanding passer, while former Southern Miss player Jeremy Wise sits in fifth. Wise presents an especially interesting case, since he played in a League with a radically different playing style than any other association represented in our rankings.
Amongst the top prospects, besides Vasquez, John Wall, Sherron Collins and Armon Johnson all rank right around the middle of the pack. Wall and Collins do not benefit from playing for deep, talented teams here, and Nevada featured a number of other solid options and a very high usage player in Luke Babbitt that push Johnson below average. Eric Bledsoe brings up the rear, which isn't a shock considering he was never more than a third or fourth option for Kentucky after the first few weeks of the season, and has quite a bit of work to do on his ball-handling and off the dribble shooting ability.
Three Point Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||7.3|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||7.2|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||4.2|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||4.2|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||2.4|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||1.8|
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.
Nemanja Gordic brought the ball up the floor for Buducnost, but often wound up off the ball as their sets developed, where he used his excellent size and solid range to knock down spot up shots from the perimeter. Three pointers comprised a large portion of his shots. The sheer volume of shots Devan Downey attempted placed him well here, and we see all three of Vasquez, Randle, and Reynolds not far behind. A.J. Slaughter rounds out the top-5 and was just outside of the top-5 in the scoring rankings as well. Obviously, the point guards that led the scoring rankings, benefitted from the quantity of three-pointers they attempts.
The top point guards in this group can be found near the bottom of the rankings. Though Eric Bledsoe proved to be a capable spot up shooter, his shooting ability wasn't featured in John Calipari's dribble-drive offense. John Wall and Armon Johnson were both able to get to the rim consistently last season, and both have room to improve their jump shots. Neither player needed to attempt may three-pointers to make their mark on games in the NCAA.
Three Point Attempts Per Field Goal Attempt
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||0.52|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||0.5|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||0.47|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||0.34|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||0.18|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||0.13|
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 an indirect gauge of how well each of them got to the rim as well. Players from whom a large proportion of their shots come 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. Every player should be judged individually in this regard.
Based on our three-point attempt per-40 minute rankings, it isn't surprising to see Nemanja Gordic atop this list. He played for a slow-paced team and took a lot of deep jumpers, despite not being a big-time scorer. Stefan Markovic ranks just behind him, but was much lower on our second table, showing that he wasn't attempting too many shots on the whole. A.J. Slaughter makes another appearance in the top-5 with Jerome Randle and Tommy Mason-Griffin not too far behind. Both Mason-Griffin and Randle were limited by their size inside the paint, compensating with outside shots, of which they hit a very good percentage.
The bottom of our list looks the same, with John Wall and Armon Johnson shooting only a small portion of their shots from beyond the arc. Big point guards, Ben Uzoh and Mikhail Torrance place near the middle of the pack, proving capable of using their size to create looks on the interior and hunt down shots from the perimeter. Eric Bledsoe moves up a bit on these rankings from the last table, showing just how low his usage was. The difference in style between the top prospects in this group and those fighting for position in the second-round is intriguing.
Free Throw Attempts Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||6.7|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||6.4|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||5.8|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||5.2|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||4|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||2.9|
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.
Courtney Forston runs away with the top-spot in these rankings, using his blend of speed and quickness to aggressively attack the rim. Scottie Reynolds makes an appearance here, showing that his savvy in the lane allowed him to overcome his lack of elite quickness to create contact at the rim. Devan Downey and Jeremy Wise are two of the fastest players in this group, and sit in fourth and fifth respectively.
John Wall finally makes an appearance in the top-5. An unbelievable athlete, Wall was able to get to the rim very effectively, especially in transition. Once he learns how to operate at different speeds and drive equally well with both hands, he'll be a terror in the half-court as well.
