What to expect from Paschal Chukwu next season? (Syracuse basketball player forecasts)

CuseFaninVT

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#3
Okay, so for a frame of reference Fab was 20 when he played his first season of college basketball - at SU. Paschal turned 23 shortly after the most recent season finished and this was his fourth year in college, albeit with limited game experience.

This comparison is nuts. Fab showed obvious signs of offensive ability his frosh season. PC really hasn't yet. I hope that's not a controversial statement.
 

SoBristol

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#4
The comparison is to Fab’s soph season, but obviously Fab had more ability on offense. Fab was also bulky and much stronger at 21 compared to PC at 24.
The surprise is how well Chukwu compares on defense. And can he get stronger and improve in his final season?
 

CuseFaninVT

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#5
The comparison is to Fab’s soph season, but obviously Fab had more ability on offense. Fab was also bulky and much stronger at 21 compared to PC at 24.
The surprise is how well Chukwu compares on defense. And can he get stronger and improve in his final season?
My bad, you are correct there about the comp.
 

Cusefan0307

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#6
Okay, so for a frame of reference Fab was 20 when he played his first season of college basketball - at SU. Paschal turned 23 shortly after the most recent season finished and this was his fourth year in college, albeit with limited game experience.

This comparison is nuts. Fab showed obvious signs of offensive ability his frosh season. PC really hasn't yet. I hope that's not a controversial statement.
I'm not sure it's controversial, but he compared Tyus to Donte Greene and Chukwu to Fab. Most fans have the complete opposite opinions of both groups of players. It is interesting that statistically they are similar. Maybe we are biased or maybe not? I'm not sure.
 

Lucid

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#8
I really liked Chukwu's improvement last season. He took note of his own weaknesses (ie. free throws) and made a concerted effort to improve them. There's no reason to think that he isn't doing the same during the off-season. His defense got progressively better (as did the entire team's) and you could tell that, even though he was still pushed around, he was working to improve his offensive positioning and shot-making.

Bodes well, I believe, for the 2018-19 campaign.
 

MSOrange

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#12
Okay, so for a frame of reference Fab was 20 when he played his first season of college basketball - at SU. Paschal turned 23 shortly after the most recent season finished and this was his fourth year in college, albeit with limited game experience.

This comparison is nuts. Fab showed obvious signs of offensive ability his frosh season. PC really hasn't yet. I hope that's not a controversial statement.
First of all I applaud your restraint in this thread. I'm sure you were amazed that there was anything to include in the best game, strengths or ceiling section. ;)

But I'm actually surprised his stats to compare so favorably to sophomore Fab. I don't think anyone can argue that Fab was more fluid offensively. I think overall Fab was probably better defensively also even though Chukwu has the edge in blocks. Fab was great at taking the charge.
 

JazzNC

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#13
I think Chukwu gave us as much as he was capable of and more last season. His strengths are his work ethic, and his height and rim protection. He's very limited offensively, in that he struggles with lobs, and alley-oops. He doesn't have the best hands, and is very soft at the rim. That said, he accomplished a lot last season, especially given the number of minutes he had to play. His maturity and grasp of the zone are huge assets too. I expect him to be solid next year, but he really needs to get stronger. I'm not sure it's in his build to bulk up. It will be fun to see if he can continue to improve. I think the comparison to Fab is meaningless. They're IMO, very different players.
 

CuseFaninVT

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#14
First of all I applaud your restraint in this thread. I'm sure you were amazed that there was anything to include in the best game, strengths or ceiling section. ;)

But I'm actually surprised his stats to compare so favorably to sophomore Fab. I don't think anyone can argue that Fab was more fluid offensively. I think overall Fab was probably better defensively also even though Chukwu has the edge in blocks. Fab was great at taking the charge.
Thanks. It took a great deal of discipline.
 

NorSyr66

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#15
To me one of the most impressive stats for PC last year was his HUGE improvement in free throws. That does not come without work. He started the year about as poorly as anyone could imagine and by the end of the year he was not a target to take out when the game got tight in the last few minutes. In fact, if I recall he won a game for us at the line.

