Should Warriors Fans Second Guess the 2010 NBA Draft?

It's always a hot topic in Warriors land to debate whether we should have drafted Ekpe Udoh over Greg Monroe. Monroe and Udoh couldn't be more different in terms of box score stats (Monroe gets them, Udoh doesn't) — as Kevin Pelton pointed out just today (and you, dear reader of my blog, know I've been on the case for a long time already).

Box score stats are nice, and sometimes they lineup with team-level results, but the latter are what we really should care about the most. How does a player impact team-level results? To answer that question, advanced stat guys like myself look at team-level metrics, such as adjusted +/- (APM/RAPM) and my new A4PM (adjusted four factor +/-). With that in mind, today I wanted to take a look at how Udoh stacks up against some of the alternative draft choices the Warriors might have made. I'm focusing solely on the players that were talked about leading up to the draft as being possibilities for GSW at the #6, and the ones that have had enough playing time by now to have some confidence in their +/- data. These two criteria narrowed the list to 5 players: Greg Monroe (#7), Al-Farouq Aminu (#8), Paul George (#10), Cole Aldrich (#11), Ed Davis (#13), Patrick Patterson (#14). I also threw in Gordon Hayward (#9), since he was in the middle of that pack (but not ever rumored to go to GSW, as far as I can recall).

The tables below lists these players in descending order according to overall offensive and defensive ratings:

Offense

Recall that O1...O4 represent the weighted contribution of each offensive factor — eFG% (O1), TOV% (O2), OREB% (O3), and FTA/FGA (O4), respectively — to A4PM.

NAME TEAM POS POSS O4PM O1 O2 O3 O4
Ekpe Udoh GSW 4.8 3040 1.47 0.92 0.72 0.07 -0.24
Gordon Hayward UTA 2.8 3802 0.21 -0.02 -0.17 0.25 0.15
Greg Monroe DET 5.0 5825 -0.05 -0.26 -0.12 0.40 -0.07
Patrick Patterson HOU 4.1 2867 -0.55 -0.83 0.40 0.27 -0.39
Paul George IND 2.4 4134 -0.78 -1.05 0.01 0.15 0.11
Al-Farouq Aminu NOH 3.1 3779 -2.4 -1.02 -1.88 0.46 0.04
Ed Davis TOR 4.2 4194 -2.79 -1.30 -1.66 0.18 -0.01

Defense

Recall that D1...D4 represent the weighted contribution of each defensive factor — eFG% (D1), TOV% (D2), OREB%(OPP) (D3), and FTA/FGA (D4), respectively — to A4PM.

NAME TEAM POS POSS D4PM D1 D2 D3 D4
Ekpe Udoh GSW 4.8 3040 2.73 1.99 0.52 0.24 -0.02
Paul George IND 2.4 4134 1.31 1.38 0.19 -0.17 -0.09
Al-Farouq Aminu NOH 3.1 3779 0.92 0.34 0.28 0.24 0.06
Patrick Patterson HOU 4.1 2867 0.37 0.05 -0.32 0.52 0.12
Ed Davis TOR 4.2 4194 -0.93 -0.69 -0.06 -0.15 -0.03
Greg Monroe DET 5.0 5825 -1.36 -1.37 0.01 -0.13 0.13
Gordon Hayward UTA 2.8 3802 -1.43 -0.64 -0.64 0.00 -0.15

So, it's early in their respective careers, and Udoh was an older rookie compared to guys like Monroe and George. Maybe those guys will show tremendous improvement soon. But right now, Udoh is hands-down the leader of the group in terms of the adjusted four factors metric. It's not even really close on either side of the ball. Some of these stats may turn out to be a result of small sample size, but the same could be said of any of the 7 players at this point in time. Although like many GSW fans, I was disappointed by the choice on draft day 2010, I've liked Udoh from the first few moments I saw him in the NBA, and I still like him today.

3 thoughts on “Should Warriors Fans Second Guess the 2010 NBA Draft?”

  1. Given, as you mentioned that Udoh doesn't get many box score stats, what is it that he does that contributes to winning?

    As a Pistons fan and stat guy, I am curious.

    1. On defense, it's obvious. He's a great help defender. He also boxes out his man, which helps his teammates get rebounds. On offense, it's less obvious. He seems to set pretty good screens and generally helps the flow of the offense. He's a good passer, and actually has pretty sure hands for a big man. When he's in there, the offense goes through him a lot more than it does when Biedrins is in there (obviously). I don't think he'll end his career with such high +/- stats, as there certainly will be some (maybe quite a bit) of regression to the mean when he starts getting substantially more playing time. But overall, he does a lot of the little things that +/- folks are always talking about. They just seem to play better when he's on the floor. Time will tell. He might just be the new Nick Collison.

Leave a Reply