Interesting Look at O.J. Mayo/Eric Gordon Draft Prospects; Chad Ford Rant Numero Dos

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From The Wages of Wins Blog:

Gordon played 29 games before facing Penn State on Sunday.  When we look at Gordon across these games, we do see that his woeful shooting on Sunday was an anomaly.  Gordon’s adjusted field goal percentage is 54.2%, which is quite good.

Let me put Gordon’s shooting in perspective. The other top shooting guard who is expected to be available in the NBA draft is O.J. Mayo of USC.  Mayo’s adjusted field goal percentage is 53.0%, and again, that’s quite good.  Despite this performance, though, here is how Chad Ford describes Mayo at ESPN.com.

It’s clear Mayo’s going to be a great NBA scorer … but will he give a team anything else? 

When we compare Gordon and Mayo we see that the latter produces more – on a per-minute basis – rebounds, assists, and steals.  Mayo also commits fewer turnovers.  In sum, if we are concerned that Mayo isn’t going to give anything beyond scoring, shouldn’t we have the same concern about Gordon? And yet, in the mock drafts I have seen, Gordon is consistently rated as the better prospect (and Ford describes Gordon as a “do-it-all combo guard that is already lighting up the box score”)

The author goes on to use the "Win Score" to evaluate both prospects and concludes that both are surprisingly "below average".  I’m not sure what to make of the "Win Score" so I’m not going to try and comment on it, but going off of the quoted paragraph, isn’t it surprising to see Chad Ford’s comments running in near contrast to what actually transpired on the court?

I’ve already ranted about Chad Ford’s analysis of O.J. once, but I’m starting to think it would be more effective to just document where these "experts" were ranking O.J. at the end of the season and just reveal it all on draft day.  Chad Ford currently has O.J. at #10 on his big board; anyone with a basketball IQ above 80 will tell you that is way too low.  I’d be willing to admit that there is a possibility my previous prediction of O.J. being a top 6 pick could be wrong, but there is no way I’d concede that O.J. will not be a top 9 pick – that is just bonkers!  Yes, every expert should be given a margin of error, but this isn’t misevaluating a player, this is flat out IGNORANCE.

So why am I so confident that O.J. will be a top 9 pick guaranteed?  Because, as I’ve been saying for months, his game is far more suited for NBA ball.  O.J. thrives in isolation because he can get his shot off 99% of the time, has an excellent floater off the dribble (very hard to defend), NBA range, strong handles, and just an overall polished game from 17 feet and in.  The college game actually works against his style of play, because teams are able to run zone defenses leaning towards his side of the court or have one player front him.  NBA is much more wide open because the level of play from fellow teammates is higher; you never see those gimmicky defenses run in the NBA for more than a handful of sequences, if that.  When you add the fact that O.J. has carried himself well on-and-off the court shaking off the "me-first" tag and is underrated defensively, it’s simple math.

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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