Last week I wrote about how the men’s basketball team compared to NBA players based on advanced statistics. Those formulas were also used to do the same thing for the Lady Bulldogs based on the same rules and number of games. Look here if you want to see the rules, explanation of the numbers and how the guys compare to NBA players.
Jada Perkins = Mike Conley
Perkins has a 17.00 PER, 8.38 rebound rate and a 29.01 assist ratio. Perkins has been pretty solid throughout the first few games, and her game is well-rounded for a freshman. She pulls down a surprising amount of rebounds for her size which mean she is hustling for those boards. Conley is a player that is pretty similar by the numbers—being a good distributor and contributing in most other areas of the game well. Both players could use a bit of work shooting and taking better shots, but their overall game makes up for that most of the time.
Jada Smith = Ricky Rubio
Smith has a 12.52 PER, 5.59 rebound rate and a 36.71 assist ratio. Smith is clearly a great distributor by the numbers, and she appears to be getting better every game. With her assist ratio she would be one of the top five players in the NBA. The clear problem has been her shooting as she’s been mostly inconsistent, especially from deep. Those two characteristics make her a lot like Rubio, who is great at creating good shots for other players, but isn’t as much of a threat himself, especially from behind the arc. If Smith continues to grow in the offense as she has through just the first games this season, expect her to also post better shooting numbers as the season goes on.
Chelsea Bodiford = Klay Thompson
Bodiford has a 22.77 PER, 2.36 rebound rate and a 17.36 assist ratio. Bodiford has been lights out this season from behind the three-point line. This has made her extremely dangerous and the leading scorer for the Lady Bulldogs. Bodiford is an excellent shooter, but no one can can compare to Stephen Curry, but his backcourt partner, Klay Thompson makes some sense. He’s a better rebounder, and not as efficient as Bodiford, but the shooting is where the comparisons come in. They can both shoot unlike anyone else they compete with besides teammates but Thompson is probably a more complete player. Bodiford will continue to score in bunches all season long due to her shooting stroke.
Kelsey Risner = Draymond Green
Risner has a 21.23 PER, 15.78 rebound rate and a 19.76 assist ratio. Risner’s efficiency would probably be better if she shot more, but that’s not what the team has needed this season. Risner is listed at 5-9 which allows her to play the four, but in her career as a Lady Bulldog has played at the five. This season there is a lot more depth at the forward position so she probably won’t have to do that anymore. There are two major qualities that has made her special—outside shooting and tenacity. Risner is always fighting for rebounds and loose balls which has been key to giving Union those second-chance points. Green has shown for the Warriors that he can be that guy to get those loose balls and boards while being tough enough to guard guys much bigger than himself as Risner has done at times this season. Both players’ ability to switch onto most players defensively is part of what adds to their value.
Tiara Caldwell = Andre Drummond
Caldwell has a 24.45 PER, 20.06 rebound rate and a 3.75 assist ratio. Caldwell has been a huge help for the Lady Bulldogs this season because of her ability to score in the post. She has been the go-to option when a basket is needed because she can simply overwhelm most opponents and typically requires a double team when she gets within five feet of the basket. Drummond has been absolutely dominant this season, rebounding the ball at an insane rate and overwhelming opponents with his strength and athleticism, like Caldwell has. Caldwell is a capable free throw shooter though, so teams can’t just start fouling her the way teams do Drummond.
Tiffany Rechis = Trey Burke
Rechis has a 16.30 PER, 6,87 rebound rate and a 11.57 assist ratio. Rechis is known as a great shooter and leads the team in 3FGA which helps with spacing for the driving and the post game. Rechis being a high volume shooter help the Burke comparison make sense as he was a great college shooter, he’s struggled a little bit, but he isn’t afraid to let it fly. Having the confidence to take those shots is good for a young player like Rechis and as the season goes on expect her percentages to rise as she gets to know the college game better.
Aleyah Chivers = Jared Sullinger
Chivers has a 19.04 PER, 14.19 rebound rate and a 19.04 assist ratio. Chivers is a great, athletic tweener for coming off the bench and playing like she is bigger than she is due to that athleticism. She has the ability to defend most players on the court, which is huge for this Union team. Sullinger is undersized to play center but knows how to use his body to make things happen and make up for his lack of height. Chivers does the same thing except she is more athletic in comparison to her competition than Sullinger.
Fredi Nielsen = Tiago Splitter
Nielsen has a 4.64 PER, 12.44 rebound rate and a 13.44 assist ratio. Nielsen has struggled in her first four games with fouls and turnovers, but the PER measurement isn’t friendly to players that don’t score often. Nielsen has been more of a defensive player the last couple of years and this year seems to be not too different. The Splitter comparison seems harsh, but he was capable of contributing solid minutes during the later years in his career with the Spurs. Nielsen will probably get back on track by Christmas, but don’t expect her to start scoring a lot more, she’ll play better defense and avoid turnovers.
Kayla Bise = Devin Booker
Bise has a 10.94 PER, 5.51 rebounding rate and a 5.88 assist ratio. Bise is a three-point specialist for this team. All of her shot attempts have been from behind the arc. She doesn’t really fill out the stat sheet, but she doesn’t make many mistakes and has limited her turnovers. Devin Booker is kind of the same player, as he as been mostly used to come off the bench and shoot from deep. The good news for the two of them is that they are young and have time to develop more of an all-around game and they will as time goes on.
This team has been great so far and the first four games have been a bit of a crazy hot streak for some players. So while some of these players might cool down a bit, expect them to continue being a great team as they are well-rounded and can score from multiple areas of the court. Also, some more players will be playing more as the season goes on, like Bethany Lytle, who as of now is averaging 10 points per game while coming off the bench. We’ll be revisiting these numbers and comparisons later in the season as there will be much more data to use to create a better picture as to who these players and this team is.