I realize the extra year for him is mostly his call. He most likely could get an extra red shirt year after the medical problem two years ago. It has happened for others. His decision is whether to play another year at 25. Maybe the staff has input into that decision also?
 

two3zone

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#16
To me one of the most impressive stats for PC last year was his HUGE improvement in free throws. That does not come without work. He started the year about as poorly as anyone could imagine and by the end of the year he was not a target to take out when the game got tight in the last few minutes. In fact, if I recall he won a game for us at the line.

I realize the extra year for him is mostly his call. He most likely could get an extra red shirt year after the medical problem two years ago. It has happened for others. His decision is whether to play another year at 25. Maybe the staff has input into that decision also?
He played too many games to qualify for the medical redshit. He could have applied but I'm not sure how he could've gotten the extra year. It's one of those fake news things around here people like to talk about.
 
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#17
FWIW, every 'points above average' estimator I've seen rates Chukwu as (easily) our best player. Infact, he rates as one of the best players in the ACC.

To me this makes some sense.

TLDR: Chukwu rates an amazing 10 points above average (by ACC standards). He rates around 9 points above average on defense, and almost 1 point above average on defense. I believe these estimates are accurate, though a bit surprising on the offensive end.




_______________________________________________________ Please excuse the long post, but if interested-

In my opinion, the most overrated aspect of a basketball player is typically how a player looks to the eye, particularly at making tough shots, dunking or defending 1v1. These ineffective visual scouting priorities seem to have 3 main causes: (1) television logistics/marketing; (2) a lack of public source comprehensive data; and (3) a hangover from the MJ era, where 'being great at ball' was equated with 'making ridiculous shots with supreme athleticism.'

This 'early 90's' preference for 'all star game' style basketball lead to a long era of 'bad at offense/bad at defense' players, basically what is often called 'AAU style' basketball. The celebration of inefficient, dunk contest iso ball led to a strange phenomena: players who were bad at offense, and shockingly terrible at defense, were considered among the very best. Ironically, these players were often considered to be great at offense because they could score 20, while their inefficiencies nearly ensured that their team would have a poor offense (not to mention an even worse defense).

In my youth, JR Rider was a classic example of this type of player on the perimeter, or Antoine Walker as a forward. Today's game provides tons of modern examples, Wiggins, Levine, Dion Waiters, JR Smith, and at the end of their careers- Melo, Kobe, now Wade, etc. Players like Andrew Wiggins are highly regarded by those who don't use data and rely on the eye test and other old fashioned methods. Wiggins fans argue that, despite poor shooting numbers, he is good on offense because he can make tough shots, and despite terrible defensive numbers, he is a plus on defense because he guards the other' teams better 1v1 scorers. Their arguments are usually that his shooting numbers are only so bad because he 'has to carry the load.' Wiggins supporters believe in his defensive ability because he often guards iso gunners like himself (and often gets destroyed worse than the average defender on such players): but his poor defensive numbers already take into account and credit him for the tough assignments that he is guarding.

IMO, Howard and Battle might be these types of overrated players, and to some extent Brissett might be as well. They score but only by playing really bad offensive basketball, and while they are considered to be solid or better defensively, this might only be true for Brissett and maybe Battle. All three run the danger of large negative contributions offensively, as they couple their low effectiveness with high usage. Each of the three have obvious athletic ability (typically my favorite types of prospects and for good reason often), but they gun tons of bricks while being poor passers and failing to show much ability to take part of a modern effective offense. The argument in their favor is supposedly that the team 'needs' them to run such ineffective offense, because the other players are supposedly worse. This may be true- Syracuse had a unique situation with the scholarship limits and an extreme lack of players- but it also runs too close to comfort to the typical 'Westbrook needs to hunt his shot every time down the floor because Oladipo and everyone else suck' argument. Oftentimes the reason the "rest of the team" looks awful offensively is because of the ball dominating shot hunter. As a trio, this group rates as merely average by ACC standards- good enough to be the 2nd or 3rd best starters on a middle of the pack ACC squad. None of them rate as among Syracuse's best two players.

