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Nathan S

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I'm not a huge Toppin fan but calling him Derrick Williams is a bit unfair to me.

They have some key differences in their profiles......

1. Williams had an insanely inflated scoring efficiency number that was a direct result of a FTR that was not sustainable. Toppin is an efficient scorer with what looks like a more realistically projectable mix.

2. Williams was flagged in my stuff as a significantly worse player less scoring. Toppin is -2.24, which is concerning but not alarming. Williams was -4.08. The very discernable cliff is around the -3.25/-3.50 mark. There are only 10 players in the possession era that fell below that non scoring threshold and were VORP or better players.....a success rate of around 11-12%........guys above that mark turned in to VORP or better players at about 2x the rate 21-23%. So Toppin isn't a world beater less scoring but he is in a far better bucket than Williams was.

Toppin profiles as kind of a more efficient version, plus scoring version of Kyle Kuzma.....which would be a pretty useful player to me.

I don't necessarily think he's a good fit for the Cavs but I'd have far more confidence in Toppin panning out than he becoming a D-Will esque flame out.
Not sure how "realistically projectable" Toppin's scoring is. He was very efficient, but also only faced the 105th-strongest defensive schedule in the NCAA. With Williams, you could point to games like 32 points vs Duke in the NCAA tournament, or 27 points vs Kansas. With Toppin, there are no such statement games to point to. You just have to pray that very efficient scoring against hopelessly overmatched minor conference foes will translate.
 

MirORich

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I know this is SUCH limited and regressive thinking, but I look at Deni, his body type, his profile as a Caucasian international player and I just don’t see a comparable success story that makes me excited about how his skills will translate here.

-Luka is a prodigy and unicorn
-Then there is a history of good quick smaller guards.
-There are the lots of successful skilled 7 footers

But Deni’s body type seems and athleticism seems to be in this in between SF/PF hybrid role and I’m not seeing the past examples of those guys from overseas being a success that my lazy mind wants.

I keep thinking about some midpoint between Cedi, Caspi, and Gallinari. And while that would be a player worthy of being in a good teams top 8 rotation, I still want to aim for a higher ceiling at 5, even if it means someone who might be less likely to reach it. I still want that guy who’s upside could be as a legit top3 player on a high level team. I’m scared that a team with Deni as one of the three best players can not be a top contender. I understand the fallacy of thinking that other guys at 5 have a strong chance at that either, but I’m just expressing my gut feeling, even if the reasons behind it are somewhat shallow or anecdotal.

Ready for the criticisms on several fronts.
 

MirORich

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Welp, looks like another month to have to wait and debate these guys:

 

Cavatt

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Does anyone else think Derrick Williams' career would have gone differently in today's NBA? I'm not saying he'd have been a star, but I highly doubt he'd be out of the league entirely in this style where tweeners are actually valuable.
We had him on our team. Why didn't he stick? He was productive in his few minutes, but not really dynamic. Didn't really move well off the ball, didn't shoot much, but could sort of hit the 3. I wanted him to get more minutes because of our poor wing depth. In my opinion his career should have been Jeff Green at worst, but he coudn't even obtain that??

I honestly can't tell you why he can't have a backup 3/4 role. Why can't he just fill some of those minutes for someone. It is something in his mental makeup or behavior, because he is more talented than some of the 8th or 9th men out there. Why can't he play better defense? Why did he never focus on his defense?

Something doesn't add up there. I mean Dion Waiters is on a team right now. Similarly never improved on his weaknesses, seems difficult to work with and caiuses trouble, yet he still has a job. Something is going on with Derrick Williams. He was unable to make the transition to role player.
 

I'mWithDan

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Not sure how "realistically projectable" Toppin's scoring is. He was very efficient, but also only faced the 105th-strongest defensive schedule in the NCAA. With Williams, you could point to games like 32 points vs Duke in the NCAA tournament, or 27 points vs Kansas. With Toppin, there are no such statement games to point to. You just have to pray that very efficient scoring against hopelessly overmatched minor conference foes will translate.
Toppin - 37.2 PTS per 100 on 23.2 FGA, 4.9 3PA, 8.5 FTA
Williams -38.8 PTS per 100 on 19.9 FGA, 3.9 3PA, 17.4 FTA

17.4 FTA is ludicrous and is not a number that is remotely realistic to use as a metric to translate offense. The fact that Toppin scores as efficiently as he does, on more moderate FTA numbers, is actually an indication that his offense is far more likely to translate......because he is not soley reliant on a single metric to produce that efficiency. Big men with hyper inflated FTA numbers bust out at really high rates.

