yet to make a major impact on a big game."
Nebraska: end-of-half mid-court three pointer; end of game butterknife layup to cinch the win.
Just about the most closely watched thing of this basketball season, right after McGary's clinical charts and forwards moving backwards on contact, has been the play of Derrick Walton. Reasons: here played Trey Burke, a couple of disappointing performances in the late non-conf schedule, Trey Burke used to play that spot, and because we read his recruiting profile and thought hey, freshman Trey Burke!
This weekend we got a chance to see Walton play against another of the highly rated point guards from his class. Granted, Bronson Koenig was on the floor for all of four minutes on Saturday, but that's 240 unheard-of seconds on a Bo Ryan team. It was also excuse enough to compare Walton's learning curve so far to the other 2013-14 freshman PGs.
Here's the class:
|Andrew Harrison||Kentucky||6'5"||205||5-5-5||1||109.1||Been improving lately.|
|Kasey Hill||Florida||6'1"||160||5-5-5||2||99.7||Splits PG time with sr PG/SG|
|Terry Rozier||L'ville||6'0"||170||5-4-5||3||116.3||Playing SG|
|Tyler Ennis||Syracuse||6'2"||180||5-5-5||5||122.4||Is good at basketball|
|Rysheed Jordan||St.Johns||6'4"||185||5-5-4||5||93.5||In and out of the lineup|
|Anthony Barber||NC St||6'2"||165||4-4-5||5||99.0||Starter since 5th game|
|Demetrius Jackson||ND||6'1"||185||4-4-4||7||115.1||Playing SG|
|N. Williams-Goss||Wash||6'4"||180||5-4-4||7||100.9||12/3 A/TO last 2 games.|
|Derrick Walton||Mich||6'0"||170||4-4-4||8||101.6||Not Trey Burke.|
|Conner Frankamp||Kansas||6'0"||160||4-4-4||9||97.1||Backup to Naari Tharpe|
|Roddy Peters||Md.||6'4"||180||4-4-4||10||90.5||Splits time with Seth Allen|
|Zach LaVine||UCLA||6'4"||170||4-4-5||11||120.0||Now 6'5, Playing SF|
|Stevie Clark||OklaSt||5'10"||163||4-4-4||13||109.0||Backup to Marcus Smart|
|Tim Quarterman||LSU||6'5"||180||4-4-4||15||82.0||Backup SG|
|Wesley Clark||Mizzou||6'0"||175||4-4-4||15||93.4||Sixth man|
|Bryson Scott||Purdue||6'1"||170||3-4-4||16||102.1||Backup to Ronnie Johnson|
|Monte Morris||IowaSt||6'1"||175||4-4-4||18||125.6||Playing SG|
|Billy Garrett||Depaul||6'3"||160||4-4-4||21||103.0||Starter since 6th game.|
|Nate Britt||N.C.||6'2"||180||4-4-3||22||84.6||Recently benched.|
|E.C. Matthews||R.I.||6'4"||180||4-4-4||23||97.5||Playing SF|
|Kendal Yancy||Texas||6'4"||195||4-4-3||23||98.9||Buried on the bench|
|Bronson Koenig||Wisc.||6'3"||180||3-4-4||25||116.0||Backup to Traevon Jackson.|
*star ratings from ESPN, Rivals, and Scout, respectively
**average national positional ranking from sites that ranked as a PG
The sites were in agreement that Walton belonged at the top of the consensus 4-stars; nobody threatened to add a fifth. I see one real standout above who isn't Just a Shooter™ at this stage. The closest comparisons around him are either riding bench or nearly a half-foot taller. Here's a closer look at those from above who've started at least a third of their team's games at PG:
I don't know how to read that except Tyler Ennis (NTTE) is pretty good, and 1.42 assists for every turnover isn't good but at least it's in line with two (Harrison and Jordan) of the four consensus 5-stars in his class. Mock drafts have Ennis from the end of the lottery to near the end of the first round. It is not freshman Trey Burke, nor does that show a guy whose role is dishing it to an array of sophomore scorers. Part of that is not having McGary to flip to inside for an easy two-from-the-elbow, part of that is the Stauskas-LeVert pick-and-roll game only asks Derrick to be a viable three-pointer threat on the opposite perimeter. But I can't hide my own disappointment that Walton has yet to find the keys to engage Lottery Pick Glenn Robinson.
