We’re reaching the end of the line for the Statistical Doppelgänger series. Last time, I looked at the player with the best name for a fictional president, Garrison Mathews. Okay, I actually think Thomas Bryant is better, but I’d already run him weeks earlier.
From “most fictional” president, I turn to “most military” — Admiral Schofield. Cool name with echoes of Hall of Famer David “The Admiral” Robinson. All similarities end there, of course.
Where the Mathews comps offered hope, there’s precious little of that with Schofield. That’s because Schofield had a very bad rookie year. He got just 368 NBA minutes, and he was terrible in those minutes. His PPA (where average is 100, higher is better and replacement level is 45) was 18.
While it’s good to keep the “small sample” caveat in mind, it’s still a bit worrisome just how bad Schofield was. He did nothing at an NBA level. He was ultra-low usage (11.4%) and inefficient (103 offensive rating). He shot worse than league average from two-point range, three-point range and the free throw line.
Per possession, Schofield was below league average in offensive and defensive rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, fouls and scoring. The only category where he was better than average: turnovers, a function of barely touching the ball.
And his defense was poor.
Among the 69 small forwards who played at least 300 minutes last season, only Sekou Doumbaya (12 PPA) and Terrance Ferguson (3 PPA) rated worse. For crissake, 43-year old Vince Carter managed a 27!
Adding power forwards doesn’t move Schofield up the list. On a per possession basis, he was the NBA’s third least productive forward last season. Not a lot to build on, but...he can only improve, I guess. Maybe.
Oh yeah, he played 1,019 minutes in the G-League where he posted a 68 PPA. Yes, he was a below average player in the G-League.
But, you didn’t click on this for me to dump on Schofield. Maybe he’s spent the offseason studying film, slimming down, working on his skills, and committing to lockdown defense. Maybe he comes back next season ready to be a 3&D contributor.
Unfortunately, that’s not usually how it works. It could happen, but players who performed like Schofield generally did not have productive NBA careers.
Here are the players from league history The Statistical Doppelgänger Machine picked as having similar production at a similar age:
- Allen Crabbe, 2014-15, Portland Trailblazers, age 22 — This was Crabbe’s second season and it rated a replacement level 44. He did get better, but his next average or better season will be his first. At age 25, he registered a career-best 89 PPA and has been below replacement level since.
- James Nunnally, 2013-14, Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks, 23 — This was the one and only “season” for Nunnally. He had a 14 PPA in 54 minutes with the Hawks and a 21 in 111 minutes with Philly. That’s a 19 for the season, one point ahead of Schofield.
- Axel Toupane, 2015-16, Denver Nuggets, 23 — I had to google Toupane to make sure the Doppelgänger Machine wasn’t making him up. Turns out, he’s an actual basketball player from France. He appeared in two NBA seasons and that was plenty. In this comp season, his PPA was 23.
- Reece Gaines, 2004-05, Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks, 24 — This was Gaines’ second season. He posted a -10 PPA. He got better though, notching a career-best 20 the following season.
- Doron Lamb, 2012-13, Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks, 21 — Lamb posted a -3 PPA in this season before improving to a 31 the following season, which would be his last in the NBA.
- Quincy Pondexter, 2010-11, New Orleans Hornets, 22 — Never much good, Pondexter somehow played in six different seasons. His best was a 67 PPA with Memphis at age 24.
- Joe Harris, 2014-15, Cleveland Cavaliers, 23 — A ray of hope. Harris was awful — a 5 PPA — in Cleveland. He got traded with cash and a second round pick to Orlando, which released him the same day. Then he signed a multi-year deal with Brooklyn and started improving. He got to replacement level in his first season with the Nets, then to an 87 PPA, and then to solid starter level the past couple years.
- Malachi Richardson, 2017-18, Sacramento Kings, 22 — Great name, bad player. He was out of the league after three seasons and peaked at a 27 PPA.
- Bostjan Nachbar, 2004-05, Houston Rockets, 24 — Nachbar started his career with four consecutive below replacement level seasons. Somehow, he got a fifth and was actually decent — 84 PPA. He followed that up with a 59 in his final NBA season.
- Davon Reed, 2017-18, Phoenix Suns, 22 — Another guy I had to google to make sure he wasn’t made up.
Of the players on the list, Harris is the only one who became a productive NBA player. The rest were gone from the league after two or three seasons.
The closest comps from Wizards/Bullets history are a 30-year old Tim Legler struggling with injuries, rookie Otto Porter struggling with injuries, and rookie Kelly Oubre who was just struggling. None of those three rate among Schofield’s 100 “most similar” seasons, according to the Doppelgänger Machine.
Next up: Anzejs Pasecniks. After that, it’s time to dig into this year’s NBA draft.