Diamond in the Rough?…Alonzo Gee

September 1st, 2011 by Kevin Hetrick

The last of these articles will be about Alonzo Gee. Gee is technically in his second year, but was undrafted and played less than 200 minutes his rookie season. Similar to Luke Harangody, Gee was limited for good comparisons due to a couple of extreme statistical categories. He ranked 131st of 137 swingmen (SG & SF) for turnover rate but was 7th for offensive rebounds. He was also very lowly ranked for usage and assist rate. His high energy, low usage, turnover prone style of play was to be expected based on his college performance. To find comparable players, three items were focused on: usage, turnovers, and passing. From 2002 – 2003 to 2008 – 2009, there were 16 swingmen (19 seasons) that had usage rate lower than 16%, turnover rate greater than 11%, and assist rate less than turnover rate. Gee easily fits into each of these ranges. Half of the 16 players were on their way out of the league, playing less than 1000 minutes for the remainder of their careers. The other half are:

These players can be sorted into the following categories:

Martell Webster, Shawne Williams – Young & talented high first round draft picks (6th and 17th, respectively). Gee doesn’t really fit this mold.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Mickael Pietrus – Good defensive players. In Mbah a Moute’s case, an excellent defensive player. For Pietrus, he is also a decent three point shooter. Despite good tools, Gee often lacks good fundamentals and focus on defense, and he was a 33% three point shooter in college and last season with the Cavs.

Sasha Pavlovic – Bad player, mainly known because he played 6000 minutes on a team with Lebron James. It’s not fair to compare anyone to Pavlovic.

Linas Kleiza, Joey Graham, Dahntay Jones – Players that aren’t particularly good at offense or defense but manage to survive in the NBA. Kleiza can be acceptable offensively, but Graham and Jones have been very bad (Career PER of 11 and 10, respectively). None shoots the three well. Jones is overrated defensively. Presumably this group gets by based on playing hard, and the fact there are 30 teams with 15 roster slots per team.

Ultimately if Gee sticks in the NBA, it’s probably going to be as part of the last group. His best bet is to turn his “motor” and athleticism into high quality defense, however to date; he’s a player with good energy on both ends of the court that hasn’t translated that into performance. Even accounting for Gee’s high offensive rebounding numbers doesn’t signify greater likelihood of success. Of the eight comparable players who were on their way out of the NBA, three had higher offensive rebounding rates than Gee and six had a rate above 4.5%.

That is the conclusion of the “Diamond in the Rough” series. To summarize, a reasonable ceiling for the five “draft day afterthoughts” is:

 Samardo Samuels – 11th man on a 58 win NBA team

 Luke Harangody – Starter for a second place team in the German League

 Manny Harris – 8th man / 2nd best bench scorer for a 43 win NBA team.

 Semih Erden – 7 NBA seasons, 5 teams, never a season with PER above 11

 Alonzo Gee – 6th man for a top 16 Euroleague team.

This study deems Harris as the most likely to succeed, however instead of a diamond, he’s more like a cubic zirconium.

Thanks for reading. Here’s to the Cavs continuing to build towards a much better future.

(Finally, here’s a fun fact about low usage, turnover prone swingmen. From 2002 – 2003 through 2009 – 2010 in the NBA, there were 1050 seasons of over 500 minutes played by a SG or SF. Only 23 of these seasons featured poor passing, turnover prone, low usage players like Alonzo Gee (based on the criteria above). That’s less than three players per season. The Cavs had three players like this on their roster last year in Gee, Joey Graham, and Christian Eyenga. That’s some useless trivia for helping to explain how bad the Cavs wing rotation was last year.)