Most were shocked when Breitbart Sports was the first outlet to name Frank Kaminsky as the best center in the country back on February 14, 2014. Winning the title required him to beat the best two NBA prospects, and after scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns he now faces Jahlil Okafor.
Towns and Okafor will go ahead of Kaminsky in the NBA draft and will very likely be better NBA players. However, Breitbart Sports followed the All-American listing last year by naming Kaminsky as the top college player this February, something the AP agreed with more recently. A look at the true modern stats compiled into www.valueaddbasketball.com shows how Kaminsky has easily been better than Okafor overall this year, and how the other four top players for each team stack up, giving Wisconsin an ever so tiny edge in Monday’s title game:
Kaminsky averages 126.7 points generated per 100 times with the ball, ten better than Okafor thought not quite as good as Duke guard Quinn Cook.
Okafor is the best shooter by far at 66.7% eFG (players get a half shot made for every three-pointer made to add to their percentage).
Okafor is by far the best offensive rebounder, grabbing 14.7% of all shots missed by Duke.
Duke’s Tyus Jones is the best assist man, getting an assist 27.9% of the time a teammate scores.
The first of two things that really hurt Okafor is his 18.2% turnover rate—worse of any of the eight top players on the court and more than double that of Sam Dekker (9.0).
Okafor nudges Kaminsky by drawing a foul 5.4% of the time, but he is hurt by only hitting 51% (.513) of his free throws for a second weakness. Despite is greatness, his terrible numbers in turnovers and missed free throws hold his offensive Value Add to 5.42, well behind Kaminsky’s 8.15. This means Kaminsky adds almost three more points a game to the Badgers final scores than Okafor does to Duke.
On defense, Kaminsky is a much better rebounder with 25.4% of all opponent’s misses grabbed, making this the ultimate matchup of Kaminsky’s dominating defensive rebounding vs. Okafor’s dominating defensive rebounding.
Both stars block 4.6% of opponent’s shots, while Duke has the top two steals guys in the redhot Justise Winslow and Jones.
Overall, Kaminsky is the best defender in the game, holding opponents to 3.08 points less than they would score with him out of the game.
Once adjusted for position, Kaminsky has by far the highest Value Add rating in the game—worth 10.99 points to his team heading into the Sweet 16, and since then he has clearly moved up for 3rd place and could even top the final chart tomorrow with a game as good as he played in the semifinal.
One other factor: Dekker and Winslow are the hottest players in the game since the ratings at the bottom came out early in the tournament—so either of them could be a star.
A close call with Duke’s defense so improved, but a slight edge to the Badgers.