Today, I am taking a look at five players and stats for them that are truely telling.
-In his senior season at Illinois, Brian Randle was expected to be one of the leaders this year. Standing at 6'8" and 220 pounds, Randle needed to have his best season in order for the Illini to have success.
Randle fouled out in 7 games this season, going into today's Big Ten tournament. In the seven games he fouled out, five of them were big games against likely NCAA Tournament teams (Arizona, Wisconsin, at Purdue, vs Purdue, Indiana). Illinois' record in these seven games 1-6, with the only win coming by one point against the Missouri Tigers.
Randle's four year numbers to date:
2003-04 32 GP, 9 GS, 11.1 MPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.7 PPG
2004-05 Out for Season with Injury
2005-06 32 GP, 32 GS, 26.7 MPG, 5.4 RPG, 8.5 PPG
2006-07 24 GP, 23 GS, 25.7 MPG, 5 RPG, 7.4 PPG
2007-08 29 GP, 28 GS, 24.6 MPG, 5.6 RPG, 9.2 PPG
-Standing at 7'2" and 275 pounds, Roy Hibbert returned for his senior season expecting to contend for Player of the Year honors. With fellow star Jeff Green now in the NBA, Hibbert was expected to put up bigger numbers for the Hoyas.
This has not been the case for Hibbert. In only four games this season, Hibbert has pulled down double digit rebounds - at Old Dominion (10), at DePaul (11), at Pittsburgh (10), and at West Virginia.
Equally as troubling for Hibbert has been an inability to improve measurably over his last three years at Georgetown. His numbers:
2005-06 11.6 PPG 6.9 RPG 72.3 FT%
2006-07 12.9 PPG 6.9 RPG 68.6 FT%
2007-08 13.6 PPG 6.4 RPG 65.9 FT%
-One player who has come through in a big way this season has been Indiana power forward D.J. White. White clearly has improved his conditioning and off-the-ball defense, but most impressive has been his work on the boards. White has pulled down double-digit rebound totals in 20 of Indiana's 31 games this season. He currently stands seventeeth in the country in rebounds and first in the Big Ten in total rebounds and offensive rebounds. Earlier in the season, White even pulled down ten or more rebounds twelve times in a thirteen game stretch.
Excluding the 2005-06 season in which White only played in five games due to an injury, a steady increase in numbers can be seen in White's production.
2004-05: 28.1 MPG 13.3 PPG 4.9 RPG
2006-07: 31.8 MPG 13.8 PPG 7.3 RPG
2007-08: 33.2 MPG 17.1 PPG 10.3 RPG
-If you take a look at the guys who are averaging 19 points per game or more and 6 rebounds a game or more this season in the NBA, you will see many names you would expect - LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Yao Ming, and Tim Duncan among others. Seventeen guys this year have reached this feat, but one that you would not have expected is Hedo Turkoglu.
In fact, if you limit this benchmark to Eastern Conference players, only five guys make this list, with Turkoglu being one of them. After several shaky seasons to start his career in Sacramento and then San Antonio, Turkoglu has really found his niche in Orlando. As someone who because of his size is able to create matchup problems, Turkoglu is able to beat slower defenders to the basket and shoot over shorter defenders from the perimeter.
Turkoglu currently ranks at thirty-eighth in the NBA in three point shooting percentage and sixth in the league in three pointers made.
-Another guy I really like is Danny Granger. Although the Indiana Pacers are having another disappointing season, Granger has been a brightspot. He is a do-it-all type of wing player who has great length. On a true contender, I think Granger could be a team's second scorer and can defend multiple positions.
In his second season playing big-time minutes in the NBA, Granger has seen in increase in numbers in virtually every category. Getting to the free throw consistently is the one area Granger needs to improve on. In fourteen games where Granger has attempted at least seven free throws the Pacers have a 7-7 record, a far cry from their current 25-39 record. Granger currently stands at thirty-ninth in the league in free throws attempted, one spot behind teammate Mike Dunleavy.