I'll push back on the notion that it is somehow easy or less impressive to score with that efficiency at volume, relative to competition. It's D-1 basketball and in a database of 400+ drafted players, only 28 players have scored 37.2 PTS per 100 or better (roughly 6%). It has been a mix of big and small school players. It is insanely difficult to do. The only players with .600+ FG% were Kelly Olynk and John Collins. So we aren't talking about a guy scoring at just an elite level from a volume perspective.......or just an elite level from an efficiency perspective, we are talking about both. Which is almost never done. Trying to devalue it based on competition, IMO, does not give Toppin his just due on offense.

Steph played at Davidson, McCollum played at Lehigh, Lillard played at Weber State.....I don't know that it matters who you do it against. Playing against hopelessly overmatched minor conference foes didn't stop those guys from becoming some of the best scorers in the NBA. I think people need to have more of an open mind about competition level........I'd imagine similar sentiments were why 3 of the better players of the possession era were ultimately taken outside of the top 5, even though their scoring analytics were some of the best of this era.
 

Randolphkeys

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I know this is SUCH limited and regressive thinking, but I look at Deni, his body type, his profile as a Caucasian international player and I just don’t see a comparable success story that makes me excited about how his skills will translate here.

-Luka is a prodigy and unicorn
-Then there is a history of good quick smaller guards.
-There are the lots of successful skilled 7 footers

But Deni’s body type seems and athleticism seems to be in this in between SF/PF hybrid role and I’m not seeing the past examples of those guys from overseas being a success that my lazy mind wants.

I keep thinking about some midpoint between Cedi, Caspi, and Gallinari. And while that would be a player worthy of being in a good teams top 8 rotation, I still want to aim for a higher ceiling at 5, even if it means someone who might be less likely to reach it. I still want that guy who’s upside could be as a legit top3 player on a high level team. I’m scared that a team with Deni as one of the three best players can not be a top contender. I understand the fallacy of thinking that other guys at 5 have a strong chance at that either, but I’m just expressing my gut feeling, even if the reasons behind it are somewhat shallow or anecdotal.

Ready for the criticisms on several fronts.
As always, I'm thrilled when someone defeats their own argument for me.
 

Cavatt

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I know this is SUCH limited and regressive thinking, but I look at Deni, his body type, his profile as a Caucasian international player and I just don’t see a comparable success story that makes me excited about how his skills will translate here.

-Luka is a prodigy and unicorn
-Then there is a history of good quick smaller guards.
-There are the lots of successful skilled 7 footers

But Deni’s body type seems and athleticism seems to be in this in between SF/PF hybrid role and I’m not seeing the past examples of those guys from overseas being a success that my lazy mind wants.

I keep thinking about some midpoint between Cedi, Caspi, and Gallinari. And while that would be a player worthy of being in a good teams top 8 rotation, I still want to aim for a higher ceiling at 5, even if it means someone who might be less likely to reach it. I still want that guy who’s upside could be as a legit top3 player on a high level team. I’m scared that a team with Deni as one of the three best players can not be a top contender. I understand the fallacy of thinking that other guys at 5 have a strong chance at that either, but I’m just expressing my gut feeling, even if the reasons behind it are somewhat shallow or anecdotal.

Ready for the criticisms on several fronts.

I thought about this a little. He is a better prospect than Cedi right? Better than an early 2nd rounder? Where would Cedi go in this a weaker draft in hindsight? 20's maybe, late teens? That seems about right. Can we agree Deni is a better player than that or at least that should be his floor? Deni is significantly better than Cedi at the same age. Better passer and shooter for sure. Probably a better defender?
Toppin - 37.2 PTS per 100 on 23.2 FGA, 4.9 3PA, 8.5 FTA
Williams -38.8 PTS per 100 on 19.9 FGA, 3.9 3PA, 17.4 FTA

17.4 FTA is ludicrous and is not a number that is remotely realistic to use as a metric to translate offense. The fact that Toppin scores as efficiently as he does, on more moderate FTA numbers, is actually an indication that his offense is far more likely to translate......because he is not soley reliant on a single metric to produce that efficiency. Big men with hyper inflated FTA numbers bust out at really high rates.

