I’ve said all year that MU will be better next year, and then good enough to make a Final Four run. I just ran Value Add with only the Final Four games remaining, and for the first time I’m not so sure MU will be better next year than this. Normally any time you only lose two players – no matter how good – the team improves, but actually projections show MU dropping just slightly next year before getting up to Kentucky levels in 2014. Here are the final MU Value Adds for this season, and the projected Value Adds for each player in 2013 and 2014.
So MU basically projects just over 1% behind this years team. Mayo actually pulled his season Value Add from 1.31 to 1.45 in just the three tournament games, so he certainly looks like he could blow past the 2.89% calculation. Since Blue is even younger than Mayo at this point, you also wonder if his biggest jump won't come next year to push him past 3.21% since he will be a sophomore age wise - and of course if our two centers can stay healthy that could be a huge boost. MU also goes from being the 233rd tallest team to the 60th tallest team next year and 40th tallest team in 2014 - so the potential is there to potentially be even better than this year - BUT it will take a committee improvement to make up for DJO and Crowder.
However, if the players simply average out to standard improvement, the projected 40.91% in 2014 is actually higher than even Kentucky or Syracuse were this season.
The reason for the slight drop next year is that even though MU has so much talent coming in, improving, and coming back from injury/redshirt, the updated Value Adds I ran through the Elite 8 games show that while MU only loses two players this year – it truly was the 2nd most valuable duo this season behind Kentucky:
Top Five Duos based on combined Value Add in 2011-12
1. Kentucky: Anthony Davis & Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 17.85-18.31%
2. Marquette: Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder 16.44%
3. Ohio State: Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft 15.40%
4. Kansas: Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey 14.16%
5. Vanderbilt: John Jenkins and Jeffrey Taylor 13.79%
I will be posting the Value Add for all returning players in the days ahead to see how we stack up against the rest of the Big East and the country next year, but the future looks very bright. When you take the standard improvement of a player from one year to the next, and the average freshman contribution based on a players rank, MU looks almost just as good next year and in 2014 projects to match the cumulative value adds of Kentucky and Syracuse with Fab Melo this year.
MU slightly behind Value Adds of Elite 8 this year
All Final Four teams were in the preseason Value Add Top 5 released on June 1 of last year or the regular season ending Value Add this year. As you can see, Marquette’s 30.84 put them close to the Elite 8 level, and the projected 40.91 if the roster stayed in tack for 2014 is actually better than any team had this year:
Kentucky 38.84 (2nd preseason)
Syracuse 36.14 (36.14 with Melo 40.21, 6th preseason)
Ohio State 32.19 (3rd preseason)
UNC 30.81 (1st preseason)
Louisville 25.85 (5th preseason, injuries held down)
Certainly some players will exceed projections, and others will fall short or even transfer out – and in fact assuming Chris Otule is granted the medical redshirt we are overbooked by one scholarship in 2014. A dream scenario would be Kendrick Nunn signing, as he would projected be one of the rare freshman to make an immediate impact with a projected 4.23% Value Add at point guard the year after Junior graduates. But even without him, MU is absolutely stacked for 2014.
The thing that many fans don’t grasp is just how much players typically improve from year-to-year. Excluding players who leave early for the NBA draft rather than finish all four years, there are about 650 players in each class that get Value Add during their four-year career. The average Value Add by class – not counting adjustments for position, are:
|Draft this year (not included above)||3.60||-1.46||5.07|
|Draft next year (not included above)||2.64||-0.89||3.53|
So the majority players are ready to test the NBA waters if they have a season with a Value Add of more than 5% - which DJO and Crowder did this year.
So while we project freshman Value Add based on their rankings (45th highest ranked freshman in the country is projected to perform next year as well as 45th highest Value Add freshman did this year), we can project other players based on their year and how they did in the previous season. The table below shows that a sophomore will typically produce 2.46 times as much offense as he did his freshman year, then put up 1.46 times as much offense his junior year while improving his defense by 1.56 percent. It is actually unusual to have a player make a huge jump between his junior and senior year, though we have certainly seen several from Jerel McNeal to Jae Crowder do it here.
Here is what you multiply a players offensive and defensive Value Add by to project their next season:
|Average Value Add multiplication||Offense||Defense||Total|
Last year after developing Value Add, my projections simply doubled the offense for every returning player and left defense unchanged, but with further study this is more accurate. A player’s defense improves by about 16% each year, but his offense takes a huge jump between his freshman and sophomore year of 146%, then improves 46% his junior year and just 13% his senior year.
We may never again have a duo as dominant as DJO and Crowder were this year, but the program is getting deeper and deeper and fast approaching the point where we could have the three, four or five dominant players that are typically needed for an Elite 8 or Final Four run.