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zn23
02-06-2016, 03:11 PM
We have identified five of the most overrated players in the game today, including a great shot-blocker, a double-double machine and an All-Star.


Hassan Whiteside: The NBA's best shot-blocker

Lamar Odom once criticized JaVale McGee's basketball IQ by saying, "The game is called basketball, not run and jump."

That quote comes to mind when watching Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

Whiteside blocks 3.9 shots per game, and for his career he is the NBA's most prolific shot-blocker in two decades. He's also fifth in the league in rebounding, ranking in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounds per game.

Impressive, right? It sounds as if he should be the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, at least.


Mouse over bars to see leaders

Not so fast. Here, the box score fails us.

When Whiteside sits, the Heat are better on defense. Over the past two seasons, as Whiteside has burst onto the scene in Miami, the Heat have allowed three points fewer per 100 possessions with Whiteside out of the game.

That's not all. The Heat grab more rebounds when he sits as well: 80 percent of defensive rebounds without Whiteside versus 76 percent with him.

Why? Whiteside apparently doesn't know -- or doesn't care -- that the opposing center is the biggest threat to grab offensive boards, and that the most important job of any center, after a shot goes into the air, is making sure that opponent has no clear path to the basket for a rebound.

Instead of boxing out, Whiteside appears to want the rebound for himself, according to my video review of Whiteside's play. This boosts his totals but costs his teammates rebounds. At the same time, opposing centers actually see a bump in their rebounding numbers against Whiteside, who is often ball-watching once a shot goes up.

It's a similar story with the block numbers. Whiteside seems more concerned about getting his individual block numbers up than keeping the opponent from scoring. Many times he will leave his man to "help" a teammate and rack up a potential block, even if his teammate is in good defensive position.

So what happens? If Whiteside doesn't get the blocked shot (and he usually doesn't), the now double-teamed player often finds Whiteside's man free under the basket. Or if the shot goes up, Whiteside is completely out of position to grab the rebound.

Either way, the opposing team has an easier time grabbing offensive boards, and with no rim protector in sight, has no trouble putting the ball immediately in the basket.

Whiteside's real plus-minus (RPM) tells part of the story, as he's currently ranked 31st among centers. And in truth, his RPM is likely to be even lower in the future, as the credit received for blocks and rebounds is overwhelmed by his negative on-off numbers.

Carmelo Anthony: The would-be superstar

Carmelo Anthony, voted to start in the All-Star Game for his ninth appearance, is a superstar to his many fans. For five years, he has been the face of the New York Knicks, the most valuable franchise in the NBA.


However, when we examine his impact on the game using RPM, we find that he is a good player but not among the league's upper crust.
ORIGINS OF RPM

Real plus-minus (RPM) was developed by Jeremias Engelmann, formerly of the Phoenix Suns, in consultation with Steve Ilardi, University of Kansas psychology professor and former NBA consultant.

It follows the development of adjusted plus-minus (APM) by several analysts and regularized adjusted plus-minus (RAPM) by Joe Sill.

RPM reflects enhancements to RAPM by Engelmann, among them the use of Bayesian priors, aging curves, score of the game and extensive out-of-sample testing to improve RPM's predictive accuracy.

Many people already know this because of Melo's limited postseason success. After winning a national title at Syracuse, Anthony has been unable to approach the same heights in the NBA. His teams have advanced past the first round only twice in his 10 playoff appearances with Denver and New York (the Nuggets made it to the Western Conference finals in 2009).

This season figures to be Melo's third straight outside the playoffs, even though the East has not been particularly strong in recent years. Of course, to a large degree this can be blamed on his weak supporting casts, but unfortunately Anthony has been unable to raise his team out of mediocrity or worse.

Of course, it's Anthony's scoring that has been elite, at 25.0 PPG for his career, good for fifth best during that time -- that includes a scoring title in 2012-13, the last season New York made the playoffs. However, his offensive efficiency isn't what it could be. He's a volume shooter who hasn't consistently made plays for others. On a positive note, his assist rate is at a career high this season, though still far below the level of his contemporary and friend LeBron James.

Ultimately it's his lack of defensive impact that holds him back. In his 13-year career, his teams have given up more points with him on the floor in 12 seasons.

All of that amounts to less impact than Melo's superstardom suggests. According to RPM, he has been a good player, not a great one. He has ranked among the league's best 15 players in RPM only once in 13 years.


Enes Kanter: Points, rebounds and one big problem

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed Enes Kanter to a four-year, $70 million max contract in the summer of 2015. Good move, right? After all, the 23-year-old big man had just put up big numbers, including 19 points and 11 rebounds per game on 57 percent field goal shooting with the Thunder.

For those who had tracked Kanter's defensive follies, however, the contract was anything but a bargain.