I'll push back on the notion that it is somehow easy or less impressive to score with that efficiency at volume, relative to competition. It's D-1 basketball and in a database of 400+ drafted players, only 28 players have scored 37.2 PTS per 100 or better (roughly 6%). It has been a mix of big and small school players. It is insanely difficult to do. The only players with .600+ FG% were Kelly Olynk and John Collins. So we aren't talking about a guy scoring at just an elite level from a volume perspective.......or just an elite level from an efficiency perspective, we are talking about both. Which is almost never done. Trying to devalue it based on competition, IMO, does not give Toppin his just due on offense.

Steph played at Davidson, McCollum played at Lehigh, Lillard played at Weber State.....I don't know that it matters who you do it against. Playing against hopelessly overmatched minor conference foes didn't stop those guys from becoming some of the best scorers in the NBA. I think people need to have more of an open mind about competition level........I'd imagine similar sentiments were why 3 of the better players of the possession era were ultimately taken outside of the top 5, even though their scoring analytics were some of the best of this era.

This was my argument against Morant last year. He proved me wrong pretty much out the gate.
 

I'mWithDan

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Just following up here, I admittedly have not followed Toppin's schedule closely.......so I was somewhat surprised to see he played against Georgia, Va Tech, Kansas and Colorado, based on commentary.

His numbers in those games:

21 PPG, 7 REB, 1.5 BLK on .623 from the floor.

He put up identical numbers to his season averages against those power 5 schools from various conferences.

I really would not prefer to drive the Toppin bandwagon, I'm just pointing out that SOS doesn't seem to be a leading indicator here, especially with how he seemed relatively unaffected playing against bigger schools.
 
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Nathan S

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Toppin - 37.2 PTS per 100 on 23.2 FGA, 4.9 3PA, 8.5 FTA
Williams -38.8 PTS per 100 on 19.9 FGA, 3.9 3PA, 17.4 FTA

17.4 FTA is ludicrous and is not a number that is remotely realistic to use as a metric to translate offense. The fact that Toppin scores as efficiently as he does, on more moderate FTA numbers, is actually an indication that his offense is far more likely to translate......because he is not soley reliant on a single metric to produce that efficiency. Big men with hyper inflated FTA numbers bust out at really high rates.
It's surely an exaggeration to say that Williams was "solely reliant" on free throw shooting for his high efficiency, but don't want to get too down in the weeds about that.

I'll push back on the notion that it is somehow easy or less impressive to score with that efficiency at volume, relative to competition. It's D-1 basketball and in a database of 400+ drafted players, only 28 players have scored 37.2 PTS per 100 or better (roughly 6%). It has been a mix of big and small school players. It is insanely difficult to do. The only players with .600+ FG% were Kelly Olynk and John Collins. So we aren't talking about a guy scoring at just an elite level from a volume perspective.......or just an elite level from an efficiency perspective, we are talking about both. Which is almost never done. Trying to devalue it based on competition, IMO, does not give Toppin his just due on offense.
Those are arbitrary cutoffs though. Consider Dylan Windler, for instance...he put up virtually identical scoring/efficiency numbers last year. It's not *that* rare. Also, Olynyk and John Collins aren't exactly the greatest scorers in the NBA, so maybe FG% isn't the most useful indicator for NBA scoring potential.

Steph played at Davidson, McCollum played at Lehigh, Lillard played at Weber State.....I don't know that it matters who you do it against. Playing against hopelessly overmatched minor conference foes didn't stop those guys from becoming some of the best scorers in the NBA. I think people need to have more of an open mind about competition level........I'd imagine similar sentiments were why 3 of the better players of the possession era were ultimately taken outside of the top 5, even though their scoring analytics were some of the best of this era.
Again, I just don't think Toppin is that exceptional. Those guys led the NCAA in scoring or were close to it. Toppin didn't even lead the A10, and ranked 31st in the NCAA. Not on the same level. Those guys also generally shredded major-conference opponents on the rare occasions when they encountered them, fwiw.
 

I'mWithDan

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Those are arbitrary cutoffs though. Consider Dylan Windler, for instance...he put up virtually identical scoring/efficiency numbers last year. It's not *that* rare. Also, Olynyk and John Collins aren't exactly the greatest scorers in the NBA, so maybe FG% isn't the most useful indicator for NBA scoring potential.
I'm happy to use whatever cutoffs people want to. I don't know that they are arbitrary, they are just answering the question of which players produced numbers at the same level Toppin did......and how rare is it.