Many overrated players are bad at both offense and defense, despite some fine Globetrotter talents. These 'bad at both' players are the OJ Mayos, Zack Levines, Andrew Wiggins (sometimes Eric Bledsoe) types, dominating the ball without being effective offensively- and failing to make up for it defensively. I don't think Battle or Brissett are bad at both, but it's not clear they are good at either: and notably they rate better defensively than offensively. Howard, on the other hand, does rate as average or worse both offensively and defensively.

Sometimes overrated players actually do have a big positive contribution on offense, (i.e. Lou Williams in this most recent year or Isaiah Thomas the year before, Devin Booker today, or young Mello), but are just so awful on defense that their net value is near 0. Such players can be +8 or so points above average on O, but -6 or so on D, making their net total contribution smaller than a player who is simply 1.5 points better than average on both ends. I don't think Syracuse has any such players- and of course that makes sense, given the Cuse's great D, and it helps explain the thought that our 3 perimeter players 'need' to have such a high usage despite poor shooting efficiency and turnover rates.

Whether a player is 'bad' (i.e. Wiggins, bad on O bad on D) or merely 'overrated' (i.e. IT, great on O but nearly as bad on D), such gunner players can be celebrated because of weird memes about how their teammates are awful. Consider how Oladipo was thought to look like a useless spectator watching Westbrook hunt for numbers. Westbrook was hurting his offense by averaging a triple double, and the excuse was that he had to play like that because he had no help. In reality, Oladipo, Sabonis Jr., and Adams is alot of offensive help. But the star system, alpha dog, 90's/all star game style gunner ball made that OKC offense look awful, supposedly necessitating historic gunning by Westbrook- leading to an MVP. These narratives justifying hero ball are usually wrong- good offensive players often look like they have more help than they do, and bad offensive players look like they have less. Consider how IT was wrongly celebrated as the best player on Boston- whereas the numbers said he was merely the 5th best player on that squad, giving nearly all his O value away on D- the narrative was that Boston needed him to be a gunner because they had no one else. Horford, Crowder, Brown, and even Kelly Olynick were actually much better players for Boston, but only detailed, comprehensive analysis could accurately measure how much they helped their teams, whereas any 8 year old kid could see IT making buckets, with his visually mesmerizing, off the bounce and 'getting my shots' approach to the game. In this same way, Syracuse's season might not go as well as it should if Battle and Brissett look at this year as 'theirs' and feel that the club owes them a high usage and hero ball spotlight because they returned.

Perimeter NBA players like Fred Van Vleet, Tyus Jones and Robert Covington end up posting huge 'value added' numbers because despite have understated offensive contributions, they nonetheless add to their teams offense (while doing less), whereas the gunners take away (while doing more). Further, the Van Vleets/Jones/Covington types provide excellent defensive value - often without being spectacular visually. The impact of their contributions sometimes shows up over larger samples, in ways that are harder to measure visually and easier measured with cameras, machine learning, sensors and algorithmic data capture and analysis. In this way, Joe Ingles outperforms Donavan Mitchell; Otto Porter outperforms John Wall; and the likes of Kyle Anderson, Demarre Carroll, OG Anunoby, Royce O'neil (all 3 points or better above average), hugely outperform Andrew Wiggins, Harrison Barnes, Kelly Oubre, Brandon Ingram, Taurene Prince, and Michael Beasely (all a point or more worse than average).

For big guys, the traditional eye-test preference has usually been for either (1) post-scoring (KAT/Cousins, or Eddie Curry/Jahlil Okafor) or for (2) super-obvious 'jump/block/dunk/run' athletic ability and physical tools (Howard/Drummond or Kwame Brown/Nerlens Noel). The modern unicorn type (Davis/Embiid) is supposed to be a combination of the two without the weaknesses typical to either type. While these types get the focus, underrated big players typically pass well, screen, space the court/move the defenders, play team offense, play team defense well, shoot well, and avoid inefficiencies- all of which can be subtle and disconnected from super obvious physical or scoring tools. These underrated skill sets tend to show up in two types of underrated big men.

