In the last 20 years there have been 15 centers drafted in the first 5 picks. It is fair to say that the sample group is a solid mixture of H-O-F players and total busts (pointing at you Candy Man). Of the 15, there were 5 busts (Bradley, Battie, Candy Man, Shelden, Curry) and 2 look like they are headed that way (Oden and Thabeet), but it is way to early to write them off. I would assume (and that’s a huge assumption) that based off DMC’s collegiate dominance that he will not fall into the group of 7 busts/potential busts. Therefore I thought it would be interesting to see how the top 8 centers fared in there rookie season.
1. Shaquille O’neal
81 starts – 38 Min - 56 FG% - 23.4PPG – 13.8 REB – 1.9 AST – 3.5 BLK – 3.8TO
2. Tim Duncan
82 starts – 39 Min – 55 FG% - 21.1 PPG – 11.9 REB – 2.7 AST – 2.5BLK -3.4TO
78 starts – 34 Min – 51 FG% - 21 PPG – 10.3REB – 1 AST – 3.5 BLK – 3 TO
71 starts – 38 Min – 49 FG% - 16.6 PPG – 12.3 REB – 2.2AST – 3 BLK- 3.5TO
5. Yao Ming
72 starts – 29 Min – 50 FG% - 13.5 PPG – 8.2 REB – 1.7 AST – 1.8 BLK – 2.1TO
82 starts – 32.6 Min – 52FG% - 12 PPG – 10REB – .9 AST – 1.7BLK – 2 TO
7. Al Horford
77 starts – 31.4 Min – 50 FG% - 10.1 PPG – 9.7 REB – 1.5 AST - .9 BLK – 1.7TO
8. Andrew Bogut
77 starts – 28.6 Min – 53 FG% -9.4 PPG – 7 REB – 2.3 AST - .8 BLK – 1.5 TO
Based off the performances of these players DMC will have a very difficult time matching the numbers of the top 4 players, but I feel that the numbers produced by the players in the 5-8 range are very attainable.
So here is my prediction on how DMC season will statistically look
55 starts – 28 Min – 53 FG% - 15 PPG – 9 REB – 1.5 AST – 1.5 BLK – 3.5 TO
A simple explanation of my predictions
55 Starts: The organization is excited about DMC, the fans are stoked off of him, and he is very talented. This combination means that he should get a majority of the home starts. Factoring in that most rookies hit a wall of some sort, I would not be surprised to see Dalembert and JT get roughly half of the road starts to help keep DMC fresh. I just cant imagine that the Kings will be able to keep him out of the starting lineup if he plays to his potential.
28 Minutes: This number is lower than the other top 5 picks for one main reason; other than TD, none of the top players had other big men to share minutes with. As I see it, there are 96 minutes to be shared by DMC, JT, Landry, Dalembert, Brockman and Whiteside. I see Whiteside and Brockman as being the odd men out, which means there will be 4 players seeing a majority of the minutes. I cant see any one player getting the lions share of the minutes, which is why in year 1 I see DMC only playing about 28 minutes per.
53 FG%: DMC has a variety of post moves, and has a very nice mid range shot. With his playing style I don’t see why he wont have roughly the same % as every other legitamate starting center. I didn’t want to put him in the same class as Duncan or Shaq, but I definitely feel that he is as offensively sound as Howard was in his Rookie year.
15 PPG: Yao played 29 minutes per and averaged 13.5 points per game. While he was successful, I can’t help but feel that the transition to American Basketball is part of the reason he didn’t average more points. DMC is the epitome of American Basketball, and he will have no transition in terms of style. 15 points may be a little lower than most people are hoping for, but as you can see, above 15 ppg is H-O-F caliber numbers.
9 Reb: DMC is a very good rebounder, but I think his transition to NBA rebounding will be a little rocky. DMC has always been able to rely on his size advantage to secure rebounds at a high rate. In the NBA, he will have to learn the tricks of the trade, and will have to work on his repetitive jumping skills if he wants to turn into an elite rebounder. Given all of that, I still believe that in 28 minutes he will average 9 boards, and when he is playing 42 minutes I see no reason that he cant average 12-14. But for year 1 I think he will hover right under 10 boards per game.
1.5 AST: He is bound to see a few double teams, as soon as he learns to read and pass, he is bound to collect a few assists. Until then, I’m sure he will make at least a few smart passes. However Ill be the first to admit that he didn’t pass all that much in college.
1.5 BLK: Demarcus is good at blocking shots, but he is not an elite shot blocker…YET. 1.5 per game is right under Dwight Howard, and is consistent with the other top flight centers not named SHAQ, ZO, Duncan, Mutumbo.
3.5 TO: Adjusting to the NBA game is not easy, and most big men commit turnovers, especially early in there careers. 3.5 per 28 minutes is high, but hey, he is a rookie and he will have to adjust.
So what is the purpose of all of this hypothesizing? Ever since Draft night I have read Fan posts about how good the Kings will be, and how great DMC will be. I do not want to throw a wrench in the fun engine; I simply want to point out that the odds of DMC averaging Shaq like numbers are next to impossible. There have been 4 great centers in the last 20 years and 4 very good centers. Hopefully DMC and REKE can become the most feared inside otutside combo in the NBA, but it wont happen next year. So lets all sit back, enjoy watching the Players develop, and hope that all of our wildest dreams come true. Just don’t be bummed out that DMC is not averaging 23-12-3-3. The reality is 15-9 would be amazing, and would be a reason for all of us to be very excited.
*On a side note, I have gulped up the punch and am going to summer league to see the Kings play against Detroit, LA, and the fighting Khans.