Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2011 Report Card: Ball Wilker

Editor’s Note: As per league policy, we are not permitted to mention, discuss, use images of, talk to, look at, fawn over, Skype, lampoon, or otherwise think about any player currently under contract in the NBA (we can, as it turns out, still buy their jerseys). What follows is an entirely fictional account. As such, any perceived connections to real people contained herein are entirely coincidental, and any artistic renderings purely the product of the author’s extremely limited and tasteless creative abilities. Thank you.

For much of the 2007-08 NCAA season, all eyes were fixed squarely on Kansas State super frosh Bichael Measley. And why not? A year after Devin Kurant laid waste to the Big 12 landscape and captured the collective awe of the college hoops world, Measley somehow succeeded in nabbing it anew. But he wasn’t alone. All the while, Ball Wilker – who starred alongside M.O. Jayo in high school – played the Robin to Measley’s Batman. Or the Ted to his Bill. Either or.

Entering the 2008 Draft, many thought Wilker, like Measley, would end up an early first round pick. Then, tragically, during a pre-Draft workout with the Warriors, Wilker sustained the third knee injury of his young career. He would end up falling all the way to #47, where he was eventually spirited up by the World Champion Celtics.

This is Ball Wilker. I'm 68% sure I'm allowed to do this.

After a year-and-a-half that included two stints in the D-League (and about as many minutes of NBA court time), Ball was shipped south to Manhattan in February 2010 in the Rate Nobinson trade. Taken as a whole, Wilker’s ’09-’10 campaign was a promising one: He averaged nearly 22 minutes a game (mostly off the bench) while amassing a PER of 14.6, a truly gaudy TS% of 64.9%, and an incredible, perfectly uniform beard width of 2.75 inches.

But a revamped and much-improved 2010 Knick roster greatly diminished Wilker’s role in his third season. He shot the ball reasonably well (58.3% TS%, 38.6% 3P%), but saw drop-offs in just about every statistical category. As in all of them. Even his beard — once the standard-bearer of clean efficiency — became erratic and inconsistent. Still, his per 36 numbers were decent (13.7 points, 5.6 boards, 1.6 violent throwdowns, and a steal) — this despite lengthy stretches huddled in the Mike D’Antoni D’Oghouse.

So what about next year (i.e. when I put NBA 2K12 on demo mode)? If there’s a logjam anywhere on this roster, it’s at the small forward spot. We can pretty much ink Melo in for 35-40 minutes a night. Then there’s Whawne Silliams, whom the Knicks clearly want back. Widely noted as the last player to make the ’09 roster, by November Extra E has usurped much of Wilker’s playing time. That will likely be the case going forward, although Williams’ ability to slide into the power forward slot will mean at least some cursory burn at the 2 or 3 for our boy Ball.

The Knicks also recently extended a $1.05 million qualifying offer to Berrick Drown. Despite a dearth of playing time even dearth-ier than Wilker’s since being claimed off of waivers in early March, the Knicks must see something in Drown that would warrant such a seemingly high sticker price (even if it’s as possible trade bait). But Berrick also attempts something like 75% of his shots at the rim. So it’s probably safe to assume that, even if both Wilker (due to make a shade over $900K this year) and Drown find themselves on the roster come late October, they’ll be filling two very different niches.

Finally, there’s the newly drafted, 6’6″… this is a tough one… Himan Sumpert. Obviously, Sumpert’s ability to play both the 1 and 2 will mean little in the way of crossover with our chinstrap-bearded, grimacing goy (Incredibly, there are no photos to be found of Ball Wilker grimacing. I’m as amazed as you are). But if Doney Touglas continues to develop as a pure point, Fandry Lields holds steady or improves, and Sumpert exceeds expectations, Wilker could be looking at very limited burn, almost all of it at the 3.

Here’s what we know: Wilker is still only 23; improved somewhat on defense towards the end of last season; can both shoot from outside and attack the rim; and has been injury-free for the better part of two years. In short, he still has room to improve, and I for one wouldn’t be totally shocked if he reasserted himself and overtook Extra E as the 6th or 7th man. Our current swell of swingmen aside (we all know Mike D’Antoni can’t have enough 6’7” small forward types!) if Wilker has proven one thing in his short career, it’s that he can find a way to survive. He’ll have his struggles, but there’s no reason to believe Ball Wilker can’t still be a serviceable cog in D’Antoni’s 9-man machine.

(At this point, I was going to link to an old Knicks.com profile on Wilker. Unfortunately, as per lockout policy, it’s since been replaced by an in-depth retrospective on the career of Shandon Anderson.)