First, the 'Zach Randolph/Nico Vucevic type,' or the 'I thought he was Eddie Curry' type. This type of big is usually a below the rim, but offensively gifted plodder, whose long arms, huge and skilled hands, and fat round body help way more on defense than it appears. David West in his over-30 years has become perhaps the best in today's game at this type of sneaky contribution. It can be very tough to visually distinguish spazzy, slow and fat good defense from spazzy, slow and fat bad defense.

Second, the Ekpe Udoh type, or the 'I thought he ruined the O' type. This type of big is usually an above the rim, athletic skinny type; whose defensive talents are obvious but whose offensive game is thought to be god awful to the extreme. Young Deandre Jordan was a great example of this type of player. Such players can be regarded as maybe quite good, perhaps 8 points better than average on defense, but awful on offense- perhaps costing at least 6 points on that end. But in reality, some of these Udoh types are near average offensively, and even a bit more elite than realized defensively. Other current examples include John Henson or Lucas Nogueira- defensive reputation tends to lag a few years behind performance, and some 'stone hands' players manage to stay closer to average offensively than others.

IMO, Pascal Chukwu is one of these Udoh types. I think he will even likely make it in the NBA- admittedly a strange thought considering his current age and draft prospects. He simply appears to be way closer to average offensively than we'd think given his near complete lack of offensive skill. Like most Udoh types, Chukwu makes a ton of his field goal attempts (66%) but has low usage (~10%). Like the 'secret Zach Randolph' types above, I think it is extremely difficult to distinguish visually between a Udoh type and either a Dieng/Makor/Jarrett Allen type: all of whom appear similarly unskilled offensive (despite Makor's shot) and similarly skilled defensively, but in reality hurt their teams O way more while not help the D anywhere near what the tools suggest.

This year's draft examples includes some interesting test cases of these types. Ayton has physical skills so obvious that every 8 year old basketball fan would notice. He has obvious '20 & 10' skills. But he's not a true unicorn 'has it all' prospect, because while he can shoot his defense is not yet effective. Bagley is fairly similar though a bit less smooth outside. While their frames, athletic ability and potential outside shot suggest a modern two-way player, their impact so far has been mostly post scoring with limited contributions in the forms of passing, team play, spacing, and defense. Both should be good but are unlikely to be underrated. Wendell Carter, on the other hand, may have more subtle contributions- with an efficient (but lower usage) offensive game built on efficient shooting, good passing, screening & spacing. And while Carter is a bit of an old fashioned big physically, he rates as being a big positive defensively. In this sense, Carter is perhaps a 'secret Zach Randolph' type of solid two way player. As for who might be a secret Udoh type in this draft- Robert Williams and Mo Bamba are too good to be mentioned but fit the general shape of production (better O than you might think, legit outstanding D), while sleepers like Anas Muhmoud (louisville) are flying under the radar and therefore are more underrated. Chukwu appears to be this type of talent.

Apologies for the very long post, but IMO Chukwu could have an ACC POY type impact. The top 5 ACC players last year (min. 200 minutes) by Basketball Reference plus minus were (1) Wendell Carter; (2) Isaiah Wilkins; (3) Marvin Bagley; (4) Donte Grantham; and (5) Paschal Chukwu. The top 4 have left their programs.
Dolec is the only other Cuse player in the top 50. It could be a banner year for the big man.
 
Last edited:

sutomcat

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#18
He played too many games to qualify for the medical redshirt He could have applied but I'm not sure how he could've gotten the extra year. It's one of those fake news things around here people like to talk about.
The article says he played in 7 games in 2016-17. Cuse.com says he played in 6 games that season.

The NCAA rule for a medical hardship redshirt exemption is...

Medical Hardship Exemption

The NCAA allows a seriously injured athlete to extend her eligibility period through a medical hardship exemption, commonly referred to by media outlets as a "medical redshirt," though the NCAA does not use this terminology.

An athlete can qualify for this exemption if she has a documented, incapacitating injury or illness that occurred in the first half of the basketball season and the student-athlete has not participated in more than two contests or dates of competition or 20 percent of her team's scheduled contests, whichever number is greater.


SU played 31 games in the regular season in 2016-17. If he played in 6 games, that constitutes 19% of the season and he is eligible for the exemption. If he played in 7 games, that constitutes 22% of the season and he is not eligible for it.

