Category 11: Wing Fours

Category 11 Wings: “Wing Fours”

(Skills: Size and Frame to Play the 4, Off-Ball Shooting, Situational Post Ups)

Some On Ball Skill/Post Up Ability

  1. Harrison Barnes (Sophomore) #7
  2. Jeff Green (Junior) #5
  3. Marcus Morris (Junior) #14

Off-Ball

  1. Otto Porter JR (Sophomore) #3
  2. Maurice Harkless (Freshman) #15
  3. Solomon Hill (Senior) #23

*Also in Category 11B: Current versions of Jared Dudley, Luol Deng and PJ Tucker; Lance Thomas.

*Potential Rookies: Paul Zipser

I. What Sets Them Apart

This archetype draws most of its value by having the size and strength to swing to the 4 spot in most matchups and provide switching versatility.  They aren’t plus on-ball and off ball defenders, separating them from category 5 players, and they don’t have the on-ball scoring skills of category 10 players.  Essentially, this archetype is mostly off ball “shooting threats” on offense who provide enough size to play the 4 spot, rendering their lack of ball-skills and gaping lack of creation for others less damning from that position.

Barnes, Green and Morris separate themselves from the others here by providing some on-ball utility mostly in being competent posting up mismatches.  Barnes’ role on the Warriors personifies this category: his ability to body up most fours allowed Draymond to kick to the 5 and really unleash hell with that added shooting and playmaking boost.  Barnes isn’t great at any one thing.  He’s an above average 3pt shooter, but not a great one, and he gives you enough off the bounce to not be a complete on-ball liability.

Green similarly isn’t adept at any one thing, as he has seemingly drifted in and out of games his entire career.  He has the size and respectable enough shooting to garner playing time at the 4.  Morris had some impressive post up efficiency last year taking advantage of smaller wings down low, but he isn’t an adept enough playmaker to vault into category 10.  These three players are capable enough on ball to garner some separation from the second subsection, but they’re ideally used off ball.

The second sub-category is comprised of basically entirely off-ball players.  Otto Porter has the most promise here to develop ball-skills and improve enough defensively to garner 3&D status, but his off ball defense needs a lot of work.  Both he and Harkless play in optimal settings next to two ball dominant scoring guards where they can really refine their off ball 3&D games. Harkless is a borderline non-shooter at this stage who can’t dribble, but he’s never landed consistent minutes until last season and there is a sliver of upside there.

Lastly, Solo Hill took off in the playoffs last year in an off-ball role with his plus frame enabling him to swing to the 4, but to this point he’s devoid of ball-skills.  The hope is he can space the floor well enough and provide enough defensive versatility to warrant consistent playing time.

This archetype also encompasses late career 3&D guys who lose their athleticism such as Deng, Tucker, and Dudley, affording a long-term trajectory to that player archetype.

Overall, these players are largely off-ball “weak side” players (or should be used that way) who offer value swinging to the 4 and providing some spacing on offense and the ability to hold up physically against 4s on D and offer some switching.

A.Off Ball Shooting

2015/16 Regular Season Spot Up Playtype

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  • Morris and Barnes had plus seasons spotting up, Barnes benefiting from incredible shot quality. Morris is an underrated average shooter at 36% from 3 in his career.

B.Limited On Ball Creation

2015/16 Regular Season Usage Rate (ESPN Small Forwards)

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  • These players all have below average usage rates for their position, with only Green at near average (he’s also a reserve which aided his possession finishing totals).

2015/16 Regular Season Isolation Playtype

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  • Morris has the highest isolation frequency and total finishing possessions, but is slightly below average efficiency wise.  His isos should be scaled back.
  • Harkless, Jones and Porter are non-factors here.

2015/16 Regular Season PNR BH Playtype

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  • Morris again leads the possession and frequency totals here, but he’s not efficient.  Everyone else has far below average low frequency and possession totals.

2015/16 Regular Season Post Up Playtype

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  • Morris’ best attribute is his ability to post up smaller players on switches.  Barnes and Green also offer a modicum of ability to exploit mismatches.  Harkless and Porter’s lack of prowess here really impacts their offensive utility because teams can hide most players on them.

2015/16 Regular Season FTr

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  • None of these players get to the line at a high rate.

2015/16 Regular Season Drives Per Game (Forwards > 6’4″ Non-Inclusive)

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  • Another metric that sheds light on lack of creation and handling acumen, only Green has even borderline secondary handler drive totals.
  • These players largely drive to score, not to pass.

2015/16 Regular Season Dribble Pull Ups

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  • Morris, Barnes and Porter shoot a respectable number off the bounce, affording them some on-ball utility.  Porter will have to kick up his shot total here with corresponding efficiency to garner enhanced on-ball value.

2015/16 Regular Season Restricted Area Finishing

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  • As largely off ball players shooting and slashing on cuts to finish at the rim are paramount, and each of these guys finishes relatively well in the restricted area.

C.Defense/Rebounding

2015/16 Regular Season DBPM

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2015/16 Regular Season DRPM

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  • Otto Porter is most likely to vault from this category to a 3&D versatile cat 5 designation with a greater plus sample on defense.  There are some promising indicators, but the eye test doesn’t align.
  • None of these players are impact defenders, instead relying on positional size and frame to add versatility.

2015/16 Regular Season Rebounding Rate (ESPN Small Forwards)

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  • This is the element that disallows these players from playing 4 full-time: their inability to hold up on the glass.  Hill and Harkless are right on the respectable precipice of average, while the other 4 are situational 4s due to a lack of consistent rebounding.

II. College Indicators/Translations

1.Measurements

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  • All of these players are 6’7″ or taller and everyone but Porter has an average to above average frame.
  • Porter, Green, and Harkless all have plus length, meeting all the measurement benchmarks.  Green and Barnes tested off the charts athletically, but it hasn’t translated in an overall lateral and horizontal sense.

2.40 Minutes Pace Adjusted

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  • I didn’t see a ton of utility in breaking down each player’s college stats individually or collectively given the limited roles of each player currently.

3.Efficiency

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4.Usage

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5.Hoop-Math

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  • Harkless and Hill in his Junior year got to the rim at a respectable rate, with Hill finishing at a high clip.  Porter’s 2pt jumper FG% over a two year sample was promising, as he was mostly known for being a midrange combo-forward.
  • Barnes had an elite unassisted 2pt jumper total.

6.Sports-Reference

BPM All Time (Since Inception)

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III.Overall Takeaways:

  1. Low Draft Capital Investment: Unless a player is a knockdown 3pt shooter with at least slightly below average defense, this is not an archetype that I’m interested in investing heavily in.  I had Paul Zipser ranked 19th in this last class because I believe in the shooting. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had him as high as essentially a “weak side” player.  Guys like Barnes and Porter were taken for their scoring, but their profiles and the eye test didn’t paint that high level creation picture.
  2. Late Career Archetype: As stated in the intro, the natural athleticism regression of 3&D guys can result in a player of this ilk.  Guys like Dudley, Deng and Tucker have found late career success playing this role, with Dudley being most adept because of the shooting.

Next Up: Category 12 Wings: “1 Position Defender 1 Skill Shooters”

Stats provided by NBA.Com, ESPN.Com, Draftexpress.Com, Sports-Reference.Com, Hoop-Math.Com and Basketball-Reference.Com