FanPost

Hollinger on Rookies

It's actually pretty amazing the way that Hollinger does it.  He loves being the stats guru, but he uses it to twist completely around, looking only in his one chosen direction.  And that direction is always turned away from a half-full Clippers glass.  Even when some one is standing right there, like an Eric Gordon, he'll go in the other direction every time.

So Hollinger is noticing what we've all known for awhile, that the early dominance of Derrick Rose and OJ Mayo in the ROY race just doesn't add up at this point in the season, and there are some new candidates who are worthy of careful attention.  He mentions Westbrook and Gordon.  And if you're looking for more about Gordon and how his production fits in, you can quit there, because Gordon is gone, never mentioned again.

In part this is because Hollinger is a slave to PER.  Gordon's PER is on the low side, despite his obvious great skills and value to his team.  He doesn't rebound with the necessary frequency, and he's not a PG who piles up easy assists.  The styles and roles of Rose, Mayo, and Westbrook are all better designed to generate PER. 

But Hollinger wants, for once, to get inside his numbers.  So he looks at Mayo and his low FG% and TSP and assists and says that Mark Gasol, who piles up PER with rebounds and a high FG%, but scores relatively few points, is probably the superior player.  And he does the same thing with Rose and Brook Lopez.  He also critiques Westbrook, who doesn't shoot very well and has FG% issues.  Since he's arguing that the big guys should be recognized, he rationalizes their lower numbers based on playing fewer minutes, and wants attention paid to per-40 minute numbers.  Maybe I'm getting a bit sloppy in the specifics of the breakdown, but that's the general drift.  Big guys play less, score less and take fewer shots, and shoot a high percentage and they get rebounds.  So Brook Lopez should by ROY.

Here's the thing.  We just saw Brook Lopez play against the Clippers.  He's very good.  I think what Hollinger is trying to say is that Brook Lopez has exceeded expectations, he has made a very smooth transition to the NBA, where he is going to be a fixture for a long time and he has considerable potential.  But is Brook Lopez at the stage where he is putting a significant imprint on multiple games, where he is a major force for his team, with rebounding and scoring numbers that reflect that?  The ROY isn't about how much potential a player has, combined with a smooth transition to the league.  It's about a player who is a handful for any opponent, right now, in the rookie year.  A player who will make a difference for his team, who is consistent, who has some big, even monster games that show scary potential, but who is productive and skilled and thoughtful on the court as a rookie.

When Hollinger is using big man shooting percentages and TSP, he never looks to the obvious guy on the other side of his argument, Eric Gordon.  Yes, EJ could raise his PER by rebounding a little bit better and having the playmaking opportunity to dish out a few more assists.  But if you give him a break on that, and take a look at his relatively high usage (compared to big men), backcourt shooting percentages, and his TSP, which is a legitimate, extremely good number, and take his scoring and his multiple "big" games into account, he's an obvious counter to not just the Rose and Mayo dip and dilemma, but also the weak Brook Lopez/Mark Gasol argument Hollinger makes.

What did Hollinger say about Gordon going into the season?  He has a hard time seeing the value of anybody on the Clippers, as we know.     

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