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NBA

Jaden Springer Advanced Stats

Might be a thicker SGA

Jaden Springer is a highly touted player out of Tennesse. While the vast majority of people tend to focus more on Keon Johnson, his running mate, there is quite a loud part of Draft Twitter that has Springer over Keon. And I belong to that loud minority. During his freshman year, and Springer is one of the youngest players in the draft, only 18, turns 19 towards the end of September, he posted a OBPM of 3.6 and a DBPM of 3.3. I usually combine freshman and sophomores when looking at similar players for a freshman, but in the case of Springer I’ll just stick to Freshman, since he is such a young player. Freshman drafted in the first round with similar OBPM and DBPM:

  1. Tyler Ennis former 18th pick
  2. De’Aaron Fox, former 5th pick
  3. Tyrese Haliburton, former 12th pick
  4. Terry Rozier former 16th pick

Very interesting group of players, and one that should make us optimistic about Springer. Haliburton was one of the best rookies this past year, a smart, two way guard who can play both one and the 2. Fox is a hyper-athletic point guard, borderline All Star. Scary Terry has had his ups and downs in Boston but now in the Hornets he is trending towards a 20-5-5 type of combo guard. Ennis was a fine prospect, but his shot just didn’t materialize in the pros, but is having a great career in EuroLeague level clubs.

Defensive Metrics

Springer was a good defender in college, even if he struggled with an ankle injury the whole season, which affected his mobility and explosiveness. He  posted a DBPM of 3.3, defensive rebound rate of 11, good for a guard, steal rate of 2.7, block rate of 2, all above average numbers. Here are prospects who posted similar numbers:

  1. Tyrese Haliburton
  2. Lonnie Walker
  3. Shai Gilgeous Alexander
  4. Lonzo Ball
  5. John Wall
  6. Victor Oladipo

While there aren’t any All NBA defenders, there are a lot of very competent defenders, some, like Oladipo and Ball have even been awarded votes for a Second Team All Defense in the past, but they were also a bit better at grabbing rebounds than Springer, while Walker and Haliburton were weaker rebounders at that age. Judging my these numbers and the comparisons, it is safe to assume that Springer will be a plus defender in the NBA.  One of the biggest reasons for my optimism is that he played injured and still got numbers similar to all those guys above. The only question is will he be just above average or someone who could knock on the door of the Second All Defensive team in his future.

Will the he be able to space the Floor?

Just by looking at his percentages, one would think that Springer is a lock to become a very good floor spacer. He posted a FT% of 81, a free throw rate of 44, both are extremely impressive numbers for a 18 year old guard. His three point percentage of 43.5, nuclear percentage really but hides the fact that he really took few threes this year only 48, and usage was a very healthy 26%. Similar freshmen:

  1. CJ McCollum
  2. Shai GIlgeous Alexander
  3. Jerryd Bayless

SGA is the most similar in terms of volume and percentages. So far in the league, he has gotten to 37% for his career and he shot a great 41% this year. Both CJ and Bayless shot  times as much 3s as Springer in college. CJ is a career 40% 3 point scorer on large volume. Bayless got to 36% but also shot on good volume and had a few seasons with over 40% from behind the arc.

Creation for Others

While his whole creative and passive arsenal didn’t really bloom in college, there is a lot of reasons to be optimistic about him as a secondary creator. He had a positive, 1.55 assist to turnover ratio. His usage was 28% and assist% a solid 26%. Similar freshmen taken in the first round:

  1. Jerryd Bayless
  2. Shai Gilgeous Alexander

While Bayless never reach his high school hype, he did manage to get to around 4 assists per game in a few seasons of his career.If we look at them per 36, he had four seasons with 6 or more assists. SGA is one of the most exciting and talented young lead guards. This last season, when he was finally unleashed he averaged almost 6 assists per game.  While Springer averaged just around  assists per game in college, it would be a very wise bet that once he reaches his peak in the NBA he too could get you 5 or more assists per game.

Scoring Volume

Springer had a lot of success getting to the line and converting. He boasted a very good FT rate of 44 and his FT% was an excellent, especially for a  freshman guard 81%.  Similar freshmen drafted in the first round:

  1. Trae Young
  2. CJ McCollum
  3. Immanuel Quickley
  4. Shai Gilgeous Alexander

Trae Young is one of the best players in the league when it comes to getting to the line. He generates around 9 FTA per game. CJ is a much different story with around 3 FTA per game, but he is also built a lot different than Springer, and is a worse athlete. Quickley was a rookie last year and didn’t play more than 20 minutes, but he still managed to generate close to 3 FTA, which are 5 per 36. SGA gets to the line a lot, over 6 times a game. Comparing Springer with this group of players it is clear that he has physical gifts which far exceed most of theirs. With some trickery and experience he should be able to generate 5 points from FTs per game.

Spinger was mostly reliant on 2s this past season.  He was great at finishing at the rim, but really struggled from midrange. He scored over 65% of his 76 at rim attempts, and Made 37% of his long 2s. Freshmen with similar numbers :

  1. Victor Oladipo
  2. Kevin Huerter
  3. Bradley Beal
  4. Nik Stauskas
  5. Solomon Hill

At his peak Oladipo was a meanace getting to the rim and playing in the midrange while his percentages weren’t above 50%, he still managed to generate between 8 and 12 points that way. Bradley Beal is one of the most dominant scorers in the league and for years now he has generated over 10 PPG out of 2pts, peaking at 18 this year. Huerter generates around 5 points per game this way. Stauskas maxed out at 3 PPG from 2pts and finally Solomon Hill who also peaked at 5 points per game out of 2 pointers.

Springer had a great 3pt percentage, over 43%, but he also had a very low volume of just 46 threes taken.  Similar Freshman,

  1. Justise Winslow
  2. Shai Gilgeous Alexander
  3. Marcus Morris

Justise Got to the point where he makes 1 per game. SGA makes around 2 per game now and could improve as the years pass. Morris has grown into his role and is now regularly making 2 or more 3s per game.

When you factor all that in the most realistic number for Springer falls between 15 and 20 points per game. The translation of his 3pt shot, increase in its volume and his ability to get to the line will be major factors that decide if he will creep towards 20 PPG or even pass it. I’m optimistic.

Summary

After all this, it would be very easy to see another SGA in Springer. But there are still doubts. I’m hopeful that he will indeed become a very efficient 20-5-5 secondary ball handler, who is also a good, maybe even great defender.

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