Syracuse played in 8 games before Paschal had his surgery on the day of the Georgetown game. I looked at the box scores and the only game I see he did not play was against UConn. That means he played in 7 games and just missed qualifying. Unless the box scores are wrong, or I am not interpreting the rule properly, the coaching staff didn't manage this well and he can't qualify for the exemption. Might be a moot point; Paschal might not want to spend 6 years of his life on college campuses. But I don't think it is an option.

syracuse boston university basketball Dec 10, 2016* - Google Search
 

MSOrange

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#19
The article says he played in 7 games in 2016-17. Cuse.com says he played in 6 games that season.

The NCAA rule for a medical hardship redshirt exemption is...

Medical Hardship Exemption

The NCAA allows a seriously injured athlete to extend her eligibility period through a medical hardship exemption, commonly referred to by media outlets as a "medical redshirt," though the NCAA does not use this terminology.

An athlete can qualify for this exemption if she has a documented, incapacitating injury or illness that occurred in the first half of the basketball season and the student-athlete has not participated in more than two contests or dates of competition or 20 percent of her team's scheduled contests, whichever number is greater.

SU played 31 games in the regular season in 2016-17. If he played in 6 games, that constitutes 19% of the season and he is eligible for the exemption. If he played in 7 games, that constitutes 22% of the season and he is not eligible for it.

Syracuse played in 8 games before Paschal had his surgery on the day of the Georgetown game. I looked at the box scores and the only game I see he did not play was against UConn. That means he played in 7 games and just missed qualifying. Unless the box scores are wrong, or I am not interpreting the rule properly, the coaching staff didn't manage this well and he can't qualify for the exemption. Might be a moot point; Paschal might not want to spend 6 years of his life on college campuses. But I don't think it is an option.

syracuse boston university basketball Dec 10, 2016* - Google Search

Everything I can find about medical hardships is it's 30 percent, not 20 percent of the games. I think the deal with Chukwu is he sat out the transfer year as a redshirt and generally to get a sixth year, you have to have missed most or all of 2 seasons for medical reasons.
 

orange79

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#20
The article says he played in 7 games in 2016-17. Cuse.com says he played in 6 games that season.

The NCAA rule for a medical hardship redshirt exemption is...

Medical Hardship Exemption

The NCAA allows a seriously injured athlete to extend her eligibility period through a medical hardship exemption, commonly referred to by media outlets as a "medical redshirt," though the NCAA does not use this terminology.

An athlete can qualify for this exemption if she has a documented, incapacitating injury or illness that occurred in the first half of the basketball season and the student-athlete has not participated in more than two contests or dates of competition or 20 percent of her team's scheduled contests, whichever number is greater.

SU played 31 games in the regular season in 2016-17. If he played in 6 games, that constitutes 19% of the season and he is eligible for the exemption. If he played in 7 games, that constitutes 22% of the season and he is not eligible for it.

Syracuse played in 8 games before Paschal had his surgery on the day of the Georgetown game. I looked at the box scores and the only game I see he did not play was against UConn. That means he played in 7 games and just missed qualifying. Unless the box scores are wrong, or I am not interpreting the rule properly, the coaching staff didn't manage this well and he can't qualify for the exemption. Might be a moot point; Paschal might not want to spend 6 years of his life on college campuses. But I don't think it is an option.

syracuse boston university basketball Dec 10, 2016* - Google Search
Everything I can find about medical hardships is it's 30 percent, not 20 percent of the games. I think the deal with Chukwu is he sat out the transfer year as a redshirt and generally to get a sixth year, you have to have missed most or all of 2 seasons for medical reasons.
The NCAA does not make this easy. After spending some quality time with my good friend Google, I found conflicting information. I found both 20% and 30% quoted all over the internet on sites purporting to inform prospective athletes on any and all information necessary for playing college sports.

Anyway, I found the following on the NCAA website: it is the form for applying for a hardship waiver for team sports. The upshot is, it appears that 30% is the correct number.