Eric Bledsoe's low usage and poor ball-handling skills place him right around where you expect him to be on this list, and Sherron Collins and Jerome Randle are limited in this metric by the fact that they relied on their jump shots to score. Armon Johnson is the big surprise here, finishing third-to-last despite his outstanding physical tools. Clearly, he's not using his ability to get to the rim to create contact and get to the line, raising questions about his shot selection. Ishmael Smith is a similar casehe may be the fastest player in college basketball, but he almost never got to the free throw line, which really nullifies his strengths in that area. French point guard Thomas Heurtel on the other hand simply does not have the physical tools and must instead rely on his terrific smarts and shooting ability to get the job done in the much more competitive French league.
Free Throw Attempts Per Possession
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||0.4|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||0.36|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||0.35|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||0.34|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||0.28|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||0.19|
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.
For that reason, this table looks similar to the last one, with some significant differences. Stefan Markovic rises considerably, getting to the line efficiently when he looked to do something with the ball. Eric Bledsoe also moves up a few spots; while Devan Downey's incredibly high usage pushes him towards the back of the pack. Scottie Reynolds, Courtney Fortson, Jeremy Wise, and John Wall all remain right near the top of this list.
None of the major prospects make too big of a leap in either direction, indicating that they use a considerable amount of possessions, but aren't carrying their team's offense alone.
True Shooting Percentage
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||62%|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||57%|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||57%|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||52%|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||49%|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||45%|
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-pointerswhich doesn't show up in the traditional field goal percentage stat. This stat attempts to adjust for that.
No surprises here, we find the top three-point shooters near the top of our TS% rankings, along with the prospects that get to the line and generally score at a high rate. Scottie Reynolds, Jerome Randle, and Jeremy Wise comprise our top-three. Reynolds continues to rank highly in every offensive metric. He came through with a huge senior year, and it shows here. Matt Bouldin makes his first top-5 appearance here. His excellent feel for the game and decision-making allowed him to be highly efficient despite not shooting the ball as well as a senior as he did as a junior. Mikhail Torrance's size and ability to get to the rim helped him compensate for bouts of inconsistent shooting and place him fifth in this category.
Eric Bledsoe moves up quite a bit here from past tables. Although his role was limited, he had some extremely efficient games. John Wall finishes right behind him. Though they played radically different roles, the Kentucky products both rank above average here. Armon Johnson remains low on this list because of his inability to get to the line, while Devan Downey and Courtney Fortson rank below average. Lacking great height and always in attack mode, both players shot under 40% from the field despite ranking highly in some of the above metrics.
Assists Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||6.7|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||6.4|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||6.2|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||6|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||4.8|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||3.9|
The top playmaker in this group amongst college players is John Wall, which is something the Washington Wizards are surely excited about. Easily the most physically gifted player in this group, he matches his athletic profile with a great sense for how to find his teammates for easy baskets and an unselfish mentality. His teammate, Eric Bledsoe, lands on the other side of the spectrum, moving off the ball for obvious reasons. It will be intriguing to see how Bledsoe is able to overcome his lack of minutes as a primary ball-handler as a rookie.
In stark contrast to what we were seeing in the categories above, few of the elite scorers in this group rank very high on this list, with the notable exception of Greivis Vasquez. He and Courtney Fortson both got showed a knack for making tough passes look easy, but did so in addition to their roles as primary scorers. A seasoned European player despite his young age, Stefan Markovic used his size and decisiveness to rank as one of the top passers in the Eurocup, an impressive accomplishment for sure.
Even more impressive might be Thomas Heurtel's standing atop this category. He showed outstanding smarts and creativity in the latest EuroCamp, and his strong showing in the New Jersey group workout against a number of very good college players led him to stay in the draft. He could be an interesting prospect to draft and stash in the second round.
Armon Johnson also ranks fairly well here, just behind Jeremy Wise who continues to represent the NBADL well in these rankings.
