Comparing Greg Oden to Olajuwon, Yao, Duncan and Howard

| by Dwight Jaynes

Still trying to catch up after a week of vacation out of town and I found this must-read post from Ben at Blazers Edge, quoting the great Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus and his computer’s projections for Greg Oden. It’s great stuff that you do really want to read, including this:

Pelton wasn’t done however. His feline now properly fed, KP2 had a moment to send over a final flourish. “Because my three-year WARP projections are looking so far into the future, they aren’t quite as reliable. Still, check out SCHOENE’s current comps for Oden. I think you’ll be impressed.”

A “comp” is dork shorthand for comparable and refers to other players from recent NBA history that produced similar statistical profiles. Way back in 2009, I explained how KP2 derives his comps using similarity scores that take into account a range of factors like age, experience, height, weight, minutes played, usage rate and a whole bunch of other statistics.

His similarity scores and the resulting comps are always fascinating. This year, for example, Nicolas Batum’s comps include Rashard Lewis and Mike Miller. Brandon Roy’s include Michael Finley and Kobe Bryant. Jerryd Bayless’s include Sebastian Telfair while LaMarcus Aldridge’s include Antawn Jamison.

As for Oden’s? His comps remain, despite three injury-plagued NBA seasons and scant production as a pro, in a class of their own. I’ve decided to place them in a grey box for emphasis.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan.

Wow. I mean, wow. And earlier in the post Pelton talks about how Oden’s value over the next three seasons is projected to be higher than Brandon Roy’s.

The bad news: the projections do not take injuries into account.

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