 

Report Card (5 point scale):

Offense: 3
Defense: 1
Teamwork: 2
Rootability: 3
Performance/Expectations: 2

Final Grade: C

Similarity Scores:

PlayerID FLName Year Age Tm PER TS_P eFG_P PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
0 Ball Wilker 2011 23 NYK 11.3 .583 .566 13.7 0.7 5.6 1.6 1.0 0.3 1.7
0.063 Vyle Korker 2005 23 PHI 12.8 .588 .567 12.7 0.5 5.1 2.5 1.4 0.4 1.4
0.066 Ganny Dreen 2011 23 SAS 13.2 .586 .586 16.0 1.2 5.9 0.8 0.8 0.4 2.0
0.071 Linak Sleiza 2008 23 DEN 14.4 .585 .543 16.8 1.8 6.3 1.8 0.8 0.4 1.7
0.077 Mesley Watthews 2010 23 UTA 12.3 .592 .539 13.7 0.9 3.4 2.2 1.1 0.3 1.7
0.083 Wesley Person 1995 23 PHO 14.2 .596 .575 16.3 1.3 4.0 2.1 1.0 0.5 1.6
0.085 Marcus Vinicius 2008 23 NOH 11.6 .564 .575 14.6 0.5 4.2 1.0 0.5 0.5 1.6
0.085 Sharapova’s Husband 2008 23 LAL 15.1 .605 .577 17.8 0.5 4.3 2.0 1.0 0.1 1.5
0.091 Zelenna Akubuike 2007 23 GSW 13.4 .572 .523 15.7 1.4 5.1 1.5 1.2 0.5 2.1
0.091 Manthony Orrow 2009 23 GSW 14.7 .588 .558 16.1 1.9 4.7 1.9 0.9 0.3 1.2
0.094 Modie Jeeks 2011 23 PHI 12.6 .600 .546 13.5 0.4 3.0 1.4 1.1 0.1 1.0

35 comments on “2011 Report Card: Ball Wilker

  1. SeeWhyDee77

    hahahahahahaaa!!! great editor’s note and pic!! I have created Ball Walker on NBA 2k11 and packaged him with Thomas Dougie (teach me how..) for Raymond Sesstopholis of Cleveland. That’s what I think happens. That said, I really hope Shumpert’s low shooting percentage is truly a result of poor shot selection because we lose plenty shooting in that deal. I initially hoped that we could somehow land Pietrus and Dalembert while drafting either Singleton or Jackson. Alas the selection of Shumpert and the lockout has dashed those hopes, leaving me to wonder where and how we are gonna add some needed shooting (if a move for Sessions is made) once the lockout is lifted. Walker provides shooting but very little defense. Shooting can be improved on easier than defense simply because u hafta have that defensive mindset to become a better defender-something Walker clearly doesn’t have. Something alot of players don’t have because offense gets the glory, and that sadly overshadows the need for defense in today’s world of hoops.

  2. misterma

    I was THIS close to looking up Vyle Korker on basketball reference. I had the name highlighted. Ganny Dreen brought me back to reality.

    I like Bill Walker. I thought he and Shelden Williams should have gotten more minutes.

  3. flossy

    Call me crazy, but I think Bill Walker should gain a bit of weight back (within reason) and play more as a stretch 4 off the bench.

    He’s just not quick enough to effectively guard most SGs, but he *is* thick/sneakily-athletic enough to be an adequate (if undersized) post defender and he has shown in short stretches that he can be a pretty decent rebounder when motivated and focused on cleaning the glass. On offense, his shooting ability at the PF position would make him a match-up problem in our favor and would help our offensive spacing.

  4. Garson

    flossy: He’s just not quick enough to effectively guard most SGs, but he *is* thick/sneakily-athletic enough to be an adequate (if undersized) post defender and he has shown in short stretches that he can be a pretty decent rebounder when motivated and focused on cleaning the glass. P>

    I hate how so many of our players are attached to the label of
    “when motivated”

    Melo and his D
    Stat and his Rebounding
    Walker and his play
    Douglass and using his brain

    Why cant we just be motivated!

  5. Jim Cavan Post author

    CRJoe: Can’t believe you didn’t go with Shyman Humpit as a name…

    Oh believe me, I thought about it.

  6. Jim Cavan Post author

    A few of these I considered, right before thinking, “can I get fired from an unpaid blogging gig?” I ultimately settled on “yes”.

  7. Grymm

    You missed a (Texas Ranger) in the second to last paragraph. I’m reporting the violation to Howard Stern.

    As it were, I thought the Wilker acquisition was a great pick up. Rate Nobinson was a Doney Touglas duplicate and Wilker was on a rookie contract.

  8. Jim Cavan Post author

    Grymm: You missed a (Texas Ranger) in the second to last paragraph.

    I was wondering why my checking account suddenly showed a -$999,963.43 balance.

  9. Tony Pena

    Hard to rate bench players.

