A few days ago, just before tailing off to Kings media day, I published a takedown of John Hollinger's ESPN preview which cited Tyreke Evans's low college assist rates as a pointer that Too Easy will be a full-time shooting guard within two seasons. The numbers show that Evans's college assist rates are comparable with those of Derrick Rose, and better than full-time point guards like Mario Chalmers.
Hollinger emailed me to clear the air ... and he makes some good points. You can find our exchange after the jump.
Here's the exchange, slightly edited for formatting.
JOHN HOLLINGER: Tom -- your point today was correct -- Evans's Assist Rates aren't the problem. Or rather, they're only half the problem.
I misspoke in the story -- it's his Pure Point Rating that's the real issue -- a pace-adjusted -1.29 last season. Over the past seven years only four point guard prospects have been worse: Marcus Banks, Darius Washington, Daniel Ewing and Willie Deane.
By comparison, Rose was +0.66, Chalmers +1.24, [Russell] Westbrook +0.49 and [George] Hill -0.06.
ZILLER: Thanks for the follow-up, John. I appreciate that, and Evans having a low PPR is not surprising, now that you've reminded me about PPR.
Are all college PPRs so muted? You have Rose at +0.66 -- I remember the Nashes and even the Jason Harts up in the +7-11 range using NBA stats. If it's a similar scale among college PGs, it would look like Rose at +0.66 isn't actually that good a point guard either. I'm assuming the scale just comes out different, because Rose ended up around +4 last season, near Felton and Bibby.
Thanks again for the follow-up, and the reminder about PPR. I'm still not giving up hope! Though there is the hope that if Evans really cannot play point, his rebounding and defense will be good enough that Martin can move up to small forward, which obviously isn't ideal, but perhaps necessary. We'll see.
HOLLINGER: Yes, the scale ends up different for college since most scorers don't hand out assists like Halloween candy the way they do in the pros and if I'm not mistaken a higher percentage of points come on free throws.
Though I see him as a pure SG, I think Evans is going to be a hell of a player and it sets up an interesting dilemma in another year or two, whether to move Kevin to 3 [small forward] or trade him.
ZILLER: Luckily, I suppose, the Kings are in no rush to do anything other than compete for the second-worst record in the league. Positionality can wait.
I will note as a post script that I've never been completely sold on PPR -- I find it to be a fairly arbritary metric that, more than anything, measures point guard quality with a heavy emphasis on low turnover rates. Last year, I did a study for BallHype which measured point guard purity in a different way, one which gave us The Purity Scale.
Regardless, while Hollinger makes a strong case, I'm willing to take a wait-and-see approach.