When Utah traded Kanter to OKC last February, the Jazz immediately became the NBA's best defensive team. Meanwhile, the Thunder saw their defensive efficiency decline markedly with Kanter on the floor. They allowed 112 points per 100 possessions when Kanter played, but only 103 points with him sitting.

This season, we have basically the same results: The Thunder allow 109 with Kanter and only 101 without him.

Despite being 6 feet 11, Kanter is no rim protector, posting one of the 10 worst block rates among players his size in the past six seasons.

All of this is reflected in his defensive RPM, which is second worst in the league among centers at -2.88.

On the whole, Kanter's RPM is -2.45, fourth worst among the league's 77 centers, which makes him more of a problem than a max player.

Brandon Knight: The one-way Sun

Last February, the Phoenix Suns traded a first-round draft pick belonging to the Los Angeles Lakers (and potentially very valuable) to acquire Brandon Knight, then gave him a $70 million contract extension. Knight and Eric Bledsoe formed what appeared to be a promising backcourt for Phoenix.

It hasn't quite worked out as planned this season. The Suns started 12-19 before losing Bledsoe for the rest of the season to a knee injury, and are 2-17 since. And Knight's play so far has been part of the problem, not part of the solution.

As the combo guard label suggests, Knight can play either point guard or shooting guard. He has seen some success as a scoring guard, averaging 19.7 points on reasonable shooting efficiency.

Unfortunately, as a playmaker he has struggled. He hasn't been able to get lobs consistently to Tyson Chandler for the center's trademark alley-oop dunks. Overall, Knight's 5.1 assists per 36 minutes are accompanied by 3.4 turnovers per 36, including the 11th-most live-ball turnovers in the league.

Those plays generally lead to easy baskets for the opponents, and indeed the Suns allow the second-most fast-break points in the league. Overall, they are 29th in defensive efficiency.

Knight's role in the Suns' bottom-two defense is pretty clear. In addition to the turnovers, he's not a stopper, he rarely blocks shots and he grabs only three defensive rebounds per 36 minutes.

For most of the season, the Suns have been about four points per 100 possessions better on defense with Knight sitting. While that number has improved of late (the Suns still rate as better without him playing), in large part that's because of all the minutes Phoenix is giving to very young players like Devin Booker and Archie Goodwin.

In all, Knight is posting a -1.89 RPM, which is 45th among point guards and 40th among shooting guards.

Knight is only 24, so he has ample time to fill out his game, focus on defense and become an above-average NBA player. But currently there's little to be excited about.

Rajon Rondo: High assists, low impact

Rajon Rondo has the most assists in the league by far. He's 15th in steals after residing in the top 10 most of the season. Among guards, he's second in rebounding. Sounds like one of the best players in the game.

But consider this: In each of his past three seasons, Rondo's teams have played two points better per 100 possessions when he has been on the bench.

That was true in Boston and Dallas (where his teams were about six points better with him sitting), and it's true in Sacramento.

After last season's debacle with the Mavericks, Rondo has been widely praised for bouncing back, but the Kings, while not especially successful when Rondo sits, are even worse when he plays.

When he plays, his inability to hit shots from outside the paint allows defenders to go under every single screen, making pick-and-roll action very difficult. When he's not involved in a pick-and-roll, his defender can sag toward the paint further than usual, clogging the lane for his teammates' drives.

Other concerns: He typically walks the ball up the floor nonchalantly, burning valuable seconds off the shot clock. Rondo also has been especially careless with the ball this season, turning it over more than four times per 36 minutes and increasing the team's turnover rate by two percentage points (he posted similar numbers in Dallas). And his abysmal 57 percent free throw shooting costs the Kings as well.

The biggest issue with Rondo, though, appears to be his defensive impact, as the Kings allow 4.5 more points per 100 possessions when he is on the floor. While he has a knack for steals, he no longer puts great pressure on the opposing point guard, often just waiting for the opponents to shoot.

Earlier this season, Rondo appeared to be part of the Kings' revival as the team moved into the playoff race. But now the Kings have lost five of six games, and their playoff odds appear slimmer every day. With Rondo soon to be 30 years old, and a free agent, should the Kings really make him a cornerstone of their future?

Source: ESPN

I 100% agree with Rondo.

What are your thoughts?

Gander13SM
02-06-2016, 03:16 PM
100% agree with Whiteside and Rondo.

I think you have to be rated before you can become overrated therefore Kanter shouldn't be discussed. I've never heard anyone say he's anything other than a sort of decent offensive big with absolutely no defensive skills.

Aust
02-06-2016, 03:36 PM
Lamar Odom once criticized JaVale McGee's basketball IQ by saying, "The game is called basketball, not run and jump."

:laugh2:

Ironman5219
02-06-2016, 04:14 PM
As a Jazz fan, all I can say is Amen on Penes Kancer, uh I mean Enes Kanter. The guy is a Mal content, who refuses to play defense. Our defense and locker room instantly improved with him gone.

leprechaun5
02-06-2016, 04:34 PM
Finally someone explains why Heat are better without Whiteside.

