When former Indiana Hoosiers great Cody Zeller took the court for the Charlotte Bobcats, it marked the first time I recall seeing five former College Value Add All-Americans in the same NBA game (see All-Time Value Add database here) and nine players who were in the top 1% of Value Add players. Both Kemba Walker (ranked 2nd for 2011 UConn) and Dwyane Wade (3rd for Marquette in 2003) looked like they were on Final Four runs, while Norris Cole (3rd, Cleveland State 2011), Mario Chalmers (4th, Kansas 2008) and Zeller (5th, Indiana 2013) also played.
Basically a Top 5 Value Add player calculates as a 1st Team All-Americans, so this was the equivalent of having five 1st Team All-Americans on the court.
For all the hype about freshman each year, only about three freshman each year are actually in the top 1% of all players (top 40 Value Add players of about 4000 who play each year), so many players go to the NBA without ever being in the top 1% of college players. Sundays game included stars Al Jefferson and LeBron James who went straight from high school and were therefore never in the Value Add Database, and others like Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem finished college prior to the Value Add Database (2003-2014).
Zeller, Chris Bosh (25th, Georgia Tech 2003) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (38th, Kentucky 2012) are three of the rare players to break the top 1% of all Value Add players in their freshman season.
Luke Ridnour (21st, Oregon 2003) was drafted 14th in the same super draft that produced James, Wade and Bosh.
Walker looked like he was back on his shocking 2011 UConn title run for stretches, getting a couple of beautiful steals to go along with three deep three-pointers, six assists, five rebounds, 20 points and going in among the trees for five rebounds.
However, the often ailing Wade look back in the 2003 form that took Marquette past top-ranked Kentucky to the Final Four, and in the end Wade had more weapons to help. He has been one of only a few guards in the league to hit over 50% of his shots, nailing 10 of 16 to go along with five assists to wrap up a 99-88 Game 1 win.
The playoffs are starting to look good for the Heat with the Pacers struggling and the rest of the Eastern Conference weak this season. While knocking off the Heat this year could be tough for the Bobcats, the future looks very bright.
|Played Sunday||Pro Team||College||Best Yr||Value Add Rank|
|Kemba Walker, PG||Charlotte||Connecticut||2011||2|
|Dwyane Wade, SG||Miami||Marquette||2003||3|
|Norris Cole, PG||Miami||Cleveland St.||2011||3|
|Mario Chalmers, PG||Miami||Kansas||2008||4|
|Cody Zeller, C||Charlotte||Indiana||2012||5|
|Luke Ridnour, PG||Charlotte||Oregon||2003||21|
|Josh McRoberts, PF||Charlotte||Duke||2007||25|
|Chris Bosh, C||Miami||Georgia Tech||2003||25|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF||Charlotte||Kentucky||2012||38|
|Gerald Henderson, SG||Charlotte||Duke||2009||52|
|Anthony Tolliver, PF||Charlotte||Creighton||2006||54|
|Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG||Charlotte||Memphis||2008||59|
|James Jones, SF||Miami||Miami FL||2003||98|
|Gary Neal, SG||Charlotte||Towson||2007||104|
|Ray Allen, SG||Miami||pre-VA Uconn||1996||No VA|
|Chris Andersen, PF||Miami||pre-VA Blinn||2001||No VA|
|Bismack Biyombo, C||Charlotte||Congo||2011||No VA|
|Udonis Haslem, PF||Miami||pre-VA Florida||2002||No VA|
|Al Jefferson, C||Charlotte||high school||2004||No VA|
|LeBron James, SF||Miami||high school||2003||No VA|
|Rashard Lewis, PF||Miami||high school||1998||No VA|