Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2000 for Nigel

Now that Nigel is back, it's time to start looking at his potential for Badgers history in 2016-17. Nigel has a chance to become the 3rd leading scorer in Badgers history with a good season.
He currently has scored 292+497+551= 1340 points. Badger record is Alando's 2217, Finley is 2nd with 2147, and 3rd is Danny Jones 1854.

The Badgers will play 13 non-conference games, 18 conference games plus at least one game in the Big Ten Tourney for 32, and likely additional post season games. I will be realistic and say that the Badgers will play about 35 games which is the same as they played last season.
In order to catch those guys with 35 games Nigel would need to average:

Alando- 2217-1340=877/35=25.1 ppg
Finley- 2147-1340=807/35=23.1 ppg
Jones- 1854-1340=514/35=14.69 ppg

Since he averaged 15.7 last season, it would seem reasonable that he ends up in 3rd by the end of 2016-17 barring injury. Seems highly unlikely that he can catch either Finley or Alando. For some perspective, the greatest season in Badgers history (by my very limited research) was Clarence Sherrod in 1970-71 when he averaged 23.8 ppg. Alando's best season was 19.9 ppg, and Finley's was 22.1 ppg.

So what about 2000 points?
2000-1340=660/35=18.86 ppg.

This seems like a stretch, but possible. Nigel may carry less of the scoring load with the young players developing and since Vitto and Showalter played so much better down the stretch last year. However, the Badgers weren't a very good scoring team last year, so maybe they score more and the rising tide lifts Nigel's boat enough to get there.

If Bucky makes some deep tourney runs his odds of getting there look much better. If they were to make the Big Ten Championship game, and make an elite 8 run that gets them to 38 games.
660/38=17.37 ppg.

I'm glad he came back so we will get to track this all season long.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Some thoughts on Nigel's Decision

As we all know, Nigel Hayes is contemplating whether to turn pro instead of returning for his senior year of college. The deadline for him to decide is May 25th.

Fans and pundits (including Dickie V himself) are nearly unanimous: Nigel, come back!

There are a few fans -- seemingly put off by Hayes's outspokenness on the NCAA's essential contradictions -- who think Nigel is gone. He's sick of college, they say. He'd rather do anything that play another year of basketball for free. 

I think that's wrong. Hayes has been very open about his thought-process: he wants to whatever will give him the best chance of having a long NBA career. If that means coming to back to college for another year, that's what he's going to do. He's not going to play in the Turkish league out of spite.

It would be an easy call if he was relatively assured of being drafted in the first round. That's a guaranteed tanker full of money to play basketball, and except in rare cases going pro in that situation is a no-brainer.

It would (will?) also be an easy call if Hayes is assured that no one will draft him at all. That's a virtually guaranteed ticket an extended stint in the D-League or Europe, and Nigel has been pretty clear that's not his goal.

But the situation is this: Nigel may well get drafted in the second round. That's not ideal, but it's not necessarily a dead end, either. A few things have changed recently that make getting drafted in the second round potentially not-so-bad:

1) NBA teams are starting to realize the value of second-round picks. Players like Draymond Green are showing that there's plenty of talent still left. And teams are free to negotiate any deal they want with second-round picks, so they can be creative about structuring deals with players who are intriguing and may well develop into something. 

2) In Hayes's case in particular, his "type" is something of the flavor of the month. "Position-less basketball" is the watchword, as everyone tries to copy the magic of the Warriors. A few years ago, Hayes might have been ignored as a tweener. But now there's a chance teams may key in on this as an attribute -- particularly given his rather freakish 7'3" wingspan.

So if Hayes is given some indication that he'll be taken in the second round by a team that is willing to work with him, that is a very intriguing and tantalizing opportunity.

The flip side of this is: can he really prove anything to pro teams with one more year of college basketball? Of course, if he come back and shoots 45% from three, he will raise his stock considerably. But how likely is that? And how much opportunity will he have in the strictures of the Wisconsin offense to show off the shooting guard skills that NBA teams would want to see out him? Unless he has a great year next year, or at least a great tourney run, the second round may well be his destiny no matter what. In that case, why not get started now?

Ultimately, I think Hayes probably will be back, because I don't think he's going to get any assurance of being drafted. He knows he can play better than he played last year, and a good senior year should at least assure him of a spot in the draft. But it's not a slam dunk.