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Hachimura goes through the doppelganger machine

Milwaukee Bucks v Washington Wizards
Wizards forward Rui Hachimura goes through the statistical doppelganger machine.
Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images

Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has a statistical doppelganger, and…well…at first I wrote that folks probably wouldn’t like it, but by the time I finished the draft — it’s not bad.

Running players through my statistical doppelganger machine is often useful. While the past isn’t always predictive — and sometimes the results just don’t mean much (like when I took a look at Thomas Bryant a few days ago) — it’s sometimes a decent guide to a player’s likely career trajectory.

The doppelganger machine compares a player across 14 categories (production categories are per possession):

  • age
  • minutes per game
  • FGA
  • 3FGA
  • FTA
  • offensive rebounding
  • defensive rebounding
  • assists
  • steals
  • blocks
  • turnovers
  • fouls
  • points
  • PPA

I don’t include factors like size and position, but players of similar size, position and role tend to cluster together if their production is similar. In the doppelganger machine, 100 is a perfect match (usually just the player himself). The closer to 100, the closer the match.

Overall this season, Hachimura was decent — about league average, according to my PPA metric, despite a poor showing in the bubble. Across many dimensions of his game, his production was kinda average. That’s fine for a rookie, and he could improve significantly if he works hard.

But as you’ll see from the list below, it’s dangerous to assume improvement. The player and the team must do the work.

Here are the player seasons with a similarity score of 90 or higher:

  1. Jabari Parker, age 20 — Doppelganger Score: 92
  2. Aaron Gordon, age 21 — DS: 92
  3. John Williams, age 21 — DS: 91
  4. Jabari Parker, age 19 — DS: 90

Parker and Williams (yes, that’s former Bullet John Williams) were promising players who got hurt.

Gordon is interesting. At 20, he was a PF who had enough athleticism and developing ball skills to make his team imagine they could make him into a quality SF. Sound familiar?

He’s been decent, but it’s fair to say he hasn’t been the player Orlando hoped he’d be.

For the most part, the “decent but not outstanding” critique applies to most of the players most similar to Hachimura at a similar age. But, there are some more promising names as well, such as Jaylen Brown (21), Tobias Harris (21), Mike Miller (20) — what is it with Orlando forwards?, Nicolas Batum (22), Jayson Tatum (19), Luol Deng (20).

A bit further down the list are guys like Wally Szczerbiak, Khris Middleton, Wilson Chandler and Marvin Williams.

Still further down is James Worthy.

One noticeable absence: Kawhi Leonard.

The biggest takeaway is that history suggests the floor on Hachimura appears to be fairly high. Barring a major injury, he’s likely to at least be a decent starter for several seasons. The ceiling doesn’t look extraordinarily high, but that can change if Hachimura is determined to be great and puts in the work.

Question: Who should go through the machine next?


Who should be next through the statistical doppelgänger machine?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Bradley Beal
    (36 votes)
  • 40%
    Troy Brown
    (73 votes)
  • 39%
    Isaac Bonga
    (70 votes)
179 votes total Vote Now