Let's dig deeper into those things after…
Level of Competition
The biggest knock-like-thing regarding Walton has been he's yet to make a major impact on a big game. He had two points and two assists against Wisconsin, a point and an assist versus Arizona, and seven points and one helper against Duke. You have to go back to Puerto Rico to find him taking more than nine shots, and since his seven vs. Coppin State he hasn't cracked four assists. That has a lot to do with Stauskas and LeVert keying the offense of late of course. But a lot of times usage is dictated by how the defense plays you, so it's valuable to see how other guys in his position fared against the same. Rather than make up new metrics I thought we'd eyeball how other blue chip true freshman PGs did against Michigan's tourney-likely opponents:
|Walton||Dec 14||L, 72-70||14||36||1||1||1||0||2|
|Williams-Goss (Wash)||Jan 4||L, 71-62||37||77||9||4||3||0||2|
|Walton||Jan 18||W, 77-70||31||85||2||2||0||0||0|
|Kasey Hill (Florida)||Nov 12||L, 59-53||29||49||4||4||2||1||5|
|R. Jordan (StJohns)||Nov 8||L, 86-75||24||71||6||3||3||0||5|
|Walton||Nov 22||W, 82-80||34||112||15||6||3||0||1|
|Roddy Peters (Md)||Jan 12||L, 85-61||19||69||7||1||3||2||1|
|Walton||Dec 3||L, 79-69||26||75||7||1||3||0||1|
|Anthony Barber (NCSt)||Jan 18||L, 95-60||31||73||7||3||4||1||1|
|Walton||Jan 2||W, 63-60||30||108||7||4||1||1||3|
|Bryson Scott (Purdue)||Jan 5||L, 82-79||13||86||6||1||2||1||5|
|Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)||Nov 25||W, 75-67||32||121||12||5||0||5||3|
|Walton||Dec 21||W, 68-65||21||73||4||1||1||0||2|
|Williams-Goss (Wash)||Jan 18||L, 79-67||35||139||17||6||1||1||2|
Note: Kasey Hill didn't play vs Florida State. Conner Frankamp had 1 minute vs Iowa State and Duke. Those games have been left off of the above.
So good: the other freshmen haven't been doing much against these teams either, with again the exception of Ennis. Also note the guards in foul trouble against Wisconsin (five fouls apiece) to none for Derrick. In Florida's case they were running a very raw Kasey Hill out there when senior starter Scottie Wilbekin was suspended, and played aggressively, getting Traevon Jackson to turn it over five times, and Dekker four. The St. John's game was the season opener, and Rysheed Jordan's first NCAA game.
That's what most popped out at me above: the differences between November numbers and January. That shouldn't be surprising: a freshman is supposed to get better as he gets more comfortable keying the offense and adjusts to the speed of the college game. So is Derrick's adjustment the same as his peers?
Dark blue lines are Walton's games:
Better than. The top part just shows performance versus non-dregs, the second chart includes all games. Walton has a very positive trendline; the average of the others seems to not have moved so much. In fact it looks like Walton's ORtg has been steadily rising from average 4-star's to average 5-star's since the beginning of the season.
The assist-to-turnover tracking tells a similar story except Walton starts way back and has now climbed back among the average 4-star guys:
His 1:1 performance for the first six games of his career is still dragging that down. Like batting average charts, ATOr is going to be bouncy at first and less and less volatile as each game is a smaller percentage of the total.
On the ball
One thing your bloggers have been hammering about Walton is since he isn't, like Burke was, responsible for making the offense run, he can blow his energy on defense. Walton seems to be a guy with plus defensive skills, but at times he looks lost out there when it comes to switching. This is crude but we can compare how opponent point guards have fared against Michigan this year versus the rest of their schedules:
|Opponent||Vs. Mich||vs Field||Walton|
|Player||Ht/Wt||School (KP Rk)||ORtg||A/TO||ORtg||A/TO||Mins||Result|
|Akeem Williams||5'10/190||Mass-Lowell (322)||75.0||0.33||91.5||1.47||27||W, 69-42|
|Adama Adams*||6'1/180||SC State (330)||53.0||0.00||90.5||0.92||24||W, 93-59|
|DeAndre Kane||6'4/200||Iowa St (19)||90.0||1.20||111.0||1.74||21||L, 77-70|
|Michael Caffey||6'0/175||Long Beach (159)||93.0||0.83||97.4||1.66||29||W, 85-61|
|Ian Miller**||6'3/198||Florida St (16)||127.0||1.50||107.5||1.14||34||W, 82-80|
|Pierria Henry||6'4/189||Charlotte (138)||77.0||1.50||103.2||1.59||17||L, 63-61|
|Taariq Cephas||5'9/150||Coppin St (294)||118.0||5.00||97.2||1.29||30||W, 87-45|
|Quinn Cook||6'2/180||Duke (20)||150.0||4.50||118.1||1.90||26||L, 79-69|
|Marcel Smith||5'6/150||Hou Baptist (325)||84.0||1.00||95.3||0.95||22||W,107-53|
|T.J. McConnell||6'1/195||Arizona (1)||117.0||2.50||115.3||1.42||14||L, 72-70|
|Chasson Randle||6'2/185||Stanford (43)||109.0||0.50||120.1||0.97||21||W, 68-65|
|Justin Burrell||5'9/165||Holy Cross (156)||185.0||(5/0)||90.0||0.83||32||W, 88-66|
|Deandre Mathieu||5'9/165||Minnesota (34)||77.0||0.80||110.1||1.39||30||W, 63-60|
|Jershon Cobb||6'5/205||N'wern (146)||54.0||1.00||93.4||1.01||25||W, 74-51|
|Tai Webster||6'4/194||Nebraska (77)||213.0||(2/0)||84.9||0.67||33||W, 71-70|
|Tim Frazier||6'1/170||Penn St (110)||127.0||3.00||113.3||2.05||31||W, 80-67|
|Traevon Jackson||6'2/208||Wisconsin (8)||71.0||2.50||106.8||1.42||31||W, 77-70|
*SC State's freshman PG Jalen White didn't play vs M, is now starting.
