FanPost

Mid-Season Evaluation of Meyers Leonard Projections

Earlier this year, around the start of training camp I published a number of fan posts regarding the best comparable NBA players to the Trail Blazers rookies, and used those comparable players to project each players stat line for their first 3 NBA seasons. It is now 41 games into the season, so I thought I would do a recap of those projections Meyers Leonard only at this point.

Here is the link to the initial Meyers Leonard Fan Post (Meyers Leonard Comparables).

At the time of these posts my data base of college seasons only included the seasons from 2000-01 through 2011-12. Since then I have expanded the data base to include every NBA player who debuted in the NBA after the 1989-1990 season, excluding players drafted out of high school, players who did not play at an American university (such as players from Europe), and any US college players who did not have complete statistical information for their college careers. I built my database using the data available from Draft Express, Basketball Reference, and College Basketball Reference, and after finalizing the database I found some inconsistencies in some of the data, usually relating to formulas for advanced stats, but a few additional inconsistencies as well. I have "fixed" those inconsistencies now, though I am sure there are still some I haven’t found. Because I have a new expanded database, and I am more confident that all the entries are consistent in their formula calculation, so I decided to redo the comparable analysis for Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard.

Meyers Leonard

Here is the list of the initial best comparable players for Meyers Leonard.

Player

Season

Channing Frye

02-03

Jeff Pendergraph

07-08

Al Horford

05-06

David Lee

04-05

Jordan Hill

07-08

Andrew Bogut

04-05

This was the projected stat line for Meyers Leonard’s first 3 years, based upon that list of comps.

Season

Shooting Statistics per 36 Minutes

FG

FGA

FG%

3P

3PA

3P%

FT

FTA

FT%

TS%

eFG%

1

5.442

11.238

48.42%

0.012

0.111

10.81%

2.108

3.123

67.50%

51.30%

48.50%

2

5.270

9.720

54.22%

0.010

0.060

16.67%

2.430

3.170

76.66%

58.10%

54.30%

3

5.616

10.615

52.90%

0.015

0.103

14.80%

2.387

3.229

73.91%

56.40%

53.00%

Season

Accumulation Stats per 36 Minutes

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

A/TO

PF

PTS

1

3.269

6.836

10.085

1.641

0.816

0.985

1.741

1.09

4.801

13.036

2

2.860

6.740

9.570

1.580

0.660

1.140

1.820

0.83

4.390

13.030

3

3.069

7.353

10.374

1.510

0.758

1.250

1.643

0.89

4.546

13.676

Season

Usage Stats

ORB%

DRB%

TRB%

AST%

STL%

BLK%

TOV%

USG%

1

10.75%

20.85%

15.78%

7.58%

1.22%

1.97%

12.37%

16.95%

2

11.00%

22.00%

17.00%

9.00%

1.00%

2.00%

13.00%

18.00%

3

10.58%

23.50%

16.94%

7.49%

1.20%

2.48%

11.79%

17.46%

Season

Advanced Measurements

PER

ORtg

DRtg

OWS

DWS

WS

WS/48

1

13.294

107.7

106.3

1.6

1.7

3.328

0.097

2

15.120

111.5

106.3

3.1

2.0

5.078

0.130

3

15.474

113.8

105.7

3.5

2.1

5.578

0.132

NEW COMPARABLE MODEL

Once I expanded my database I decided to recalculate the list of comparable players to include players prior to 2000-2001, and to expand the number of comparable players from 7 to 10. One of the limitations on the data I have is that there is very little if any physical attribute data for players prior to the 2001 draft. This forced me to find a more inclusive approach to determining the list of best comparable players. For players drafted after 2000 I evaluate both physical and statistical comparability, and for players prior to the 2001 draft I consider only statistical comparability. Whenever possible I try to compare players of the same collegiate seasons, but I am open to comparing players from different classes. Wherever reasonable I try to avoid comparing Freshmen to Seniors and Juniors, but I do compare Sophomores to Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors.

Here is the list of the new 10 Best Comparable Players to Meyers Leonard

Player

Season

Jordan Hill

So

David Lee

So

Al Horford

So

Josh Boone

So

Roy Hibbert

So

Andrew Bogut

Fr

Brad Daugherty

Jr

LaMarcus Aldridge

So

Lorenzen Wright

Fr

Rony Seikaly

Jr

From this list of 10 comparable players I generated a new projection for Meyers Leonard for his first 3 seasons. The new projection is similar to the old projection, though this new projection does project a little higher production from Lillard.

Below is a raw comparison of Meyers Leonard’s statistical performance through 41 games, with the new 10 comparable player first year projection.

Shooting Statistics Per 36 Minutes

Player

FG

FGA

FG%

2 Pt %

3P

3PA

3P%

FT

FTA

FT%

Meyers Leonard (Actual)

4.10

7.30

56.16%

57.7%

0.00

0.20

0.00%

2.3

2.60

88.5%

Meyers Leonard (Projection)

5.33

10.61

50.26%

50.4%

0.00

0.04

9.09%

2.6

4.05

64.9%

Accumulation Statistics per 36 Minutes

Player

ORB

DRB

TRB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PF

PTS

Meyers Leonard (Actual)

2.80

4.90

7.70

0.40

0.7

1.70

1.50

4.6

10.40

Meyers Leonard (Projection)

3.15

5.97

9.10

1.54

0.7

1.34

2.07

4.9

13.28

Usage Rates

Player

TS%

eFG%

ORB%

DRB%

TRB%

AST%

STL%

BLK%

TOV%

USG%

Meyers Leonard (Actual)

