A.P. Hoops: Dialing the Right Numbers
Some are better than others. But if you're anywhere near the Playoffs, the goal at the NBA Trade Deadline remains the same across the board: fill out a lineup by filling in a need. Perhaps a team needs some scoring punch off the bench or a versatile big man to round out the athleticism of the frontcourt, especially as the season enters a bruising home stretch. But what happens when those hours on the cell phone results in nothing but fruition and futility? When that one piece you really wanted doesn’t come your way or when a rebuilding process forces you to part with a player for which you have no replacement?
It is in the situations like these that the NBA D-League can serve a vital function. Whether you need a scorer or defender, a passer or a rebounder, the NBA D-League has your man.
Even with former head coach -- and team-defense evangelist -- Nate Tibbetts in the NBA now, the Tulsa 66ers remain the the NBA D-League’s most staunch defensive team, with a sterling DefRtg of 98.3 collectively. So you shouldn’t find it surprising that 66ers’ very own Jerome Dyson is the league's best candidate for teams in need of a defensive specialist on the perimeter. His individual DefRtg of 97 is the third best in the entire league, and when Dyson is on the floor for the 66ers, they give up 3 fewer points per 100 possessions and hold opponents to a 52 percent TS% (compared to 55 percent when he’s not on the floor).
Andre Emmett joins fellow Reno Bighorn Blake Ahearn as part of one of the most explosive offensive backcourts in the NBA D-League. Not only does Emmett score the most points per game in the league, at 24 ppg, but his rate and efficiency statistics place him in a class of his own. Emmett’s PER of 26.64 is the fourth highest in the NBA D-League and his impressive OffRtg of 112.6 is the fifth best in the league. Perhaps the most staggering numbers are those of his shooting efficiency. His raw shooting percentages are noteworthy as he drills 53 percent of his field goals and nearly 46 percent of his three point field goals and his TS% of 61.5 percent makes him one of the most efficient scorers in the league.
Despite standing only 6 feet, 8 inches, Marcus Lewis is the NBA D-League’s premier rebounder. And nobody's even close. Lewis' raw numbers are impressive enough: he averages 13 rebounds per game, with 3.5 of them coming on the offensive end. But as we've learned this year, you should never trust raw statistics in isolation, so an examination of his rebounding rate is necessary for a holistic assessment.
Turns out he gets even better. Lewis’s rebounding rate certainly doesn’t disappoint as he hauls in a staggering 20.5 percent of available rebounds – the best in the NBA D-League. His rebounding ability also has a tremendous positive impact on his team. The 66ers collect only 45 percent of rebounds with Lewis off the floor, while they pull in 52 percent with him on the floor. NBA teams in need of a physical rebounding boost would be wise to look in Lewis’s direction.
Jeremy Wise is the primary point guard for the Bakersfield Jam, one of the better offensive teams in the NBA D-League with an OffRtg of 105.3. Examining Wise’s raw statistics, his assists per game average of 6.6 is solid, yet nothing particularly out of the ordinary for a starting point guard. However, upon examining his AST%, his statistics tell a different story. Wise currently holds an AST% of 35.8, which means when he's on the floor, he notches an assist on nearly 36 percent of all of his team’s made baskets. This value indicates that Wise is a strong facilitator who could be useful in a bench role for an NBA team.
Zach Andrews is the quintessential hustle player. He is both strong and athletic and performs well in a number of different metrics. His DefRtg of 101.5 places him in the upper quarter of the NBA D-League and his OffRtg of 112.4 is seventh. Furthermore, although his raw statistics show a modest 10-point, 8-rebound rebound per game average, he does both of these things efficiently - he ranks in the top 10 in TS% (65.3 percent) and REB% (17.7 percent). Perhaps one of the most telling statistics that speaks to Andrews’s value is his NetRtg (10.9) which fifth in the league and indicates that when Andrew is on the floor, team success ensues.