Projecting the future success of non-NBA players in the NBA is tricky. No one gets it right all the time, regardless of method. The eye test fails. Decisions based on combine measurements fail. Instinct fails. And yes, even projections based on statistics fail (sometimes quite miserably).
All those qualifications aside: Statistically speaking, Luigi Datome looks like he will be a very solid NBA basketball player.
Because I'm statistically inclined, I asked my man Arturo Galletti to put him through his draft model and see what comes out. His response encouraged me:
Because I like you I ran his Euro projection: .120 to .160 Wins Produced per 48 minutes (Last Year, this year). He's good.
For those who are not familiar with Wins Produced, allow me to translate:
An "average" NBA player posts a WP48 of .100. In simplest terms, a team consisting of entirely such players would be expected to win half of its games.
Guys you'd want filling out the back of your rotation post around .050 WP48.
A "star" NBA player posts a WP48 of .180. These are the guys who belong in the All Start conversation each year.
Finally, "superstar" NBA players are the truly elite and post WP48 of greater than .200.
For context, the Pistons only had two players who posted better than a .160 WP48 last season: Andre Drummond and Jose Calderon. Greg Monroe's career WP48 is greater than .160, but he struggled early in the season which brought his final numbers down. Josh Smith's WP48 at Power Forward last year was .053 (couldn't resist).
DraftExpress has Luigi's Win Score per 40 (one of the derivatives of Wins Produced), and it matches up with Arturo's model nicely.
Looking at his box score stats, his production comes from his efficient shooting, which is an excellent sign. Luigi shot a ridiculous 52% from inside the arc last season, nearly 40% from outside it, and nearly 93% from the charity stripe. Even if those numbers decline in the NBA, he looks like he'll be better than average in all three categories for an NBA small forward (47.7%, 36.1% and 78.1% respectively).
Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns here, but as far as the numbers are concerned, there's a whole lot to like.
<object width="420" height="315"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/UnkefjCES-4?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="//www.youtube.com/v/UnkefjCES-4?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="420" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>