1529408486293.png
 

pfister1

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#21
The NCAA does not make this easy. After spending some quality time with my good friend Google, I found conflicting information. I found both 20% and 30% quoted all over the internet on sites purporting to inform prospective athletes on any and all information necessary for playing college sports.

Anyway, I found the following on the NCAA website: it is the form for applying for a hardship waiver for team sports. The upshot is, it appears that 30% is the correct number.

View attachment 130892
Tried to do what you did, but gave up. The 3 worst sets of rules in terms of clarity and organization.

1. NCAA Rules
2. MLB Rules
3. US Tax Code
 

MSOrange

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#22
The NCAA does not make this easy. After spending some quality time with my good friend Google, I found conflicting information. I found both 20% and 30% quoted all over the internet on sites purporting to inform prospective athletes on any and all information necessary for playing college sports.

Anyway, I found the following on the NCAA website: it is the form for applying for a hardship waiver for team sports. The upshot is, it appears that 30% is the correct number.

View attachment 130892
In addition. when there were discussions this past season whether Sidibe would take a medical redshirt, all the articles I can find cite 30 percent.

Jim Boeheim: Syracuse basketball freshman Bourama Sidibe might medically redshirt
 

sutomcat

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#23
The NCAA does not make this easy. After spending some quality time with my good friend Google, I found conflicting information. I found both 20% and 30% quoted all over the internet on sites purporting to inform prospective athletes on any and all information necessary for playing college sports.

Anyway, I found the following on the NCAA website: it is the form for applying for a hardship waiver for team sports. The upshot is, it appears that 30% is the correct number.

View attachment 130892
Good. Glad Paschal has the option. I would guess if he opts to take the redshirt year (and the NCAA grants it), he will be able to get a grad degree if he so desires.
 

CuseFaninVT

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#24
FWIW, every 'points above average' estimator I've seen rates Chukwu as (easily) our best player. Infact, he rates as one of the best players in the ACC.

To me this makes some sense.

TLDR: Chukwu rates an amazing 10 points above average (by ACC standards). He rates around 9 points above average on defense, and almost 1 point above average on defense. I believe these estimates are accurate, though a bit surprising on the offensive end.




_______________________________________________________ Please excuse the long post, but if interested-

In my opinion, the most overrated aspect of a basketball player is typically how a player looks to the eye, particularly at making tough shots, dunking or defending 1v1. These ineffective visual scouting priorities seem to have 3 main causes: (1) television logistics/marketing; (2) a lack of public source comprehensive data; and (3) a hangover from the MJ era, where 'being great at ball' was equated with 'making ridiculous shots with supreme athleticism.'

This 'early 90's' preference for 'all star game' style basketball lead to a long era of 'bad at offense/bad at defense' players, basically what is often called 'AAU style' basketball. The celebration of inefficient, dunk contest iso ball led to a strange phenomena: players who were bad at offense, and shockingly terrible at defense, were considered among the very best. Ironically, these players were often considered to be great at offense because they could score 20, while their inefficiencies nearly ensured that their team would have a poor offense (not to mention an even worse defense).

In my youth, JR Rider was a classic example of this type of player on the perimeter, or Antoine Walker as a forward. Today's game provides tons of modern examples, Wiggins, Levine, Dion Waiters, JR Smith, and at the end of their careers- Melo, Kobe, now Wade, etc. Players like Andrew Wiggins are highly regarded by those who don't use data and rely on the eye test and other old fashioned methods. Wiggins fans argue that, despite poor shooting numbers, he is good on offense because he can make tough shots, and despite terrible defensive numbers, he is a plus on defense because he guards the other' teams better 1v1 scorers. Their arguments are usually that his shooting numbers are only so bad because he 'has to carry the load.' Wiggins supporters believe in his defensive ability because he often guards iso gunners like himself (and often gets destroyed worse than the average defender on such players): but his poor defensive numbers already take into account and credit him for the tough assignments that he is guarding.

