Once again, Tom Ziller over at SB Nation main continues to put together some great content, and I'm not only saying that because his latest piece on statistical breakout candidates includes three -- yes, three!! -- Grizzlies on it. I'm saying it because it doesn't include any Lakers! I'm kidding of course.
Here's the scoop on his "objective" look into possible breakout candidates:
I used the valuable Basketball-Reference player season finder to pick out my candidates based on various criteria (16 points per 36 minutes for scorers, 15 PER for all-around players, five three-point attempts per 36 and 38 percent for shooters). Do keep in mind that for all candidates I included two standard criteria: that they have played an average of less than 25 minutes per game over the past two seasons combined, and that they are younger than 30.
With that, yes, he did include three Grizzlies on his list of 11 players. They include, Jerryd Bayless, Darrell Arthur and Hamed Haddadi. Yup, Hamed Haddadi.
We've been saying this about Haddadi all along -- when you look at his per-minute numbers, he's been highly productive. If you extend his numbers out to a per-36 average, we're looking at 12.2 points on 54% shooting, 12.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, oh, and 7.5 fouls. Now, he's not going to play 36 minutes per game, but it just goes to show how productive he can be off the glass and on the defensive side of the ball when he has played. Which, as we've mentioned, is a big reason why the Grizzlies gave him a two-year deal. He's still developing! Imagine that.
As for the other two players...
Arthur was well on his way to having a 2011-12 breakout campaign before he missed the entire season due to injury. It really was his mini-breakout in the 2011 playoffs that put Arthur on the map, especially with his ability to get to the rim and score -- he averaged 7.1 points in 15 minutes per game, in the 2011 playoffs. I still think that Arthur has the ability to become a quality NBA player, but I think the concern -- for this year, of course -- is whether or not he can go at 100 percent. Right now he claims to be at about 85 percent, which is great, but in order for him to "breakout" this season he's going to have to get himself at or near 100 percent.
Bayless is a bit of a wildcard, naturally, since we can't say for certain how he'll fit into this system and, as we know, if he'll be one of "Lionel's guys" or if he'll fall the way of O.J. Mayo -- talent, fallen out of favor, and limited, etc. Bayless' per-36 numbers from last season were spectacular, at 18 points, 6 assists and 2.2 threes. What I wouldn't give...!!!
As Ziller notes, Bayless has been a breakout candidate "since birth," so it's not as if he'd miraculously come out of nowhere and start, well, balling. He has the talent and ability to start in this league. Again, to me, it's a matter of fit. And I do think he's a great fit and a need, so from here it's more of a matter of him realizing his talent.