I had Windler's numbers at 34.5 PTS per 100 on .540 shooting.......I'm not sure how that qualifies as virtually identical but maybe you are referencing a per 36 metric?

Again, I just don't think Toppin is that exceptional. Those guys led the NCAA in scoring or were close to it. Toppin didn't even lead the A10, and ranked 31st in the NCAA. Not on the same level. Those guys also generally shredded major-conference opponents on the rare occasions when they encountered them, fwiw.
I noted above Toppin's power 5 numbers were 21 PPG, 7 REB, 1.5 BLK on .623 from the floor......almost exactly his season averages.

I'm trying to see the competition red flag here. There are arguments as to why he is a less appealing target but I don't think it is schedule based. He seemed unaffected playing against bigger schools.
 
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MirORich

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As always, I'm thrilled when someone defeats their own argument for me.
I was clearly intending the self acknowledgement of the shortcomings of my own irrational fear or limited outlook on Deni, but was still hoping you and others might share your opinions about how the things Deni does in Euroleague and Israeli leave translate into the NBA including whether any of his strengths over there would be mitigated in the NBA or not.
 

Nathan S

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Just following up here, I admittedly have not followed Toppin's schedule closely.......so I was somewhat surprised to see he played against Georgia, Va Tech, Kansas and Colorado, base on commentary.

His numbers in those games:

21 PPG, 7 REB, 1.5 BLK on .623 from the floor.

He put up identical numbers to his season averages against those power 5 schools from various conferences.

I really would not prefer to drive the Toppin bandwagon, I'm just pointing out that SOS doesn't seem to be a leading indicator here, especially with how he seemed relatively unaffected playing against bigger schools.
You can see the effect more clearly looking at games against top-100 vs. non-top-100 teams (via RealGM):

Vs. top-100 (per-40): 23.7 points (66% true shooting), 9.0 boards, 2.4 assists, 2.6 stocks
Vs. non-top-100 (per-40): 27.5 points (71% true shooting), 10.3 boards, 3.1 assists, 2.9 stocks

Across the board, his stats are inflated by 10-20% against the weaker opponents. It's not a huge difference, but just one of several factors that's contributing to him being overrated, IMO. Eye-popping stats like 70% shooting on 2-pointers probably would've been impossible against a typical major-conference schedule.
 

Randolphkeys

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I was clearly intending the self acknowledgement of the shortcomings of my own irrational fear or limited outlook on Deni, but was still hoping you and others might share your opinions about how the things Deni does in Euroleague and Israeli leave translate into the NBA including whether any of his strengths over there would be mitigated in the NBA or not.
This is what I wrote in another thread about Deni. I'm basically of the mind that in a draft where so much is an unknown, a high floor is more important than ever. Some might look at this draft in a vacuum and say, "well the high usage college guard has strong numbers, he has a high floor." Sure... which is why the Cavs took players like that two first rounds in a row. That's safe, but it doesn't get a team to the playoffs and doesn't win playoff games. Swingmen with balanced offensive and defensive skills win playoff games.

In today's NBA, the point guard doesn't just run the offense, the shooting guard doesn't just shoot, power forwards don't just defend the paint, and centers don't just block shots and score in the post. Those days are gone.

Today's NBA wants five guys who are long, athletic, and can do it all. Devi is one of those small forwards... and he looks like he is going to be really solid at it. Instead of putting up advanced stats against Louisville and Virginia Tech in regular season games, he was winning MVP of a men's league at age 19 as a 6'9 jack of all trades. He has produced on both ends of the court against grown men playing professional basketball.

Addressing the incredibly lazy argument built around stereotypes... okay fine, but I remain disappointed it needs to be said. Not every European swingman had the same production of Cedi going into the draft. They all have their own identity and future.

Time to start separating Cedi from every European wing prospect. They are all unique. Cedi was drafted at the top of the second round as a stash prospect who showed physical tools in the Euroleague at about 20 minutes a game as a teen.


Cavs fans got a little worked up in anticipation, but in the end he is limited on the defensive end and was put in the corner offensively pretty often. If you look at his European stats, he was a role player who has developed into an NBA role player. Poor guy shouldn't have been second on the team in minutes played, but they held rotation minutes for Windler.

Nobody is talking about Deni as a second rounder who gets stashed in Europe for two years.
 

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