We all like defense, right? Or, well, we at least appreciate it, yeah? (Yes, Virginia fans, we get it: you guys *really* enjoy defense and shot clock violations.) After a month of college hoops action, let’s take a look at a stock report. No, not that depressing stock report involving Tarif Man. I’m talking about basketball and STOCKS — steals and blocks.
Combining those two statistics is a solid tool for evaluating the defensive upside of draft prospects. Basically, it creates one statistic that can better represent defensive impact on a player. Obviously, blocks and steals aren’t the only things that account for value on that end of the floor. However, it’s an indicator of length, activity and defensive intuition. At the quarter pole of the season, let’s take a look at who is doing a good job collecting STOCKS in the ACC.
According to Sports Reference, there are 10 players in the ACC this season (minimum of 75 minutes) that have block rates of two percent or better and a steal rate of at least three percent. Some of the names here, like Zion Williamson, will absolutely not surprise you.
|Player||Team||Block Rate (blocks)||Steal Rate (steals)||STOCKS|
|Zion Williamson||Duke||7.5% (19)||4.2% (19)||38|
|Paschal Chukwu||Syracuse||17.8% (17)||2.1% (5)||22|
|Javin DeLaurier||Duke||8.5% (11)||4.8% (11)||22|
|Steffon Mitchell||Boston College||3.3% (7)||3.5% (15)||22|
|Nickeil Alexander-Walker||Virginia Tech||2.2% (4)||3.8% (17)||21|
|Rex Pflueger||Notre Dame||2.4% (5)||3.3% (14)||19|
|Michael Devoe||Georgia Tech||3.7% (6)||3.5% (11)||17|
|Braxton Key||Virginia||2.1% (3)||5.1% (14)||17|
|Abdoulaye Gueye||Georgia Tech||7.5% (8)||3.4% (7)||15|
|Bourama Sidibe||Syracuse||6.2% (4)||4.3% (7)||11|
The parameters on these filters are sort of arbitrary, and leave off some guys that have been impact players on defense. (Sorry, mates.) For instance, at Georgia Tech James Banks currently leads the ACC in block rate, 10.9 percent, and his 14 blocks would rate pretty well in terms of STOCKS. However, he’s yet to record a steal.
Wake Forest’s Jaylen Hoard has 12 STOCKS, but his rates — 1.9 percent steal rate and 2.9 percent block rate — place him just outside this list. That could all change, though, after Thursday’s matchup with Charlotte.
- Zion Williamson: Let’s just take another second to appreciate the full impact of this guy. Williamson can basically do everything on the except for three-point shooting (15.4 3P%). Currently, he’s one of only two Division I players with both 15 blocks and 15 steals. This is an absurd basketball player. It’s also clear Duke has either instructed Williamson to take chances in passing lanes — or they’ve at least given him the freedom to freelance on that end. Williamson is a bit of a gambled when it comes to gunning for steals.
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker: A fast-rising NBA Draft prospect, Alexander-Walker is shooting threes (44.1 3P%) and has added a pick-and-roll shot creation aspect to his game (1.23 points per possession, according to Synergy). Part of that equation, though: his two-way impact — 21 STOCKS is pretty darn good.
- Javin DeLaurier: This is what I wrote about back in August — DeLaurier has the skill set, motor and frame to fit well as a two-way asset around Duke’s talented rookie class. On offense, he’s shooting 85 percent from inside the arc; defensively, he’s been a big influencer, especially at the rim. Williamson and DeLaurier are the only two players in the ACC with 10+ blocks and steals. Those steals and blocks are major, too, because they trigger Duke’s vaunted fast break. According to Synergy, the Blue Devils have scored 1.35 points per possession in transition this season (73 eFG%), which ranks No. 6 in the nation.
- Braxton Key: Early in the season, Tony Bennett has mixed and matched his lineups; Virginia has already used three different starting lineup combinations in the first eight games. Kihei Clark has added dimensions to UVA on both sides of the ball, and so has Key. This is why it was so critical that Key became eligible this season for the Cavaliers after transferring in from Alabama. The ‘Hoos rank third in adjusted defensive rating, per KenPom, and with De’Andre Hunter (surprisingly low in terms of STOCKS) and Mamadi Diakite, UVA has three long, rangy frontcourt defenders.