61.7%

56.0%

8.6

16.3

12.3

1.6

1.0

3.6

14.7

12.5

Meyers Leonard (Projection)

53.1%

50.3%

10.0

19.5

14.6

6.9

1.0

2.7

13.8

18.5

Advanced Statistics

Player

PER

ORtg

DRtg

WS

WS/48

A/TO

EFF/36

PPR

FTA / FGA

3PA / FGA

Meyers Leonard (Actual)

12.90

117.0

106.0

3.0

0.117

0.267

15.9

-3.43

35.6%

2.7%

Meyers Leonard (Projection)

14.33

108.0

107.1

3.2

0.089

0.764

17.2

-2.92

38.1%

0.4%

At a cursory glance while projection is reasonably accurate, it is not nearly as accurate as that for Damian Lillard. The most obvious differences are;

Leonard’s accumulation stats are generally lower than projected, but his shooting stats are better than projected. That his accumulation stats are lower is not a surprise, he comped well to a number of big guys such as Brad Daugherty, Al Horford, Andrew Bogut, Roy Hibbert, Rony Seikaly, and Lorenzen Wright, all of whom played substantial minutes and started a large number of games. Leonard does not have the same expectations as those players at this point within the context of the Blazers (evidenced by his much lower than projected usage rate). Leonard’s shooting rates across the board are much higher which is clearly encouraging.

The other area of stark contrast is in two of the Advanced Metric’s, Offensive Rating and WS/48 Minutes, both of which are better than projected which directly related to his exceptional shooting % across the board, and because his turnover rates are lower than you would expect based upon his comp’s rookie season. His defensive rating is a little better than projected, and that is because he is blocking more shots and committing fewer personal fouls than you would expect based upon his comps rookie seasons.

Accuracy of Projection Tool

From this I wanted to see how accurate this projection actually is. To do this I used a model similar to what I did to find my initial set of 10 best comparable players. I found the degree of similarity between Meyers Leonard’s actual performance and his projected performance. In this analysis I found the degree of similarity for Meyers Leonard’s projected rookie season to his actual rookie year to be 93.08% similar.

This 93.08% similarity must be understood in context. Recognize that the statistics I am comparing are of some very basic types;

1.) There are accumulation statistics like Points, Assists, Turnovers which are per 36 minutes, but all of these are on an identical scale, Per 36 Minutes. Because of that, there will naturally be some degree of similarity between players.

2.) There are a number of ratio’s, FGM to FGA, FTA to FTM, Ast to TO etc. There is a natural degree of similarity when using ratios.

3.) There are complex advanced stats that combine a large number of statistics into a single number, such as PER, Eff/36 and WS. Two players can have an identical PER, but have a significant disparity in the various components.

4.) Usage rates are a measure as a % of available. Rebound % is the % of all rebounds available that the player got, which puts all 10 players on the floor into a similar context.

Because of this, a raw degree of similarity of 95.08% may not reveal how accurate the projection is, it is necessary to place this into a context, because all players will have some degree of similarity. How I did this was to calculate this degree of similarity for every player season from the 1990-91 season through the 2011-12 season; a total of 11,690 distinct individual seasons. I then used the same methodology of a player’s performance relative to a range from highest to lowest for each statistical category, to place each player into a percentile of the best overall performance, and found the degree of similarity of all 11,690 players to Meyers Leonard so far this season. I then ranked all of those seasons, to understand how accurate the 95.08% is relative to other players. Recognize that I am not comparing any individual’s raw stats to Meyers Leonard’s raw stats, but rather relationship to a standard of 0 to 100%. I could not compare individual players raw stats, because I would get division by zero errors, meaning that all players would have an infinite degree of dissimilarity to the target player for that stat category (for instance 3 pointers made, if the target player did not make a 3 point shot).

The median degree of similarity between all the players and Meyers Leonard is 84.42%, meaning 5,845 players had a degree of similarity of less than 84.42%. The reason why the median is 84.42% and not 50% is because of the 4 reasons detailed above. Overall there were 304 player seasons over the last 22 seasons that were more similar to Meyers Leonard’s actual performance than the projection; basically the projection was in the 97.40 percentile of similarity. This is quite good, so based upon that I would say the methodology was generally highly predictive in the case of Meyers Leonard. Meyers Leonard has a much smaller size than Damian Lillard, so I would expect the accuracy to be somewhat less. Regardless, the tool did project Meyers Leonard’s actual stats accurately.

I also found the new set of comps to be very interesting. Using this comps I would say;

Best Case - Al Horford and Brad Daugherty

Worst Case - Josh Boone and Jordan Hill

Good comps - Rony Seikaly, Roy Hibbert, and Andrew Bogut

Power Forward Comps - David Lee, and LaMarcus Aldridge

Meyers Leonard is obviously young and somewhat overmatched at this point. At the same time he is shooting better, blocking more shots, committing fewer turnovers, and committing fewer personal fouls than you would expect, compared to that of his 10 best comps in their rookie seasons. His lack of accumulation stats are directly related to situation, the Blazers have 5 dominate players, who clearly dominate the accumulation stats. As Neil Paine attempted to express in his evaluation of JJ Hickson’s rebounding, the Blazer big 5, are in effect taking away accumulation stats from the other 9 players on the roster, and Meyers Leonard is one of those who’s accumulation stats is being negatively affected by the nature of the Blazers situation this season. He is actually over performing his projection in the non-accumulation stats. All of that is encouraging to me.

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