Let me break the system down even more for y'all. Back when I first did this two years ago, I pegged Kawhi Leonard as Ryan Humphrey... a rookie with a low ceiling, only predicted largely because of his shooting woes in a rather meek Mountain West Conference... his great rebounding and hard-nosed defense translating inconsiderably... and that was WRONG. We all know this. Some of this can be attributed to the tremendous developmental team within the Spurs system. That gravy train hasn't set-sail even yet. Whatever the case may be, it was a great surprise to see someone with unforeseeable upside developing into the next coming of Thaddeus Young (with more of a defensive edge, mind you). So there's that.
Another important factor to consider is that the best players ala Tim Duncan are matched with somewhat shallow representations of themselves. It only makes sense though. Guys like Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are one-of-a-kind talents, with their stats and achievements replicated on a extremely rare basis. Saying Duncan is like Kareem is like saying Babe Ruth is like Lou Gehrig. Yes, they share a good deal of the same qualities, but they are shaped in vastly different molds. However, I love to point out that...
Kareem in '84 lost to the Celtics in 7 games (Duncan in '13 lost to the Heat in 7 games)
in 1985, Kareem won Finals MVP, beating the C's in 6. Is that to say Duncan will repeat the same fate? One can only hope.
So I will end my post here and get into the nitty gritty stats in a later post... and explain the nuances of each player that might throw these trend predictions off...
one last thing though. Remember when I said that Cory Joseph will resemble '02 Milt Palacio, but with careful conditioning and development, he could be on his way to a '13 Lance Stephenson-esque season? Well, maybe that's why the Spurs went out and acquired former Pacers assistant Jim Boylen to get that to happen (there's your connect-the-dot scenario of the day!).