The past week featured three more losses, but finished with a gratifying victory in Los Angeles over Chris Paul’s Clippers to break the team’s seven game skid. Let’s take a look at how the most recent week of games have affected the rankings.
All season long, these player power rankings will be presented alongside various*“advanced stats”*in order to more accurately evaluate each Hornets player’s impact (click here for a glossary of the statistic abbreviations). In addition,*we also have created a chart*with the goal of standardizing advanced stat categories to distinguish the good numbers from the bad ones. Hopefully, these tools give each of you the means to comprehend the advanced statistical metrics used in these rankings as well as other columns throughout Hornets247.com.
1) Ryan Anderson, PF - 13 GP, 32.9 MPG, 60.3 eFG%, 19.5% DRR, 6.0% TOR, .162 WS/48, 21.0 PER
Anderson’s play thus far combined with his ability to stay on the court makes him the surest #1 so far this season. Ryan has made an insane 21 of his 33 attempts (63.6%) from long range since the last edition of these rankings came out to go along with 7.5 rebounds per game and only .75 turnovers per game over that stretch. Anderson’s eFG% is 10 times higher than his turnover rate; given how often he touches the ball in this Hornets offense, that is incredibly impressive. If Ryan can keep up this production, he may have an all-star game berth in his future come February.
2) Greivis Vasquez, PG*– 13 GP, 33.4 MPG, 50.5 TS%, 12.5% DRR,*46.8% AR,* 21.0% TOR, .029 WS/48, 14.9 PER
After Anderson, there are about four players (Vasquez, Smith, Davis, Lopez) who have an argument to be in this #2 spot. For now, I’m going with Greivis. I really hate putting him here because of his 20 turnovers over the past three games, but his turnaround offensively deserves recognition. If it were just about production, he wouldn’t be ranked this high; however, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that without him, the offense would be a total train wreck. He is far and away the best passer on the team, and without those turnovers, two of his three most recent performances would have been not just good, but elite. If he can learn how to keep that aggressiveness offensively without being so reckless with the ball (admittedly not an easy thing to do), the benefit for the Hornets as a team would be gigantic.
3) Anthony Davis, PF*–*6*GP, 28.3 MPG, 56.7 TS%, 14.1/19.9/17.1% O/D/TRR, 9.6% TOR, 0.191 WS/48, 26.1 PER
Going from playing in 2/3 of the team’s games to under half of them unfortunately has to knock Davis down a couple spots. His play in those six games was so strong that he is able to remain in the top three, but that may not remain the case for long. Get well soon, AD23!
4) Jason Smith, PF - 13 GP, 16.5 MPG, 57.5 TS%, 8.5% ORR, 11.0% TOR, .130 WS/48, 18.5 PER
With Davis’ extended absence, Smith has received an uptick in minutes and has done pretty well with them; removing his 1 minute of action after getting poked in the eye in Phoenix, he is averaging 17.8 mpg in his other 12 games. His efficiency has taken a hit, but he is still producing fairly strongly, delivering 41 points on 37 shots in his past 3 games of real action. His mere two turnovers in his 75 minutes played over the past week has helped a great deal as well.
5) Robin Lopez, C - 13 GP, 27.7 MPG, 8.8% ORR, 52.4 TS%, 11.4% TOR, .082 WS/48, 17.0 PER
Lopez appears to be generating more negative buzz than positive recently, but I really don’t understand why apart from his struggles on the defensive glass, which haven’t even been that poor. Other than that, he has played pretty well; he has certainly contributed more than most people expected from him. Robin’s turnover rate is 4% lower than the league average for centers so far this year (15.4%). He is doing a pretty decent job of protecting the rim with a team high 6.5% block rate. His offensive rebound rate and true shooting percentage are both less than 1% lower than the average for starting centers thus far this season. Lopez’s 73.7% free throw percentage doesn’t hurt either, especially when compared to Okafor’s 51.4% mark last season. Add it all up, and we arrive at an above-average PER for Lopez. Obviously, there’s more to evaluating his all-around performance than stats can tell, but apart from his defensive rebound rate, I don’t see a huge reason to complain.
