Marcus Smart’s place in Big 12 history

Written by OKC Dave
Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

I went all in on the similarity ratings this time. I’ve done them in the past, but I’ve typically limited my similarity ratings to former OSU players. This time, I am using a database of every Big 12 player since the 1997-98 season that has taken at least 50 shots in a season (1700+ players).

The similarity ratings are determined by several traditional and advanced box score stats – they are not limited to the stats shown below, but it
would be too overwhelming if I showed you everything that goes into these.

You’ll recognize every normal box score stat given below with the possible exception of “EFF”. This is the player’s efficiency rating, a rough estimate at a player’s total contribution while he’s on the court.

For each player, I list the top 10 Big 12 players from 1998 to current that are most similar to the OSU player in question. I follow up with OSU players from the same time period that are statistically similar. I list the top 5 most similar OSU players or all of those in the top 40 most similar, whichever is more.

Let’s start with Smart.

Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 2.01.29 PM

Raise your hand if you had Cookie Belcher. It’s important to remember that these similarity ratings can only go so far as the box score takes them. Out of the 1700+ players in the database, Belcher has the most similar stat line to Marcus’s current season.

Instead of focusing on the No. 1 player on the list, try to look at the group of 10 – in that group, you have Marcus himself (freshman version), Tony’s senior year, Hinrich’s senior year, and a bunch of other guys who contributed to their teams in a bunch of different ways.

Now, here are the most similar OSU players for Marcus:

Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 2.01.46 PM

The best player in OSU history has great company, as you would expect. My man crush on Mo Baker has been clearly established on this blog, but allow me to point out that despite the great season that Smart is having this year, he is still well behind Baker in efficiency rating – largely due to trailing Mo in all three shooting percentage categories.

Now that I’ve established this idea, I’ll follow up with the other major players on this OSU team soon.

  • Twatty

    Cookie was pretty solid and hyper fast. I got no beef.

  • Clint

    I still remember Cookie Belcher dominating us in ’01 in Lincoln. Second game and first road trip after the crash.

    • @okc_dave

      Yep. 27 points on 13 shots, 7 assists, 8 steals (!!!), 6 rebounds in that game. Looks a lot like a Smart line.

  • Steven

    The most impressive thing in the top 10 BIGXII players list is there is 1 Freshman…Marcus Smart!

  • Carson Cunningham

    Speak of the devil, I brought up Cookie Belcher’s name (from what part of my brain, I’m not sure) with Kyle on the podcast trying to name all the past Big 12 POY’s. Knew I wasn’t crazy!

    • kspokesfan

      That in itself doesn’t mean you’re not crazy…

  • kspokesfan

    So if Marcus holds steady he will have the best two years of all… Pretty cool that we are watching it happen.
    If you look at the top ten in the list did you notice that five were seniors. This rule of allowing early entrance into the NBA is not allowing players to reach their full potential
    I know, I know… But if the players would put in some time it would help them out.
    Most one and done players usually don’t fare well… eg; Myck Kabongo from Texas… He thought he was something special. ( I didn’t)

    • Chino_05

      Well, to be fair, these aren’t lists of best players. These are lists of most similar players. Therefore, if Marcus holds steady he will have the “most similar” two years of all, not necessarily the “best”. However, they WILL be pretty stinking good seasons.
      Not trying to be Nate here; just want to point that out before he reads it and rips your head off 😉

      • kspokesfan

        Like I’m influenced by what Nate might think… Good point. It was just a comparison of the most similar.

        • @okc_dave

          Right. The best seasons in Big 12 history is a good idea for a future post, though. KD’s 26 points and 11 rebounds would be hard to beat.