I can’t take credit for this idea, as it originally was a question on Pardon the Interruption. However I’d like to add a twist on it. The original question was whether Thabeet would average 10 points per game over his career. Instead my question is “Will Thabeet have an average of 10 ppg over his first three seasons?” In other words if his career ended after 3 seasons, would his career scoring average be over or under 10 points per game?
To compare with other defensive minded centers, Dikembe Mutombo managed to average 10+ ppg in each of his first 11 seasons. And Muresan just beat the mark at 10.5 ppg. On the other hand, Theo Ratliff wouldn’t reach that number until his 4th season. This was partly due to his low minute count, since he only managed 21.6 minutes per game in his first three years. Meanwhile Tyson Chandler has only reached 10+ ppg once in his career. And Greg Oden has barely played his first two years.
Really this is a question with two components. The first is that Thabeet gets enough minutes per game to reach the mark. Considering that he’s likely to be a top 3 pick, being able to get the playing time shouldn’t be an issue. The second is whether or not Thabeet’s offense will be good enough at the NBA level. To answer yes, you have to believe in both.