Saturday, October 4, 2008

Flashback Friday: Ranking the Rookie Seasons

Ideally black budget Utah Jazz scientists are working on a way to combine CJ's potential and youth with Ronnie Brewer's athleticism and Morris Almond's scoring ability . . . into one player. (I don't know, something like C.R. Almond) The realistic alternative is to really develop two out of the three guys, and let the other guy go. Popular consensus makes Morris Almond the odd man out . . . though my hypothesis is that he's the best fit when it comes to being called an NBA level shooting guard. (you know, based on who out of the three can do what Rip Hamilton can do right now) We don't have much to go by, but we can look at the stats . . . specifically of their rookie seasons, then make inferences upon what Mobe can or cannot do after looking at how the other two guys progressed.

  C.J. Miles Ronnie Brewer Morris Almond
  Photo by Dnews Jazz Basketball Photo by Dnews Jazz Basketball Photo by Dnews Jazz Basketball
Rookie season 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008
Age 18 21 22
Games 23 56 9
MPG 8.8 12.1 4.3
PPG 3.4 4.6 1.4
FG% 36.8% 52.8% 26.7%
FT% 75.0% 67.5% 66.7%
3pt% 25.0% 0.0% 25.0%
3PT made 5 0 1
RPG 1.7 1.3 0.2
APG 0.7 0.4 0.3
SPG 0.3 0.7 0.1
BPG 0.1 0.1 0.0

Wow, look at those numbers! Almond played the least (by a significant margin, getting in the least number of games, and playing 50% of what CJ played and 33% of what Ronnie played). As a results, his numbers are utterly pathetic . . . though in 33% of the time on the floor he had almost as many APG as Brewer, so put that in your pipe you guys who are part of the "Almond doesn't Pass" lobby. Part of the reason why Mo didn't play much has to be that the Jazz had their own full-time NBA-DL team at this point, and that they didn't think he would help the Jazz any by playing this season. The other part has to deal with the fact that Almond has a metric tonne of competition ahead of him at this point -- especially when compared to what little resistance CJ had as a rookie, or what Brewer got when Giricek was relegated to the dog house.

Ronnie FG% is sky high as a result of his smart shot selection (you can't fault him for having the sense to not take shots he doesn't think he'll make), but aside from that, Ceejay was really "better" than Ronnie, and he played less minutes. What happened after their rookie seasons?

Well, C.J. has played three seasons, and each season he has yet to reach the MPG that Brewer got as a rookie (CJ's career best was 11.5 mpg, and again, Ronnie got 12.1 mpg as a rookie). Last season was CJ's first season topping Brewer's rookie ppg as well (5.0 vs. 4.6). Over the last few seasons CJ has developed his body and his basketball IQ and last season he shot 47.9%/39.0%/78.8% . . . which is pretty darn good. Each season his mpg has gone up slightly, but he has improved on what he was supposed to. This season, his 4th in the NBA, he'll start it off as a 21 year old . . . the age Brewer was as a Rookie.

Brewer, on the other hand, won the starting job last season, and exploded to average 12.0 ppg in 27.5 mpg while shooting 55.8 fg% !!! He also made 11 threes this past season (CJ made 19 more threes in 1400 less minutes), to bring his career average up to 18.6%. That's not hardly enough for a 'shooting guard', if you ask me.

Almond figures to receive an incremental increase in playing time (more like CJ than Ronnie), and as a result, his career arc will have a much smaller rise than Ronnie's has. There just isn't any minutes for the poor fella . . . and even if there were, would he earn them? That said, if I had to pick one of these guys to score over 50 points in an NBA game in their career it would have to be Almond. When he gets playing time and knows that he's going to be able to work in the offense to get off 'his' shots he has been nothing short of a beast on offense. C.J. played two seasons in the NBA-DL, and while he looked much better (total games played was still only 19), his NBA-DL career was completely eclipsed by Almond's scoring ability. (14 ppg vs. 26 ppg)

The question remains though, will we ever get to see Almond play 25 mpg for the Jazz? Probably not with the other two guys ahead of him on the team (and that Korver guy too!).