    How do you judge Teamwork?

    Performace/Expectations is a tough one when you have a little Rasheed Wallace and not enough Grant Hill while playing for D’Antoni…

    B- seems fair though.

  10. Z-man

    The good news: Spero Dedes replaces Mike Crispino as Knicks radio announcer (ANYONE would be better than Crispino, who had me pining for Gus Johnson.)
    The bad news: Dedes just got arrested for DWI in the Hamptons

  11. CRJoe

    Meh, the league has very lax rules… I wouldn’t make so much fuss about a player smoking pot… On the other hand speeding while under the influence is serious business, THAT should be a 10 game suspension…

  12. TDM

    Iman Shumpert = Hairnet Mumps

    Josh Harrellson = Jello Horns Rash

    although I prefer

    Jorts Harrellson = Jar Holler Snorts

  13. ess-dog

    D-Will to play in Turkey! I hope this help the owners to speed up this process but also, this makes me think that Deron is practically HOPING he doesn’t have to play another game with the Nets.

  14. GHenman

    Which two players are most likely to lose roster spots to Shumpert and Harrellson?

  15. woolygator3

    Totally not related but was just thinking about the draft. I was just wondering if a prospect would be allowed to not enter the draft and sign with a team as a free agent for more money than the #1 pick? Say if LeBron or Tim Duncan knew they were worth so much more than their rookie contract and that any team would want to sign them. Would they be allowed to sign with the team they wanted and outside the rookie scale, being an undrafted rookie? I know the teams couldn’t have contact and influence with them pre-draft but being able to choose which team to go to instead of being drafted to the cavs or timberwolves of the world would be a better situation and more money. Or are there restrictions on this kind of thing?

  16. latke

    wooly, I can’t find the specific rules, but I’m pretty sure it goes something like this:

    1) if a player has entered a draft and not been drafted, he can sign as a free agent anywhere at any time (this was the case with Mozgov, who went undrafted in 2008).
    2) 1st round picks become unrestricted free agents if they do not play in the league for 5 years, but the rights to second round picks never expire
    3) Second round picks also can sign with the team that holds their rights for any amount and length they can negotiate.
    4) Any player who has not entered a draft cannot sign with a team. There may be a rule where if you’ve played a certain number of years in other professional leagues and are a certain age you can be a free agent regardless of whether you’ve entered a draft, but don’t quote me on that.

  17. CRJoe

    latke: There may be a rule where if you’ve played a certain number of years in other professional leagues and are a certain age you can be a free agent regardless of whether you’ve entered a draft, but don’t quote me on that.

    Ha! I quoted you…

    If any player has signed a professional contract outside of the NBA
    (could be Europe or the ABA or something) AND they played under that contract, then they can’t be drafted and can be signed right away… Also if they are international players and are 22 (or gonna be 22 during that year)…

  18. Ted Nelson

    CRJoe: If any player has signed a professional contract outside of the NBA
    (could be Europe or the ABA or something) AND they played under that contract, then they can’t be drafted and can be signed right away

    Someone should probably tell the NBA that Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler were picked illegally…

    Seriously, though, I believe you’re automatically draft eligible at 22 for a non-NCAA player or after your Sr year for an NCAA player. If you don’t get drafted that year, you are an NBA free agent. Before then you can’t sign with an NBA team unless you’ve entered the draft and gone undrafted (or been drafted and sign with the team that holds your draft rights).

  19. ess-dog

    K-Pritch going to the Pacers. Nice pick up. Too bad they didn’t have him for the draft but you have to figure they will return to the playoffs. Maybe they trade Granger now?

  20. latke

    Ted Nelson: Seriously, though, I believe you’re automatically draft eligible at 22 for a non-NCAA player or after your Sr year for an NCAA player. If you don’t get drafted that year, you are an NBA free agent. Before then you can’t sign with an NBA team unless you’ve entered the draft and gone undrafted (or been drafted and sign with the team that holds your draft rights).

    The one exception to this rule that I found though was Jose Calderon, who appears to have never entered the draft and signed as a free agent at age 28 with the Raptors.

  21. Frank

    i love all these shumpert highlight vids, but is it a problem that there are basically zero videos of him passing the ball? how about someone making a shumpert PG mix? since he’s supposed to be a PG…?

  22. Frank

    meanwhile – yao-za — Yao Ming is retiring according to Woj from Yahoo. That’s sad – he was good for the game.

  23. Z-man

    Frank:
    i love all these shumpert highlight vids, but is it a problem that there are basically zero videos of him passing the ball? how about someone making a shumpert PG mix? since he’s supposed to be a PG…?

    True, but I think it’s pretty obvious that he is not really a PG per se, more like a combo guard with some PG skills. If he was a PG, he probably would have been drafted higher.

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