Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Brandon Clarke: Dark Horse Rookie of the Year Candidate?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at 9:30 AM

There has been a lot of much-deserved hype around Ja Morant, whom the Grizzlies drafted with their #2 overall pick. Morant is an excellent player in his own right, and nothing I am about to say is meant to detract from that. 
click to enlarge Brandon Clarke - NBA.COM
  • Brandon Clarke

However, there is a genuine case to be made for Brandon Clarke as a dark horse rookie of the year candidate. Clarke’s impact on the court has been somewhat understated until now.

Using Wins Produced as the measure, Brandon Clarke leads the league among rookies. Wins in basketball are about gaining possession of the ball (without the other team scoring), keeping possession, and converting possessions into points. So what matters in basketball is rebounds, turnovers, and shooting efficiency.

Therefore, the most productive players are players like Clarke. He shoots efficiently and he rebounds. The most productive players may not be the top scorers as scoring depends on both shooting efficiency and shot attempts. A player can boost their scoring average by increasing the number of shots they take. But efficiency matters, and is often overlooked in favor of scoring averages.

Per, among rookies, Brandon Clarke leads the league in efficiency per game (17.1), and in efficiency per 48 minutes (37.1). In efficiency per 48 minutes Clarke doesn’t just lead among rookies, he dominates. In fact, the next closest rookie player in efficiency per 48 minutes (25.9) is Ja Morant.
click to enlarge Brandon Clarke - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Brandon Clarke

Disclaimer: Obviously, this is a rather small sample size, and there are many more games to be played.

Is it still way too early in the season to cast ballots for Rookie of the Year? Of course. But as the narrative for ROY gets shaped, Brandon Clarke should definitely be in the conversation.

*Stats from and*

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