IMO, Howard and Battle might be these types of overrated players, and to some extent Brissett might be as well. They score but only by playing really bad offensive basketball, and while they are considered to be solid or better defensively, this might only be true for Brissett and maybe Battle. All three run the danger of large negative contributions offensively, as they couple their low effectiveness with high usage. Each of the three have obvious athletic ability (typically my favorite types of prospects and for good reason often), but they gun tons of bricks while being poor passers and failing to show much ability to take part of a modern effective offense. The argument in their favor is supposedly that the team 'needs' them to run such ineffective offense, because the other players are supposedly worse. This may be true- Syracuse had a unique situation with the scholarship limits and an extreme lack of players- but it also runs too close to comfort to the typical 'Westbrook needs to hunt his shot every time down the floor because Oladipo and everyone else suck' argument. Oftentimes the reason the "rest of the team" looks awful offensively is because of the ball dominating shot hunter. As a trio, this group rates as merely average by ACC standards- good enough to be the 2nd or 3rd best starters on a middle of the pack ACC squad. None of them rate as among Syracuse's best two players.

Many overrated players are bad at both offense and defense, despite some fine Globetrotter talents. These 'bad at both' players are the OJ Mayos, Zack Levines, Andrew Wiggins (sometimes Eric Bledsoe) types, dominating the ball without being effective offensively- and failing to make up for it defensively. I don't think Battle or Brissett are bad at both, but it's not clear they are good at either: and notably they rate better defensively than offensively. Howard, on the other hand, does rate as average or worse both offensively and defensively.

Sometimes overrated players actually do have a big positive contribution on offense, (i.e. Lou Williams in this most recent year or Isaiah Thomas the year before, Devin Booker today, or young Mello), but are just so awful on defense that their net value is near 0. Such players can be +8 or so points above average on O, but -6 or so on D, making their net total contribution smaller than a player who is simply 1.5 points better than average on both ends. I don't think Syracuse has any such players- and of course that makes sense, given the Cuse's great D, and it helps explain the thought that our 3 perimeter players 'need' to have such a high usage despite poor shooting efficiency and turnover rates.

Whether a player is 'bad' (i.e. Wiggins, bad on O bad on D) or merely 'overrated' (i.e. IT, great on O but nearly as bad on D), such gunner players can be celebrated because of weird memes about how their teammates are awful. Consider how Oladipo was thought to look like a useless spectator watching Westbrook hunt for numbers. Westbrook was hurting his offense by averaging a triple double, and the excuse was that he had to play like that because he had no help. In reality, Oladipo, Sabonis Jr., and Adams is alot of offensive help. But the star system, alpha dog, 90's/all star game style gunner ball made that OKC offense look awful, supposedly necessitating historic gunning by Westbrook- leading to an MVP. These narratives justifying hero ball are usually wrong- good offensive players often look like they have more help than they do, and bad offensive players look like they have less. Consider how IT was wrongly celebrated as the best player on Boston- whereas the numbers said he was merely the 5th best player on that squad, giving nearly all his O value away on D- the narrative was that Boston needed him to be a gunner because they had no one else. Horford, Crowder, Brown, and even Kelly Olynick were actually much better players for Boston, but only detailed, comprehensive analysis could accurately measure how much they helped their teams, whereas any 8 year old kid could see IT making buckets, with his visually mesmerizing, off the bounce and 'getting my shots' approach to the game. In this same way, Syracuse's season might not go as well as it should if Battle and Brissett look at this year as 'theirs' and feel that the club owes them a high usage and hero ball spotlight because they returned.

Perimeter NBA players like Fred Van Vleet, Tyus Jones and Robert Covington end up posting huge 'value added' numbers because despite have understated offensive contributions, they nonetheless add to their teams offense (while doing less), whereas the gunners take away (while doing more). Further, the Van Vleets/Jones/Covington types provide excellent defensive value - often without being spectacular visually. The impact of their contributions sometimes shows up over larger samples, in ways that are harder to measure visually and easier measured with cameras, machine learning, sensors and algorithmic data capture and analysis. In this way, Joe Ingles outperforms Donavan Mitchell; Otto Porter outperforms John Wall; and the likes of Kyle Anderson, Demarre Carroll, OG Anunoby, Royce O'neil (all 3 points or better above average), hugely outperform Andrew Wiggins, Harrison Barnes, Kelly Oubre, Brandon Ingram, Taurene Prince, and Michael Beasely (all a point or more worse than average).

