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Rookieball a losing proposition, but may not be a problem for Chicago

Rookieball a losing proposition, but may not be a problem for Chicago

ESPN wrote a piece analyzing the impact of rookies using RPM (Real plus minus) to show that they don't frequently add many wins to a team. The analysis was done to reassure Cavs fans that they made the right decision in trading Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love (as if they should need reassurance). Maybe, must maybe, Wiggins is a better player, but probably not for three or four years and they don't need a better player When LeBron's 34 as much as they do now.

The analysis, however, doesn't look so good for Chicago Bulls fans.

** Charts below from link above **
Rookie plus minus

Rookie wins added for two seasons

Typical RPM by player level
> 6.0 All-NBA
3.0 to 6.0 All-Star
2.0 to 3.0 Plus Starter
1.0 to 2.0 Starter
0.0 to 1.0 Minus Starter
-1.5 to 0.0 Rotation Player
-2.4 to -1.5 Minus Rotation Player
< -2.4 Replacement Level

Even #1 picks didn't frequently move the needle in a big way in year 1. Bla

Year 1 Year 2
Name Draft RPM WAR RPM WAR
Dwight Howard 2004 -0.2 3.6 4.5 11.6
LeBron James 2003 0 4.5 4.4 13.3
Yao Ming 2002 1.5 5.4 3.7 9.4
Blake Griffin 2009 -- -- 2.4 9.1
Anthony Davis 2012 0.8 3.6 1.9 6.2
Greg Oden 2007 -- -- 1.5 3.1
John Wall 2010 -1.5 1.4 1.4 5.5
Andrew Bogut 2005 1.1 5 1.3 5.1
Kyrie Irving 2011 -0.1 2.2 0.9 4.1
Kwame Brown 2001 -2.3 0 -1.1 1.3
Derrick Rose 2008 -1.9 0.8 -1.5 1.5
Andrea Bargnani 2006 -1.6 0.8 -2 0.4
Anthony Bennett 2013 -4.8 -1 -- --

Chicago seems to be pinning significant hopes for improvement on two rookies. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. So looking at the above data it doesn't initially seem all that pretty of a situation.

First, let's agree to quantify Mirotic as around pick #10 in this draft and assume he's a similar prospect to McDermott. He was easily a better prospect than Dario Saric who was taken at #12.

Next let's remember a few things, most lottery picks are chosen based on ultimate potential. They've typically got more growth in their game left due to coming out at a younger age. It's frequent that the majority of players picked in the lottery are freshman and sophomores who still have considerable skill improvement left to do.

Mirotic and McDermott aren't blessed with such upside left to their games most likely, however, it also means they likely have a much shorter adjustment period to the NBA. Their skills are far more refined than the typical lottery picks skills are going to be.

The article also only shows the averages of what these players did for their teams. However, obviously there are booms and busts in the lottery and as teams move down the draft there are far more busts than booms. This is both a blessing and a curse for Chicago. If they drafted two busts than they're completely screwed.

However, if they drafted two boom players it will be much better.

It's worth looking at the type of skill that they bring to the table as well. Kyle Korver was a bad ass shooter in the NBA from day one. I'd guess overall that if you were a bad ass college shooter that you're also likely to be a bad ass NBA shooter right away too. Guys who are "automatic" from three, typically have that skill right away.

Many guys become very good three point shooters as time goes on, but the truly dangerous snipers, the ones you don't dare leave open, typically have it right away already. We're hoping that McDermott and Mirotic both fall into this category. If so, it suggests that at least one of their prime NBA skills should have considerable polish immediately.

Finally, looking at the typical RPM chart, what does Chicago need out of Mirotic and McDermott? They probably don't need "star" player initially in order to make a big impact. They might not even need "starter". The poor starter or rotational player category might be enough to make a significant positive bump for the Bulls.

Normalizing out the curve, the typical rookie from their draft status is probably at "minus rotation player" level. The Bulls will need the M&M boys to play 1-2 levels above what's typical. When looking at their overall refined skills, experience relative to most rookies, and types of skills they look to transfer this doesn't seem so unlikely.

The main thing will be whether they are busts or not. If not, they'll likely both make a positive impact immediately. If so, well we're screwed.

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  • Moneyball. The FO was playing that when they got M and M - low risk, high reward. Now we will see.

  • Interesting, but not for me. I don't know if I'm old school or just not smart enough to understand the math, but I don't give stats like this much thought. There are so many variables that go into stuff like this. The facts that the Bulls are already a good team make a big difference on wins by a #11 pick. I'm sure McDermott's wins added numbers will be better in Chicago than they would be if he stayed in Denver. Just like Wiggins' will be worse in Minnesota than if he stayed with James in Cleveland. In the end, it may be fun to talk about but I don't give it much stock. Besides, the fate of this years team rest more with Rose, Gasol, and Noah than with McDermott and Mirotic.