**FSU started Devon Bookert at PG, but Ian Miller, their starting PG, played 37 minutes.
† Avg opponents' ORtgs are weighted by # of minutes Walton played vs. that team.
So on the whole Walton's been worse than the average defenders his opponents have faced. But in 10/17 games the guy across from him didn't hit his average ORtg; A/TO victories were just 8/17. It's that when he was bad—Nebraska, Holy Cross, Duke—he was really bad. After Arizona, in which Walton logged just 14 minutes, Ace charted up the possessions to determine Michigan was better off with Spike at the point.
Since then Walton's minutes have climbed back up to the low thirties. Justin Burrell had a huge day against Walton (as did Coppin State's Taariq Cephas earlier in the year), however the next game Minnesota's same-sized Deandre Mathieu was shut down; also the Hollinses were 4/19. Then Northwestern, versus larger clunker Jershon Cobb, was his best game yet (EDIT: Tai Webster is a low sample size; ignore). There is no pattern. There is only erratica.
Last week he mostly fell off the scoresheet again. Tim Frazier eviscerated him more than most, but Tim Frazier eviscerates freshman PGs. Traevon Jackson was fairly held in check.
We'll keep a lookout for a sign of a breakout, but at the moment I think it's fair to say Walton is a work in progress, which is exactly where he should be.
yet to make a major impact on a big game."
Nebraska: end-of-half mid-court three pointer; end of game butterknife layup to cinch the win.
This is interesting to look at but I don't know how much it really tells us though. Tai Webster's Ortg was 213 against UM but he only had 2 points and 2 assists in 28 minutes, hardly a great game.
Walton is improving or at least gaining confidence. That's a main factor when you're a 6'0 PG in the B10. He's attacking the middle more, not enough, and he's solid on the defensive end. Following Burke would make anyone look like they're struggling and in Walton's case I think he's still adjusting not really struggling. Stauskas is doing the things from the top of the key that Trey did last year. Attacking the rim or stepping back for the elbow jumper and then drawing attention and dropping dimes to McHorford or McMorgan. I think his role is limited by that but his TO numbers aren't bad his assist numbers just aren't good that's why it's 1.48. He'll be all grown up by the middle or near the end of conference play then we'll have a chance to truely understand his strengths and weaknesses.
The stats may only show mild improvement, but I believe as far as a PG "eyeball test" Walton has been steadily improving in all facets for some time now. If he can continue to focus on not turning the ball over, and keeping defenses honest on him on the perimeter and in the paint, that will be more than enough.
Think it's worth pointing out that Walton is playing well.
Ennis is playing out of his age, with some ridiculous stats (4.2 Assist to Turnover Ratio, 40% from 3, around 3/gm).
Think he benefits where Michigan has a bit of a gap in the lineup, which is the matchup tweener 3/4 guy who is just an assist sponge. At the 3/4 Cuse has CJ Fair (All ACC contender) and Jerami Grant (potential first rounder this year). Morgan is not as athletic as these two, and lacks the outside game to pull the defender and open drive lanes.
And so is Walton. This team thought it will have a dominant big man and perhaps the training camp was designed around that. Now, the team is playing small ball and Walton is finding his rythm. He is going to be on the all freshman team of BIG by the end of the season.
I don't know if it's been done, but I think a better comparison would be Walton, Burke, Morris as freshman since they all run JB's offense. I don't care how well other team's freshman PG's play. I care how well the freshman PG for Michigan plays.
Not locking your research because I do find it interesting and I think I'm going to see if I can apply it to my son's BB team.
...was 1.64 as a freshman and 3.05 as a sophomore.
I know early in the season they mentioned during a game that the staff was trying to keep Walton's confidence up by showing him his freshman stats vs. Freshman Burke, and they were nearly identical.
That was during the OOC season though, not sure where they stand now.
