Sophomore Seasons of Top Ten Picks

  • By Andrew Seitz, Day 137, 2023

Last year a number of players that had a lot of success their rookie seasons seemed to be having slumps in their sophomore seasons, so I wanted to look more in-depth at some of the players from last seasons draft to see if they were having similar issues.

1 - Latrell Mason, Kings: POSITIVE. Mason’s three-point shooting has improved from 26% to 40%, which has greatly improved his efficiency. So while he is the same 16-9 player as last year, he is doing it on fewer shots with more assists and fewer turnovers. As such, his ortg has improved from 107 to 115.

2 – Victor Olojakpoke, Kings: POSITIVE. Olojakpoke had an impressive series against Terry and the Huskies last year even though the Kings got blown out, and he has followed it up with an effective sophomore season. His shooting is up (.485 to .524 eFG%), as well as his rebounding and assists. An afterthought in scoring last year, Olojakpoke has improved from 10.8 ppg to 14.1 ppg.

3 – Rashaad Haslem, Rens: POSITIVE. His numbers are up due to increased playing time, but he has been more efficient with his chances as well. Raised his ortg from 100.7 to 107.7, showing much better shot selection.

4 – Trendon Knox, Colonels: STAGNANT. The Colonels have had a tough year, but is it because of Knox or despite him? Knox is playing a ton of minutes this year (35 mpg compared to 30 last season) so his counting numbers are all up. His shooting numbers have been stagnant though (.410/.320/.861 v. .413/.318/.805). His PER, WS, and VORP have all dropped as a result. Though he is averaging 20 ppg, it is coming on 19 shots.

5 – Mehdy Brown, Scorpions. STAGNANT. Brown’s numbers have dropped slightly this year. The Scorpions love him for his assists, but he is getting fewer assists in more minutes this year. He has, however, reduced his turnovers per36 by nearly 25% from last season.

6 – Deandre Stackhouse, Predators: POSITIVE. Stack has been a bright spot in a dark season for the Predators. Now averaging 16-9, both his counting and efficiency stats are up from last season. Most impressive is his 117 ortg, up from 109 the year before. I think Dallas has a good start with Stackhouse and Barber, with the addition of another high pick next season.

7 – Cortez Ellison, USC-Southeast Campus: SLIGHTLY POSITIVE. On first look it seems like Ellison is playing worse than his rookie year, but that is only because his minutes are slightly down from last year. His per36 points and rebounds are nearly identical, but he has made slight improvements in assists, steals, and blocks, and a fairly large improvement in turnovers. Overall that makes his PER, WS, and VORP better than last season despite a decreased role. He is a necessary outside threat for the Devils (37%).

8 – Marcus Dunn, Rens: POSITIVE. Most SGs seem to have a rough transition to JBL, which has created the mythological “JBL SG Curse.” Dunn had a rough first year but is trending in the right direction. His shooting has improved across the board (.418/.318/.615 to .446/.378/.636) and he has been able to bring under control the turnovers that plagued his rookie season (2.94 to 2.15 per36). I said before the draft that I thought he was the best SG in the draft and I still believe that.

9 – Deleon Slay, Blizzards: POSITIVE. Did you know Slay is hitting 30% of his three point shots? If he can get that to consistently be 35% with a decent number of them per game he would be fantastic, but so far he is only shooting 1 every 2 games. Still a long way to go for Slay, but heading in the right direction.

10 – Treyvon Miller, Vipers: POSITIVE. Vipers are having another tough year, but Miller has made impressive strides, moving from PF to his more comfortable spot of C this year. He is strong enough to shoot at the rim (66%) and is developing an outside shot (32% from 3pt). His PER, WS, and VORP are all trending positive.

I didn't see anyone that I would consider to be slumping, and in fact most players seem to be making positive strides.