6) Al-Farouq Aminu, SF - 13 GP, 31.9 MPG, 54.0 TS%, 21.5% DRR, 12.1% AR, 21.0% TOR, .050 WS/48, 14.4 PER
With his usage rate up about 2.5% from last season, Aminu’s turnover issues are killing him more than ever before. If he could hold steady at merely a below-average turnover rate as opposed to his current awful one, his production thus far this season would likely be seen as well above-average by most. Instead, the strides that he continues to make on defense and on the boards are being held back by his failure to take care of the ball on offense. Even his true shooting percentage is an outstanding 5% higher than his career average heading into this season. I continue to be baffled by how Aminu cannot reduce his turnover rate to a number that, while still poor, could at least be tolerable. Given the fact that he is still only 22, I still have hope that he can improve in this area, but the clock is ticking.
7) Brian Roberts, PG - 13 GP, 14.6 MPG, 55.3 TS%, 32.5% AR, 12.8% TOR, .084 WS/48, 17.8 PER
I keep waiting for Roberts to come back down to Earth, but he refuses to do so, and that is 100% fine by me. Though he doesn’t look for his teammates as often as you’d like from a point guard, it’s hard to argue with his results so far. His great shooting form has led to a 42.1% average from beyond the arc, paving the way for his 55.3% true shooting percentage, tops among all Hornets guards this season. The real “buzz kill” with Roberts comes in the form of his age; he will turn 27 in a week, leading to the assumption that he does not have much room left to grow.
8) Austin Rivers, SG - 12 GP, 28.8 MPG, 43.0 TS%, 15.5% AR, 16.5% TOR, -.037 WS/48, 7.6 PER
Welcome to the NBA, Austin! Sure, he’s still struggling mightily on defense, but you know what? So is leading rookie of the year candidate Damian Lillard (scroll down to #3 in Zach Lowe’s “10 Things I like and Don’t Like). The most important thing here is that in Monday night’s victory over the Clippers, he showed signs of improvement. As Michael McNamara noted, the Hornets gave Rivers some run at the point when he and Vasquez were both in the game, and the results were pretty solid. Still quite a long way to go for the rook, but it was nice to see some positive strides for a change.
9) Darius Miller, SF - 12 GP, 14.3 MPG, 60.0 TS%, 11.4% AR, 17.7% TOR, .065 WS/48, 8.8 PER
Miller has been fairly tough to grade so far this season, especially recently. It’s not that he has played particularly poorly, which his PER may indicate, but he just hasn’t done much of anything. Given his role at Kentucky, Miller playing more of a complementary role makes a lot of sense, but I didn’t expect this little involvement. In fact, among all qualifying players, Miller is tied for the 5th lowest usage rate in the NBA this season. Again, this is not meant to be a knock on Miller, as he is still getting acclimated to the league; it’s just difficult to evaluate him at this point in time.
10) Lance Thomas, F - 8 GP, 11.3 MPG, 51.4 TS%, 8.2% ORR, 6.0% TOR, .088 WS/48, 11.9 PER
As I tweeted yesterday, Lance Thomas has attempted more free throws (23) than field goals (21) this season, giving him a crazy high free throw rate of 109.5%. Reggie Evans led all qualifying players in this stat last year with a 99% FTR (Tyson Chandler was second at 89%), so while his current rate is unsustainable, it is reasonable to hope that he can both remain effective at earning trips to the line (largely through offensive rebound put-backs) and refrain from taking shots outside of his range or comfort zone. Doing so should also keep his turnover rate down around where it is now. Overall, Thomas has done a great job so far this season of making the most of the skills he does have, and not trying to over-extend himself in an attempt to earn more minutes. He knows his role, and is serving it well.
11) Roger Mason Jr., SG - 13 GP, 20.2 MPG, 53.4 TS%, 11.0% DRR, 8.4% AR, 8.6% TOR, .040 WS/48, 8.5 PER
Well, at least Mason knows what he’s on the team for. Over the past week, he shot the ball over twice as many times from beyond the arc (15) than inside the 3-point line (7). He made six of those fifteen 3-pointers and just one of his other seven shots. Marco Belinelli shot 37.7% from long range last year, and Mason is shooting 37.1% from that distance this year. Roger really just doesn’t add anything apart from his slightly above average perimeter shooting, so it’s tough to get overly excited about him whenever he’s in the game.
12) Xavier Henry, SG - 5*GP, 12.0 MPG, 40.0 eFG%, 15.0% DRR, -.064 WS/48, 4.7 PER
I’m finished with talking about Henry until he gives me a reason to do so.
NR) Eric Gordon, SG
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