Rookie-of-the-year Chasedown? Edge, Simmons – but Tatum is closing the gap

rookie of the year NBA - Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum

NBA writers and observers are starting to pay increased reee-sssspect to Jayson Tatum in the rookie-of-the-year race.

Ben Simmons, the 21-year-old “red shirt” rookie from the 76ers, remains the clear front-runner. Tatum, though, appears to be closing the gap.

As true Celtic fans, we’re hesitant to spend a lot of time thinking about individual honors. Banner 18 remains the thing. But a quick peek at the advanced statistics for both wouldn’t hurt, would it? Nah.

rookie of the year NBA Jayson Tatum Ben Simmons advanced stats


Volume and responsibility (Simmons)
vs. efficiency, wins (Tatum)

It’s hard to compare statistics between players at different positions — but then again, comparing players at different positions is what you do in an MVP or rookie-of-the-year vote.

Simmons, at point guard, has more responsibility for leading his young team, and more opportunities. More assists per 36 minutes for Simmons (7.2) than Tatum (1.6). On the other hand, also more turnovers (3.7 Simmons to 1.5 Tatum.)

Surprisingly, perhaps, Simmons has an edge in rebounding, though the 76ers seem to rely on him and Joel Embid on the boards than the Celtics with a balanced rebounding corps.

In efficiency, the edge is solidly Tatum — not just against other rookies, but much of the NBA. Tatum’s true shooting percentage of .648 puts him, at this point in the season, above Kevin Durant (.626). That’s Kevin Durant this year, by the way, not at age 19.

Tatum isn’t called on to initiate the offense very often, so, sure, he “should be” more efficient.

On the other hand, Tatums fourth quarter and crunch time shooting is even further off the rookie charts. The league benchmark for clutch shooting, per, is 45.9 percent. Tatum is shooting just above 60 percent (effective FG%) in clutch and “clutch-squared” situations.

Value over replacement player (which adjusts for the fact they play different positions)? Slight advantage Simmons, 1.3 to 1.1 for Tatum.

Win shares (which normally favor higher-usage players like Simmons)? Tatum 3.3, Simmons 2.1.

In short, given the rise in 76er wins and the periodic triple doubles Simmons puts up, it’s still his race to lose. Still, if he listens closely, he may just hear Jayson Tatum’s footsteps.

RT, or not RT?

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Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff is composed of fans, journalists, disbarred attorneys, people laid off by ESPN, and other disreputable types who spend too much time watching basketball -- and loving it. If you'd like to join our merry band, you can post a comment, tweet us at @Celts247, or email us (see the contact page.) The only requirement is that you bleed green.
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  1. Pingback: NBA-rookie-year-Simmons-Tatum-Kuzma-Mitchell-advanced-stats

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