Nemanja Gordic's role as a shooter for Buducnost, Scottie Reynolds' role as Villanova's main scoring threat, and Devan Downey's lack of point guard skills place each near the bottom of our rankings. All three of those prospects have faced the challenge of proving that they aren't undersized combo guards during the draft process. Jerome Randle doesn't fare particularly well either, but he managed to show his fantastic court vision and overall passing ability extremely well at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and in private workouts. This is a clear case of where not having anyone to pass to can make it difficult to garner assists.
Turnovers Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||3.9|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||3.3|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||3.2|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||3.2|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||3.1|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||3|
Based on what we saw on the last list, there are a few things that stand out on this one. Eric Bledsoe turned the ball over at an extremely high rate considering John Wall was spending the one running the show in Lexington. Courtney Fortson's reckless nature as a ball-handler is clear in this metric. He creates for others and gets to the line, but his low scoring efficiency and propensity to turn the ball over are concerning.
Jerome Randle, Devan Downey, Greivis Vasquez, Thomas Heurtel and Armon Johnson all play very different styles and were asked to do substantially different things for their teams last season, but they all turned the ball over at a similarly high rate.
Assist to Turnover Ratio
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||2.06|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||1.98|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||1.95|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||1.92|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||1.6|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||0.99|
Putting the last two tables together, we see that Stefan Markovic ranks as the most efficient facilitator in this group. His size allows him to pass over the defense and he doesn't make too many careless mistakes with the ball. Ben Uzoh falls in the same boat, albeit on a smaller scale. Ishmael Smith makes his first appearance in the top-5 after ranking in the bottom five of almost every scoring category we looked at. Jeremy Wise rounds out the top five, running the show capably for Bakersfield in the NBADL when asked to, but playing low-turnover basketball when looking to score as well.
John Wall, Jerome Randle, Eric Bledsoe, and Armon Johnson all rank below average by this metric. Each will need to shore up their decision-making on the next level to become more efficient. Bledsoe brings up the rear here, unsurprisingly, and seeing Devan Downey just above him is a clear indictment of both players as passers in their roles on the college level.
Pure Point Rating
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||3.05|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||2.53|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||2.38|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||2.17|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||0.4|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||-3.58|
Accounting for pace, and the fact that turnovers are statistically a bigger negative than assists are a positive, Jon Hollinger's pure point rating builds on the A/TO ratio that many of us use to gauge the efficiency of points guards. This stat backs up the things we learned above: the top prospects in our group still have a lot to learn.
Somewhat similar to the A/T ratio table, this chart differentiates pretty clearly between the combo guards in this group and the polished true point guards. Armon Johnson and John Wall don't rank highly, but are still developing at their position. Below that pair are the combo guards of this group with Sherron Collins being the notable exception. Tommy Mason-Griffin was maligned for his decision to declare for the draft, but he ranks above the three top prospects in this group as well. Ben Uzoh, Mikhail Torrance, Stefan Markovic, and Greivis Vasquez all have well above average size for point guards, and comprise four of the top six players in this category.
Rebounds Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||5.6|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||5|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||4.9|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||3.9|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||3.7|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||3.5|
Rebounding is an important aspect of the game, and while points guards are seldom asked to head down into the paint and make a presence in traffic, some players, like Rajon Rondo for example have the length, athleticism, toughness and timing to get their team extra possessions on a consistent basis. With that said, it's important to recognize that some of this stat is systematic.
Surprisingly, the 5'11 Courtney Fortson heads up this year's point guard crop in this category. The next four players on the list, Stefan Markovic, Ben Uzoh, Greivis Vasquez, and Matt Bouldin all have excellent size for ones, making Forston's mark that much more impressive. He clearly made a concerted effort to track down long rebounds and pursued the ball aggressively despite his small frame. Fortson's athletic ability makes him stand out amongst the other undersized scorers on our list, most of whom rank at or near the back of the pack.
Amongst this group, there's a substantial drop off after John Wall, who lands just above average. Eric Bledsoe heads up the second tier with Jeremy Wise and Armon Johnson placing not too far behind. Despite their athletic tools, both Wall and Bledsoe had the disadvantage of playing next to a dominant rebounder in DeMarcus Cousins, which clearly limits them here.
