In general I think it’s a good idea to say, “Spoiler Alert: Plot Climax”, but I don’t need to do that when talking about the new Godzilla movie because I haven’t seen it. It’s not the plot I take offense to anyway, I’m disappointed in the choice of lead monster. With today’s CGI the giant, furry, and oh so cute Mothra could still wreck havoc on the city but unlike Godzilla he would also sell millions of soft, fuzzy pillows to little boys and girls everywhere. I’ve already mailed my script to Disney so don’t go trying to steal my ideas. And what about King Ghidorah, the three-headed dragon monstrosity? If I had to put down a few bucks between him and Godzilla then I’m taking King Ghidorah. Sure Godzilla has his strengths with the loud roar and all but he doesn’t fly. So while Godzilla is flailing his little T-Rex arms and squawking like a pissed off parrot, the King can leisurely glide around and deliver deadly destruction whenever he so pleases.
Godzilla is a tried and true brand so he makes the most sense but I don’t think that makes him the right choice. In a Russell Westbrook vs John Wall debate you would probably assume Westbrook makes the most sense too – but I’m not so sure. Actually I am sure, if you remember last time out I told you I was going into these comparisons with a predetermined winner. So before we get started I’m going to go ahead and put a few bucks down on John Wall. It would be a much easier debate if he could fly, but either way he’s still going to be a summer, I mean winter blockbuster.
Westbrook shot right around his career average this past year at 43.7% on 17.2 shots per game. The shots attempts came down but this can be attributed to a steep decline in playing time, nearly 4 minutes per game fewer than the previous year. After the All-Star break his minutes came down as the Thunder prepared for the playoffs and perhaps due to rest the efficiency shot up to 45.5% from the field. Wall shot a nearly identical 43.3% on 16.3 ShPG. A slight decline from last year but with nearly 3 additional 3-pointers attempted per game the decline was predictable. However like Westbrook, Wall also say a sharp increase to 45.8% from the field post All-Star break.
This looks like an dead heat to me and I would predict slight upticks for both. Wall due to continued developmental growth and Westbrook due to hopefully being healthy again. I would predict 44% for both and this category is a push.
Even with the two injuries Westbrook still got to line 6.4 times per game and shot at a near career average of 82.6%. Wall however saw a significant decline in attempts from 6.2 in ’12-’13 to 4.8 last year and shot a nearly identical 80.5%. The biggest difference though is that Westbrook saw a 2nd half increase in attempts as his body healed while Wall saw his attempts dwindle to only 3.8 per game.
Based off of last year Westbrook gets a slight edge in this category. As far as I can tell the attempts for both should stay about the same, 6.5 for Westbrook at 82% and 4.5 for Wall at 80%, giving Westbrook the categorical win for next year too.
For the past 3 years Westbrook has increased his 3-pointers attempted from 3.0 to 3.7 to last years career high 4.7 attempts and 1.5 3PTM. Unfortunately that was at only 31.8% 3-pt shooting, which is well below league average. Meanwhile Wall’s 3-pointers attempted skyrocketed to a surprising 3.8 per game and 1.3 3PTM on an even more surprising near league average 35.1%.
For next year I think Westbrook comes down a tick to 4.5 attempts and Wall goes up a tick to 4.0 attempts per game. Nothing screams regression to me so I’m going to predict both for 1.3 3PTM per game and call this category a tie.
Even though Westbrook lost 4 minutes per game he still scored 21.8 PPG, which was a career high on a per-36 minute basis. Wall also scored a career high at 19.3 PPG.
A healthy Westbrook scores 23 PPG, that is probably out of reach for Wall so even if manages a little more growth Wall should get to 20 PPG. That’s another win for Westbrook, this isn’t shaping up how I wanted it to so far…
It really was an amazing year for Westbrook. Once again, even with losing minutes, he still pulled down a career high 5.7 boards, mostly due to a career high 4.5 defensive boards. However the offensive boards have steadily declined each year to last years career low 1.2 per game. Wall stayed around his career average of 4.1 rebounds per game.
