We shared with you earlier today Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus’ statistical projection of Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette. Now we take a look at his outlook of DeMarcus Cousins for ESPN.com. Again his method, a different one this time, explained in his own words:
This time, the projections are generated by Basketball Prospectus’ SCHOENE Projection System, which uses players’ stats to match them with similar talents at the same age, then uses the development of those peers to generate a projection.
Pelton’s projection of Cousins after the jump…
When you think of Cousins, you probably don’t think of passing, but statistically his assist rate was one of the strongest aspects of his game as a rookie. Similar players (led, amusingly, by fellow Kentucky product Antoine Walker) handed out nearly a third more assists the next season, which would take Cousins over three assists a night. Just six big men in the league, including Griffin, averaged more than Cousins’ projection of 3.2 apg. As important to Sacramento might be a decline in Cousins’ foul rate, projected at more than 6 percent. Cousins led the NBA last season with 4.1 fouls per game. In fact, he fouled 58 more times than anyone else in the league.
Pelton adds that SCHOENE can’t factor a potentially different role for Cousins next year. With Samuel Dalembert testing free agency and the acquisition of J.J. Hickson, Cousins possibly could be the Kings anchor at center next season.
If I didn’t have a chance to watch Cousins play much last year, I’d be surprised by Cousins’ projected assist numbers too. But watching him pick apart defenses with his passing at times was something we all grew accustomed to seeing. He didn’t have much of a chance to showcase that skill at Kentucky. But with Tyreke Evans missing time due to injury last year, Cousins had opportunities to prove he actually possesses the finesse Geoff Petrie likes in his bigs. Pelton’s projected 3.4 assists per game fit what I’d expect out of starting power forwards or centers playing in the Kings Princeton offense.
What do you think DeMarcus will average statistically next year?