JasonJohnHorn
02-07-2016, 07:21 PM
Interesting comments on Whiteside. I'll have to pay attention to that next time I watch him play. I think the stat chasing may be a little unfair. There is a difference between poor judgement and chasing stats. It's hard to say going for the rebound is bad. I understand that boxing out is key, but somebody is going to have to grab the rebound. As for helping on D to get a block... that can be a problem for sure. Just like chasing steals. But it may be a matter of poor judgement.


As to the last three names on the list, I don't recall anybody ranking any of the particularly high this season. Knight has certainly never been praised too highly in his career. Kanter has never had anything more than the word 'potential' next to his name, and Rondo hasn't been considered elite for 4 or 5 years and even when he was he was very divisive.


Guys that are overrated have to first be rated, no?

LMA? Overrated? There is a case to be made there, though the Spurs are doing very well.

Russell Westbrook? I think he's a great talent, but his low 3pt% might put him off to a lot of people.

James Harden? Dwight Howard? DeAndre Jordan? Lillard? Wiggins? DeRozen? Wall? Beal? Bosh? These are guys that are either All-Stars, or regarded very highly, who also happen to be players a lot of fan question in terms of their impact on the game. I'm not suggesting all are overrated, but they are at least all highly regarded by many. Unlike Knight.

I'd be more interested to see how guys like these are viewed then a back-up point guards like Knight who is only starting because the lottery team he is on doesn't have a better option.

Sanjay
02-09-2016, 07:30 PM
Interesting comments on Whiteside. I'll have to pay attention to that next time I watch him play. I think the stat chasing may be a little unfair. There is a difference between poor judgement and chasing stats. It's hard to say going for the rebound is bad. I understand that boxing out is key, but somebody is going to have to grab the rebound. As for helping on D to get a block... that can be a problem for sure. Just like chasing steals. But it may be a matter of poor judgement.


As to the last three names on the list, I don't recall anybody ranking any of the particularly high this season. Knight has certainly never been praised too highly in his career. Kanter has never had anything more than the word 'potential' next to his name, and Rondo hasn't been considered elite for 4 or 5 years and even when he was he was very divisive.


Guys that are overrated have to first be rated, no?

LMA? Overrated? There is a case to be made there, though the Spurs are doing very well.

Russell Westbrook? I think he's a great talent, but his low 3pt% might put him off to a lot of people.

James Harden? Dwight Howard? DeAndre Jordan? Lillard? Wiggins? DeRozen? Wall? Beal? Bosh? These are guys that are either All-Stars, or regarded very highly, who also happen to be players a lot of fan question in terms of their impact on the game. I'm not suggesting all are overrated, but they are at least all highly regarded by many. Unlike Knight.

I'd be more interested to see how guys like these are viewed then a back-up point guards like Knight who is only starting because the lottery team he is on doesn't have a better option.

Article
I completely agree. Kanter's defensive and Rondo's shooting struggles are well acknowledged. Regarding the article's criticism of Anthony and Knight, plus-minus in a flawed statistic and if Brandon's 3.6 turnovers per 36 is the worst part of his game then he is doing okay. Also, guards are not exactly meant to be shot blockers and rebounders...


Overrated?
I think Aldridge is slightly overrated because the majority of his game is mid-range jumpshots. I believe Westbrook was underrated before he went on a triple-double tear at the end of last season, but is now a bit overrated as he is really playing similar to what he has the last four years, but his stats just look a little better, although he has improved his passing. I do not think Harden is overrated, he can win games by himself with his scoring/playmaking/ability to get to the line and his poor defense is widely documented. I do not really rate Howard so I cannot say he is overrated.

I do not believe DeAndre Jordan is overrated, his athleticism around the offensive basket, rebounding and shot blocking are irreplaceable and his horrible free throw shooting is probably the most publicised story is the league. I do not think Lillard is overrated, he is one of the best point guards in the league and people are probably only saying this because of the Trail Blazers' record (which is due to his supporting cast not him). I believe Wiggins was significantly overrated coming out of high school and college, but this has calmed down and he has improved quite a bit.

I do not rate DeRozan as highly as most people do so I cannot say if he is overrated. I do not think Wall is overrated, his playmaking, defense and speed are great and everybody knows he is an inconsistent shooter. I do not believe Beal is overrated, he is an elite shooter and his defense is getting better.


Conclusion
Overall, every player has strengths and weaknesses (some obviously greater than others). Some elite players have one significant negative (e.g. Harden's defense) while some 'considerably good' players have a specialised skill (e.g. Allen's defense). If these players are overrated, underrated or 'reasonably rated' depends on individuals' importance of how significant negatives or specialised skills affect a player's overall rating.