Even though Westbrook’s boards have been climbing I think they very well could have peaked last year, and with the decline in offensive boards I’m going to predict slight regression at 5.2 rebounds per game. Wall will get 4.2, maybe not that high, I will circle around and instead predict that Wall will get 1+π rebounds per game, exactly! But that’s still not enough and Westbrook takes another category.
Remember when Westbrook would give 8 assists per game? We were so much younger then. 6.9 APG Last year is solid and about average for a point guard, but for a 1st round pick of a point guard that number is low. Wall on the other hand with a career high 8.8 assists per game that jumped to a nearly drug dealer level 9.3 per game post All-Star break.
Finally a category Wall wins and it’s the big one. Why do we draft point guards? Here’s a hint: it isn’t for their terrible FG shooting or high turnovers. For three years in a row now Westbrook has failed to crack the 7.4 assist per game threshold and with Kevin Durant being such a dominant presence on the court I don’t see it changing. My prediction for next year is 7.2 assists per game. Wall on the other hand still has the look of an improving player and next year I feel confident predicting 9.2 assists per game. That’s a big win for Wall. Does it equal the previous 3 losses and 2 ties? No, but it’s close.
Nearly identical steals with Westbrook getting the slight edge of 1.9 vs Wall’s 1.8.
Both have a career average of 1.6 steals per game and I feel supremely confident calling this category a tie and predicting both at 1.7 next year.
The past 2 years prior to this one Wall looked like he was going to approach 1.0 block per game, but alas it came down this past year to a mediocre 0.5 a block per game. Westbrook isn’t known for his shot blocking and a career low 0.2 last year is barely worth mentioning.
I think Wall comes back a little with the blocks this coming year and I predict about 0.7 per game. With Westbrook probably topping out again at only 0.2 that leaves a 0.5 a block per game difference which is significant, especially from a point guard.
Westbrook with nearly a career high 3.8, although on a per-36 minute basis it is a career high, and Wall gets right at his career average 3.6 turnovers per game.
With both of these guys having the ball in their hands so much I don’t see either gaining much ground and the difference is negligible at best.
So a very early side-by-side prediction would look something like this:
FG%, 3-PTM, Steals, and Turnovers are either tied or the difference is negligible.
Westbrook takes Points, Boards, and FT% ever so slightly.
Wall takes Assists and Blocks.
We are in the back-end of the 1st round in our fake 12er, 9-cat, H2H. We are sure we want a point guard and a decision needs to be made before the draft shot clock expires. We will have no time to do this then so a peek into the draft’s future should be done before. As I look later in the draft it becomes obvious what is easy to find and what is not. Points, everyone scores points, and I would argue that there isn’t an easier category to pick up later in the draft or in free agency once the year starts. Rebounds, I would argue, is the 2nd easiest category to find and the 1 board per game difference between these two can be made up at nearly any position. Assists and Blocks on the other hand are the most difficult stats to make up for because there just aren’t as many players that do it, and there are almost none that can help both.
So the question now becomes what early-to-mid 2nd rounder are we going to pair this mid-to-late 1st round point guard with? If paired with Carmelo Anthony or Paul George we would add points, FT%, and decent boards but low blocks and few assists means they would create a more well rounded team with Wall. If paired with a big like DeMarcus Cousins, LeMarcus Aldridge, or Al Jefferson we would add high end points and boards, but mediocre blocks for a big and few assists means once again a more well rounded team would be the one paired with John Wall. Finally, I can’t ignore the 800-lb gorilla in the room. Westbrook has now had multiple surgeries on his right knee and even though this is the 1st year he’s missed a single game I’m confident the probability of another injury has risen. Wall’s injury history is the opposite, after a ’12-’13 year full of nagging injuries Wall played all 82 games this past season. Since injuries can only be accurately predicted for Andrew Bogut and Eric Gordon all I can do is go off of feel, and my feeling is that John Wall is not only the better pick but the safer one too.