For big guys, the traditional eye-test preference has usually been for either (1) post-scoring (KAT/Cousins, or Eddie Curry/Jahlil Okafor) or for (2) super-obvious 'jump/block/dunk/run' athletic ability and physical tools (Howard/Drummond or Kwame Brown/Nerlens Noel). The modern unicorn type (Davis/Embiid) is supposed to be a combination of the two without the weaknesses typical to either type. While these types get the focus, underrated big players typically pass well, screen, space the court/move the defenders, play team offense, play team defense well, shoot well, and avoid inefficiencies- all of which can be subtle and disconnected from super obvious physical or scoring tools. These underrated skill sets tend to show up in two types of underrated big men.

First, the 'Zach Randolph/Nico Vucevic type,' or the 'I thought he was Eddie Curry' type. This type of big is usually a below the rim, but offensively gifted plodder, whose long arms, huge and skilled hands, and fat round body help way more on defense than it appears. David West in his over-30 years has become perhaps the best in today's game at this type of sneaky contribution. It can be very tough to visually distinguish spazzy, slow and fat good defense from spazzy, slow and fat bad defense.

Second, the Ekpe Udoh type, or the 'I thought he ruined the O' type. This type of big is usually an above the rim, athletic skinny type; whose defensive talents are obvious but whose offensive game is thought to be god awful to the extreme. Young Deandre Jordan was a great example of this type of player. Such players can be regarded as maybe quite good, perhaps 8 points better than average on defense, but awful on offense- perhaps costing at least 6 points on that end. But in reality, some of these Udoh types are near average offensively, and even a bit more elite than realized defensively. Other current examples include John Henson or Lucas Nogueira- defensive reputation tends to lag a few years behind performance, and some 'stone hands' players manage to stay closer to average offensively than others.

IMO, Pascal Chukwu is one of these Udoh types. I think he will even likely make it in the NBA- admittedly a strange thought considering his current age and draft prospects. He simply appears to be way closer to average offensively than we'd think given his near complete lack of offensive skill. Like most Udoh types, Chukwu makes a ton of his field goal attempts (66%) but has low usage (~10%). Like the 'secret Zach Randolph' types above, I think it is extremely difficult to distinguish visually between a Udoh type and either a Dieng/Makor/Jarrett Allen type: all of whom appear similarly unskilled offensive (despite Makor's shot) and similarly skilled defensively, but in reality hurt their teams O way more while not help the D anywhere near what the tools suggest.

This year's draft examples includes some interesting test cases of these types. Ayton has physical skills so obvious that every 8 year old basketball fan would notice. He has obvious '20 & 10' skills. But he's not a true unicorn 'has it all' prospect, because while he can shoot his defense is not yet effective. Bagley is fairly similar though a bit less smooth outside. While their frames, athletic ability and potential outside shot suggest a modern two-way player, their impact so far has been mostly post scoring with limited contributions in the forms of passing, team play, spacing, and defense. Both should be good but are unlikely to be underrated. Wendell Carter, on the other hand, may have more subtle contributions- with an efficient (but lower usage) offensive game built on efficient shooting, good passing, screening & spacing. And while Carter is a bit of an old fashioned big physically, he rates as being a big positive defensively. In this sense, Carter is perhaps a 'secret Zach Randolph' type of solid two way player. As for who might be a secret Udoh type in this draft- Robert Williams and Mo Bamba are too good to be mentioned but fit the general shape of production (better O than you might think, legit outstanding D), while sleepers like Anas Muhmoud (louisville) are flying under the radar and therefore are more underrated. Chukwu appears to be this type of talent.

Apologies for the very long post, but IMO Chukwu could have an ACC POY type impact. The top 5 ACC players last year (min. 200 minutes) by Basketball Reference plus minus were (1) Wendell Carter; (2) Isaiah Wilkins; (3) Marvin Bagley; (4) Donte Grantham; and (5) Paschal Chukwu. The top 4 have left their programs.
Dolec is the only other Cuse player in the top 50. It could be a banner year for the big man.
I'll have what he's having.

POY candidate... The things people say on here.
 


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