We know big men take a longer time to develop than other players. See http://www.82games.com/wong1.htm The question posed here is what to expect from Javale McGee.
One way to estimate a player’s future performance is to compare that player’s performance to another comparable player who came along earlier.
In this analysis, I compare McGee to Joakim Noah at the center slot.
Height: Noah – 6’11”; McGee – 7’+
Weight: Noah – 232; McGee – 250
Age: Noah – 26; McGee – 23
After each player had played approximately 3500 minutes in the NBA, their stats were:
Minutes per game: Noah – 23; McGee – 19
Points per game: Noah – 6.7; McGee – 7.2
Rebounds per game: Noah – 6.7; McGee – 5.1
Fouls per game: Noah - 2.7; McGee – 2.3
Blocks per game: Noah – 1.2; McGee – 1.6
PER: Noah - 16.2; McGee – 16.8
Overall, it appears that McGee’s performance is comparable to Noah’s over the first 3500 minutes of each player’s career in the NBA.
Today, Noah’s performance is much better than his first 3500 minutes in the NBA, and he is considered a Top 10 Center. For example, he’s averaging 13.5 points and 12 rebounds per game, and is playing 36 minutes a game. His PER is 19.5. Chicago is winning a high percentage of games with him in the hole.
By determining Noah’s improved performance from his first 3500 minutes to this year’s performance and then applying the same improvement to McGee, McGee would have the following stats in playing a comparable 36 minutes per game in the 2013 season:
Points per game: 17.6
Rebounds per game: 12.4
PER: 20.2 (which would be sixth best in the league for centers looking at today’s ranking).
Hence, this analysis suggests that McGee will be borderline all-star by the time he is 26, and certainly will be an all-star by the time he is 30.
Certainly, one thing we can’t argue about is that he has improved. For example, his opposing center PER improved from last year’s 24.8 to 16.9 by January 19 according to 82games.com.
So where does this leave the Wiz?