Opinion: SC Warriors on the fence about Japeth Aguilar
The Santa Cruz Warriors and Japeth Aguilar had 2 games this past weekend at a jamboree.
Usually D-League stats are hard to find for pre-season games since teams usually keep it "in-house" for their own usage, but I was able to find the stats for the Warriors 129-126 win over the Texas Legends.
Japeth played 11 minutes, the fewest of the nine players that saw action. He missed the only shot he took but did manage to grab 3 rebounds, dish out 1 assist and pick up 3 fouls.
From the looks of it he was active in his limited time.
Inside the numbers
Statistical Analysis is a growing trend in NBA basketball. Many front office people and coaches like to look at certain stats including Per 48.
An NBA game/NBA D-League game is played for 48 minutes and a player's effectiveness, especially in limited minutes, can be projected using the per 48 minute stat.
Here's the equation:
Stat / Number of minutes * 48 minutes = stat per 48
For the sake of argument we will not put a Per 48 together for his shot attempts, but we are going to take a look at his other numbers using the equation which I think are comparable based on his position.
3reb /11 minutes = .272 rebounds per minute * 48 minutes = 13.3 RP 48
1 asst/11minutes = 0.09 assists per minute * 48 minutes = 4.3 AP 48
Scrutinizing the roster
Overall I see four players who are on the fence when it comes to who the coaching staff wants to keep. Besides Japeth, the other three are:
Justin Johnson - played for the team least year, but had a bad preseason game
Carlon Brown - athletic wing, played well last night but turned the ball over too much (6)
Daniel Nwaelele - older player because of a military commitment, had solid numbers but didnt shoot it well last night
In the Warriors' win vs the Legends, 3 players recored a DNP (Did Not Play) due to the coaches' decision: 6'9 Rick Jackson, 6'4 Travis Leslie and 5'8 Stefon Hannah. This leads me to believe that these 3 players are alredy firmly in place on the roster.
This means that there are 7 more available spots, which 9 people are vying for. Usually on a 10-man roster you want to carry four, maybe five big men, but because of the athleticism of the league, most teams keep 6 perimeter players and 4 big men.
If the Warriors are keeping 4 and if Rick Jackson is indeed a keeper, then the 3 remaing slots are up for grabs are being battled for by 6'8 Taylor Griffin (LA Clippers Blake Griffins brother), 7'0 Chris Daniels, 6'8 Lance Goulbourne and of course 6'10 Japeth Aguilar.
In this senario, it would be difficult for Japeth to make the roster.
If the Warriors choose to go the 5 big men route, then Japeth has a shot. If I were coaching this team, I would be intrigued with what he brings -- his athleticism, length, the ability to run the floor are positives.
But I would also have to take a look at what we would have to work on and see if we would have the time to develop him while building a winning basketball team.
Public relations effect
The Warriors' organization fully understands what the benefits are in keeping Japeth.
There are so many Filipinos in Northern California, including some of my cousins, that the team would have immediate fans of the organization.
Warriors gear would fly off the shelves and the Philippines, which is absolutely basketball crazy, would pour out their devotion to the team. In Japeth, Filipinos have a player who was born and raised in the Philppines -- his effect, publicity and marketing would be huge.
Consider these numbers: it is estimated that in 2012 the Philippine population will be over 103,000,000 which is a staggering number in itself! But there are also approximately over 11 miilion Filipinos living abroad, including 3.4 million in the US. That could mean a whole lot of Japeth Aguilar products sold!
What it comes down to
The Warriors will have to make a decision on their roster in a few days.
The number one reason why the GS Warriors bought the Santa Cruz team is to develop players, period. In meetings between the coaches and the front office, they will be going over many different senarios but it's going to come down to three questions: how quickly can our players develop? Can this roster help us win games? And do we have players on this roster who can play in the NBA?
Make no mistake. The D-League is not a league for the fans, yes it is a business and everyone wants to make a profit, but for the majority of the D-League, it comes down to development and the future for the parent franchise, in this case, the Golden State Warriors.
A few years ago the LA Lakers were losing 1.5 million a year to run their D-League team. They were worried about losing money, they just wanted to make sure that players like Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Derrick Character would have a place to develop and rehab.
Will he make it?
I don't know the answer to that question. As I write this, he could have been cut by now or he could be signing his contract. All I know that he is in a good spot right now, learning and working on his craft.
Do I think he has the ability to play in the D-League? Yes.
Do I think he will survive the cuts? We'll find out very shortly. - Rappler.com