Rolling through the completely meaningful, but relatively irrelevant gotbuckets.com post-season awards presentation, today we will look at the All-Rookie teams and award a Rookie of the Year. If you thought Andre Iguodala for DPOY was an upset, well then today is a real surprise. The Second Team features six players and is a pretty tall team, while the First Team is as small-ball as small-ball gets. I am not working under any real constraints though, so this seems palatable.
Nate Wolters – Sidelined for the final month of the season, losing Wolters really helped secure Milwaukee’s lottery odds. In 23 minutes per game, he averaged 7 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists, with a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio as a nice supplement to his SWAgR, for which he produced more wins than all but three other rookies. His 4.7 SWAg ranked sixth of the newbies.
Nick Calathes – In 17 minutes per night, Calathes averaged 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists on 51% true shooting. His SWAgR, contributing over 2-wins to the playoff bound Grizzlies, was bested by his 2-year APM, which calculated as the highest per 100 possessions of this group.
Pero Antic – Although playing only 897 minutes, he generated over two wins according to both SWAg and SWAgR. In 19 minutes per night, he averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds with 56 made threes in 50 games, a very nice mark from a center.
Ryan Kelly – Another stretch big to run alongside Wolters and Calathes, the Laker rookie hit almost one three pointer per game in 22 minutes. Ranking top ten of all rookies according to SWAgR and SWAg, he merits second team inclusion.
Mason Plumlee – SWAgR, SWAg, and ESPN’s WAR all considered Plumlee only slightly better than replacement level this year (less than one win). His 67% true shooting was astronomical though, so he’s on the team. He also averaged 7 points, 4 boards, and 1.5 steals plus blocks in 18 minutes per night.
Kelly Olynyk – According to SWAgR and SWAg, he gained the Celtics more than one win compared to a replacement player. His counting stats rate strongly among this class of rookies too, with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes per night on 55% true shooting.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – As a 19-year old, the Greek Freak ranked third among rookies in SWAgR and second in SWAg. In 25 minutes per night, he tallied 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.6 blocks + steals. With some lottery luck this summer, the future looks relatively bright in Milwaukee.
Trey Burke – In part due to his nightly six assists and 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, he contributed 2.6 wins to the Jazz this season according to SWAgR. The Utah offense was 8.4 points per 100 possessions better with Burke taking the court.
Victor Oladipo – As the season continued, Oladipo’s defensive splits for APM and RAPM kept looking better and better. At season’s end, RAPM considered him the League’s 100th best defender and 2-year APM pegged him as 90th. That is really solid for a 21-year old rookie. His box score averages of 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.6 steals ensure his place in ROY discussions.
Michael Carter Williams – MCW will almost certainly win the actual ROY. He leads all rookies with averages of 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Of the numbers at gotbuckets, he leads all rookies in SWAg. Regarding his box score stats though, a required disclaimer is that those are inflated by the most minutes per game of all rookies, and also playing on the NBA’s fastest placed team. His 48% true shooting and his turnover rate are both pretty sad, each ranking in the bottom fifth when compared to all point guards. His team lost 26 straight games, tying an NBA record. ESPN’s regression stat RPM, considered MCW a negative this season, actually pegging him as one loss worse than a replacement level player. Is that what qualifies for Rookie of the Year nowadays? At gotbuckets.com, we say “Hell No!” and present the unconventional play…
Matthew Dellavedova - Hear me out for a three-bullet take on the rationale for why a player averaging 5 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists per night has a compelling place as the rookie of the year:
- His SWAgR of 3.3, derived from RAPM, bests all rookies, as does his 3.2 WAR based on ESPN’s RPM. These are two of the best publicly available metrics and they both like Delly better than all the other rookies.
- This rookie class was cringe-worthy. Why not go unconventional?
- I’m a Cavs fan. It’s my blog. SWAgR and WAR, yo.
Nearly indisputable, right? Dellavedova did some nice point-guardy things, posting true shooting of 54% with a 3.1 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio. More than anything though, he was energy. On offense, he always pushed the ball. On defense, he was a nuisance. The first time the NBA really experienced Matty SuperDova, they weren’t ready for his Delly*. In back to back games against Washington in mid-November with the Cavs looking lethargic and disinterested, in stepped the undrafted rookie. And he was the sun, a beaming ray of light on the otherwise morose Cavaliers. To Brad Beal, he was like a fly on flypaper, white on rice, impossible to shake…I think Randy Wittman tried handing Beal a taser during one timeout. Things started happening when Dellavedova was on the court, good things for the Cavaliers. In those two games, Cleveland was -39 in the 44 minutes he sat and a glorious +39 in the 57 minutes he played. And it stayed that way much of the season, with the Cavs being outscored by 7 points per 100 possessions during the 2700 minutes he sat, but torching opponents by 4 pp100p for the 1300 minutes he played.
And for all of that, Matthew Dellavedova, you win the very prestigious, yet largely ignored, inaugural gotbuckets.com Rookie of the Year. Congratulations!
*hat tip to fellow Cavs:the Bloggers Tom Pestak and Robert Attenweiler for some of the clever Delly puns.