Predicting Which Players Will Top Ken Pomeroy's Offensive Ratings in 2013-14
While many college basketball fans, commentators and even scouts use the subjective "eyeball test" to determine the best players, Ken Pomeroy has his own formula.
The bottom line with Pomeroy is numbers but not just straight stats.
Factors such as pace of play, strength of schedule and even luck are accommodated for in his system, and he even created a player of the year award he calls the kPOY.
Defense factors into who ultimately wins the kPOY, but we are interested in the offensive side of the ball for this article.
Overall scoring totals, shooting percentages and efficiency, assist-to-turnover ratios and how many possessions you are used for all play a role in which players top Pomeroy’s offensive ratings.
Read on to see which players could top these rankings in 2013-14.
Doug McDermott is almost like an answer key to the Pomeroy test.
He is the perfect combination of high shooting percentages and high offensive usage and could very well lead the nation in scoring in 2013-14.
Last year, he shot nearly 60 percent from inside the arc and almost 50 percent from three-point range. Throw on top of that his 87.5 percent free-throw clip, and we have one of the most efficient players in the entire country.
Creighton will run its offense through McDermott again this season, which means he will have plenty of opportunities to rack up his usage rates.
The opposing defenses will be stronger this year than McDermott is accustomed to, but his talent is more than enough to overcome the new-look Big East.
McDermott will certainly be near the top of Pomeroy’s offensive rankings.
Part of what makes Pomeroy’s system so all-encompassing is its focus on pace-adjusted statistics instead of raw numbers.
It allows us to compare the production of players on teams such as Wisconsin, which prefers to take the air out of the ball, to those who turn basketball games into track meets.
Sure, watching the Badgers melt the shot clock away can sometimes be about as exciting as picking weeds, but that doesn't mean they aren't efficient on the offensive end.
Last season, Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker made about 50 percent of his two-point shots, 40 percent of his three-pointers and 70 percent of his free throws.
Those numbers are certainly impressive, but they don’t jump off the page unless you consider that he was a freshman in the rugged Big Ten.
Expect Dekker to thrive as Wisconsin’s go-to guy in 2013-14. With more experience and confidence, his efficiency should improve.
With the talent he has and the high usage rate he will receive, Dekker will make a somewhat surprising appearance near the top of Pomeroy’s rankings.
Let’s not sugarcoat this—Davante Gardner would have received more minutes over the past two years if he was in a little better shape.
However, his time on the court has improved each of his three seasons, so expect to see Marquette’s big man on the floor more as a senior.
While Gardner only played about half of his squad’s minutes in 2012-13, his usage rate and efficiency during those stretches was impressive. He still averaged nearly 12 points a night and shot almost 60 percent from the field.
However, the numbers that really make Gardner appealing to Pomeroy’s rankings are his free-throw totals. He got to the line five times a night last year in only 21 minutes and shot 83.5 percent there, which is notable for anyone, especially a big man.
Gardner will rack up the points, shooting percentages and efficiency totals when on the floor as a senior. The only question is how often that will be.
Hype doesn’t count for any bonus points in Pomeroy’s system, but Andrew Wiggins’ overall production will, which will help land him near the top of these rankings come year's end.
One thing is for certain with Wiggins—he will receive one of the highest usage rates in the country.
You don't land a one-and-done talent like Wiggins and not use him as early and often as you can. Bill Self knows that.
Kansas’ offense will run through the heralded freshman, and he will deliver the numbers Pomeroy is looking for. He will shoot a high percentage, get to the free-throw line (which is absolutely critical in Pomeroy’s rankings) and put up a solid assist-to-turnover ratio.
Wiggins will also get out in transition from the defensive end, which will lead to easy opportunities and more overall efficiency.
Wiggins will be in the running for National Player of the Year and the kPOY in 2013-14.
Syracuse is ready to challenge the ACC’s establishment of Duke and North Carolina this year partially because of C.J. Fair’s emergence as one of the best players in the country.
Fair is on the shortlist of candidates for the conference’s player of the year award with the likes of Jabari Parker and others, and he should also find himself near the top of Pomeroy’s offensive rankings.
As a junior, Fair scored about 15 points a night and shot nearly 50 percent from the field.
However, he shot an impressive 47 percent from behind the three-point line and 75 percent from the free-throw stripe, which is terrific for a big man and will improve his efficiency totals in Pomeroy’s system.
Expect Fair’s efficiency and overall usage rate to improve as a senior.
Watching the Orange compete in the ACC will be one of the more intriguing storylines of the season.
Follow and interact with college basketball writer Scott Polacek on Twitter @ScottPolacek.