Alright, in light of the recent work of Ken Pomeroy, its time to revisit some of our past work here at TFSB. In this article, Ken points out how wrong he was doubting Deon Thompson. Now, earlier in the season I looked at the main two big men filling the pterodactyl-sized hole at the 4-spot in the Heels' lineup. Also, as many of you who have taken in a game with me know, I wasn't Deon's biggest fan then. But, as you will see below, Deon Thompson has really stepped it up this year, despite the claims of idiot columnists over at SI. Ok, well, idiot is a strong word, but if KenPom has put that same prior thought in with his top 5 blunders of the year perhaps is time we stopped lamenting the loss of Brandan Wright and begun celebrating a great 4-year big man who would be getting way more props if not for this kid.
Wow, what a difference a year makes. Let's get the main complaints out of the way first: yes, Deon doesn't shoot 65% eFG (well, essentially FG% since they're big men) and his offensive rating isn't 119, but honestly, whose is? The offense isn't the issue since Tyler, Ty and Wayne have improved drastically in that category (they're all +5, from 115/116/120 to 121/124/126). Deon's ORtg has improved in its own right, from 93 to 100, mostly thanks to dropping the TORate to near Wright-ian levels (the mid teens), almost doubling his free throw rate (14 to 25), and improving his FT% (20 to 58). That's right, Deon now shoots free throws better than even Brandan Wright!! Now for the impressive part: his rebounding numbers have stayed constant, even through tougher competition, his assist rate has slightly improved, and his block rate has shot up to Brandan Wright-like levels. Ladies and gentlemen, for all intents and purposes, the Heels have replaced Brandan Wright, and it only took Deon a year to catch on. To revisit the Alex situation, he has improved very similarly to Deon, raising his ORtg a similar 7 points, dropping the TORate about 5 as well. The only problem is he's now eerily similar to the December version of Deon Thompson, while Deon is a whole new player.