Steals Per-40 Minutes Pace Adjusted
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||3.1|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||2.5|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||2.1|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||1.8|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||1.7|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||1.6|
A point guard's ability to apply ball pressure and get in the passing lanes often helps his team quicken the pace of the game 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.
It isn't too surprising to see Downey at the top of this list. Despite his size, he's one of the quickest players in this class. Stefan Markovic lands in second, using his size and length to his advantage defensively. John Wall and Scottie Reynolds are completely different athletes from a physical standpoint, but both produced turnovers at a solid rate.
On the other end of the spectrum, Jerome Randle and Armon Johnson were the only players to not eclipse one steal per-40 minutes pace adjusted. Johnson has few excuses, as he has the physical tools to be exponentially more effectively. Two of the less dynamic athletes in this class, Nemanja Gordic and Tommy Mason-Griffin, also land in the bottom-5, showing how hard it is for players lacking great height, length or athleticism to be stat-stuffing defenders.
Blocks Per-40 Pace Adjusted
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||0.6|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||0.6|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||0.4|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||0.2|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||0.1|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||0|
This is yet another stat that can provide some insight into the physical traits that these shooting guards use defensively.
Though he doesn't produce many steals, the size of Ben Uzoh makes him the top shot blocker in this group. He's got great size, a superb wingspan and is a terrific athlete on top of that, which is why many feel that he has considerable upside to continue to develop. No player past Uzoh truly stands out, though John Wall, Ishmael Smith, and Jeremy Wise all fare pretty well considering their height. It is not at all shocking to see Jerome Randle, Devan Downey, Thomas Heurtel and Tommy Mason-Griffin blocking 0 shots on average considering their collective lack of height and length.
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||99.9|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||73.9|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||72.1|
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||71|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||70.5|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||66.6|
This chart sheds light on a bit of extra research we did in preparation for the D-League Showcase when we put together a time-series graph showing the average number of possessions per-48 minutes that teams use by League over the past handful of seasons. The NBADL doesn't play quite as fast as it did a few years ago, but it remains the quickest paced League that we carry statistics for. In contrast, the Adriatic League is on average the slowest European competition.
Jeremy Wise's Bakersfield Jam played at a near 100 possession per-game pace, some 26 possessions faster than Stefan Markovic's Hemofarm squad on average. Obviously, the extra 8 minutes of game play in the NBADL account for much of that difference. Amongst NCAA players, we find Arkansas amongst the fastest teams, while SEC counterpart brings up the rear, some 7 possessions per-game slower. John Calipari's squad falls a bit closer to Arkansas, but isn't as fast as a handful of other programs.
Player Efficiency Rating
|Devan Downey||South Carolina||NCAA||23.3|
|A.J. Slaughter||Western Kentucky||NCAA||21.2|
|Jeremy Wise||Bakersfield Jam||DLEAGUE||18.9|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm STADA||ADRIATIC||15.9|
|Ishmael Smith||Wake Forest||NCAA||15.2|
|Stefan Markovic||Hemofarm Stada||EUROCUP||11.8|
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.
Greivis Vasquez has the highest PER on our list, with Scottie Reynolds, Devan Downey, Mikhail Torrance, and Ben Uzoh rounding out the top-5. John Wall sits just outside of the top-5, while Armon Johnson falls around average and Eric Bledsoe finishes almost last. Despite his play-making, Stefan Markovic's lack of scoring really doesn't help him here, and reminds us that while he's a very capable point guard, he's not a natural scorer or a dominant player.
Unlike some of the other positions in this draft, we can see that the top prospects in this group don't stand out in many metrics. The importance of guard play on the college level makes stars out of numerous prospects, but their ability to dominate the NCAA by no means guarantees that they will see much, if any interest from the NBA.