  • I think your discounting the fact that Mirotic is not a "typical" rookie, considering he won the Euro League version of the MVP award and has been playing in the Euro League since he was 16. I believe that both McBuckets and Mirotic will have significantly positive impacts on the Bulls team this year.

  • All I know is that Mirotic and McDermott make the Bulls better. If healthy, this Bulls team could be really good and M&M will be a big part of many wins.

    We have not seen depth and shooting like this. Yes, the original bench mob was deep, but this bench could be deeper and more skilled if M&M are solid.

    It will be interesting to see how this team comes together. There should be a lot in Thib's playbook that went unused in recent years given the fact that there were no shooters and less talent.

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    It's going to take the efforts of McDermott ,Mirotic and last yr rookie Snell to elevate the Bulls veteran core to another level. If they should struggle the Bulls will continue to be a middle of the pack 4th or 5th seed playoff opponent, who'll be fortunate to make it past the 1st rd of the playoffs.
    Last season the Bulls lacked players who could shoot the ball in the basket. This season hopefully these rooks will be able to shoot the ball in the basket. However, scoring is not the only thing these youngsters will have to bring in order for the Bulls to be championship contenders, but their rebounding, defense, and ability to find the open man without turning the ball over will be key also.
    McDermott has logged starters mins in college, so it would be wise to insert him into the starting lineup with the Bulls. He's their sniper. Their 20 plus per game point man. He doesn't have to be the next Larry Bird, but he has to be more than a student going through a learning curve.
    Mirotic's contributions off of the bench will help in maintaining or expanding a lead with the 2nd unit. From what I read about him he's a good spot up shooter, who'll have to keep out of foul trouble. Hopefully, he improves on his rebounding and proves to be a good scorer in the low post. If so, I see him as a younger version of Pau Gasol. If not he's Rasard Lewis. A PF/SF who camps out on the 3 pt line and lacks the passion to grab rebounds.
    Tony Snell's play is indicative of the short leash Bulls Nation has on their rooks, so a solid 2nd year from him is also needed. He's got one of the sweetest shooting strokes I've seen, and to watch the flight of his shot is almost textbook material, but this yr his shot has got to go in. He's not a great ball handler, but he's the lessor of the two evils when it's between him and the Bulls other SG Jimmy Butler. Snell can drive and finish if he shows more self confidence this yr. He has the ability to get to the free throw line and draw fouls. Hopefully, Snell has spent many hours this off season reviewing tapes, scouting his opponent's tendencies, and how he could become a prime defender.
    Yes, it's a tall order to ask youngsters to come into a league they basically know nothing about and perform at the level of a 10 year vet, but basketball is a simple sport to master, but few have done so. All you have to do is score, and keep the other team from scoring. Even a rookie can do that.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Man I certainly hope that Mirotic doesn't turn out to be Rashard Lewis, otherwise we have to give him a 6 year $122 million contract in the summer of 2017.

    Although it would be great if he deserved that kind of contract, as it would mean that he basically became the second coming of Dirk.

  • I have a very simple explanation on the above stats to expect M&M to be difference makers. Most of the rookies from this article were expected to be franchise players, with a much higher expectations than M&M. You could not expect Rose to be what Rose was in 2010 on his rookie year. However, M&M are not going to be the Bulls franchise players, but solid complements, with potential All-Star level. So, the chances for them to be difference makers on year one is much higher than Rose or Lebron on day one.

  • All they need to do is hit open shots when DRose sucks in the defense. If they shoot at least 37% from 3, im happy. Just spread the floor for DRose that's it.

  • This stat makes me think of 87-88 season when rookies S. Pippen & H. Grant added quality depth to the team and the Bulls won 10 more games than the year prior.

  • Yes these rookies remind us of the Pippen and Horace Grant Era. Was that the year Oakley was traded for Cartwright and Paxson just needed more playing time to become an outside knock-down shooter. And Cartwright took Oakley's place with a mission to protect Jordan.

    What player on this year's team has been assigned to protect and stand up with Rose? Has the FO ignored this protection issue? Jordan had protection, why not Rose? Especially since he's coming back from major injuries?

  • Nice charts but M & M at the most will be used as spot up shooters to space the floor... I think both are capable of doing that and anything else is icing but they must play defense to stay on the court or you will see a lot of Snell taking their minutes.

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