I did a thing a few weeks ago where I compared Walton's season to Burke's in a Roundtable article. I can update that for you for 17 games.
|Daniel Horton '02-'03||17||594||215||117||39%||50.7%||72||74%||77||61||1.26||24|
|Darius Morris '09-'10||9||387||67||21||24%||44.0%||19||63%||45||31||1.45||11|
|Trey Burke '11-'12||16||591||198||75||35%||49.0%||60||75%||87||43||2.02||13|
|Derrick Walton '13-'14||17||447||103||47||36%||52.9%||42||69%||47||33||1.42||7|
Morris's numbers reflect the fact he wasn't a starter until December. Walton is but gave a lot more minutes to his backup. And he's uses a lot fewer possessions than the other guys: Horton and Burke at this point accounted for 389 and 358 possessions used, versus 204 for Walton so far. Figuring Michigan's pace has remained relatively slow, we can divide possessions by minutes to get an approximate usage without having to gather data on the rest of their teams. That comes to about 0.46 possessions he'll register on per minute played. Morris was 0.39 at this point. Burke was 0.60, and Horton was 0.65.
You should make a quick chart a la UMHoops of all the freshman point guards with KenPom ORtg and %Poss on the two axes. That would be the single best way to compare Waltons performance. I would include only those with minimum, say, 25% of minutes.
Just a thought. It would take like 5 minutes.
Yogi at IU last year as a Freshman. Had some Impressive games, but often struggled (and he was surrounded by great talent). I think there is a big learning curve for Freshmen, especially point guards. Kind of like Freshmen QBs.
I like Walton, and feel like many that he's been coming on of late (other than missing late-game foul shots). But my lack of knowledge of bball causes me to ask: why is he on the floor when Stauskas or Caris are running the point? Maybe his D is better than Irvin's, or maybe he D's up a different opposing team player, but--not that his 3-point shooting is awful--but why isn't Irvin out there then? Because you need another ball handler on the floor?
I'm just learning too but I've done some reading on this and will try my hand; not mad at all if someone corrects something here since i'm oversimplifying.
Beilein's offense is called the "2 guard" offense, though that's a misnomer in some variations. Anyway it gives you an answer: it doesn't have to be the guy playing the 1 who keys the offense.
All they do when Caris is running the point is start it from him. The way it works is there are three variations to the start, and from there there's three different branches you can take depending on what the defense does, and from there there's three different branches, and if you run through those and a shot doesn't open up you send the ball back to the key and run it again.
You still want a shooter who can key at the top, so if you remove Walton for, say, Irvin, that's fine but you will want to rotate Stauskas and LeVert to the two-guard spots and then you're not using both of them in the first branch anymore.
That doesn't mean you can't, or that they won't. They've rolled with that big lineup before. I think without McGary though that big lineup gets short on ballhandlers. That he was a guard-like ballhandler from the 5-spot is part of what made that lineup enticing. Stick too long with a LeVert-Stauskas-Irvin-Robinson-Horgan look and you're asking to get pressed.
Also Walton's going to be of increasing importance to this team down the road and the way you develop that is to play him.
Thanks for the analysis Seth. A few things I would point out.
1) The nature of the players on this team means there are very defined roles. Examples: Walton is by far the most comfortable with the ball in his hands driving for penetration to make the defense adjust. Stauskas also is good off the dribble but he primarily has two goals in mind A) pick-and-roll or pick- and-pop (the later seen more in the Wisky game than any previous game). B) Drive to the hoop looking to finish or get fouled. Stauskas is not penetrating to make the defense react and then read that reaction like a traditional point gaurd would do. Levert penetrates looking to score. This is not a knock on any of them. It's great Michigan has players which are so good at those different things. It's also why a well coached team (say Duke) can make the offense look bad (granted, I think that was more an issue of early season gelling/development). A well coached team will be prepapred for those things to happen and have a plan.
2) I don't think numbers and stats are going to be the most effective way to judge what you see from Walton. The reason this is the case is he has a role which is very important but is not conducive to consistent production. Most modern stat analytics created for basketball were developed on a scale of measuring consistency. My eyeball test tells me he has made significant improvement from the begining of the season. He is not trying to do too much, he is the teams safety valve when needed, the whole team has significant issues on defense so it's hard to say what is on Walton and what the team was supposed to help prevent. Probably the best metric would be the "What the hell!?!?!" metric (yes, this is an official coaching metric). Track the number of times Walton makes you yell "What the hell!?!?!?" during a game. His per game average now is far less than it was at the begining of the year. By the end of the season it will probably be down to 2 or less per game.
It would be nice if we could get the ORtg for each PG Walton played using only the numbers from when both players were on the floor at the same time. We could then use the time on-court-time-together to weight the averages at the bottom and eliminate some of the Webster induced sample size issues.
...I don't suppose any of you wizards has stats that you can filter based on who was on court