Emmanuel Mudiay Is Having One of the Least Efficient Seasons Ever Recorded
Emmanuel Mudiay, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has played 44 games for the Denver Nuggets this season, starting in 42.
He's averaging 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.5 blocks per contest, started for the World team in this year's BBVA Rising Stars Challenge (posting 30 points and 10 assists), and is likely in the running for an All-Rookie Team at year's end with those raw numbers.
The kid is still only 19 and doesn't have any college ball experience to speak of (he took the road less traveled by playing in China before declaring for last year's draft), so he deserves a lot of slack. He was a lottery pick in a deep draft for a reason, and he likely has a solid career ahead of him when he figures it all out.
That said, he's having one of the least efficient seasons of NBA basketball ever recorded.
For starters, he's shooting 33.8% from the field this season on 12.5 attempts per game, including 26.8% on 2.9 from deep. The resulting 36.9% Effective Field Goal Percentage (weighted twos and threes) is the lowest recorded in the NBA's three-point era (from 1979-80 onwards) by a player attempting at least 500 field goals. Throw in the 63.7% mark from the free throw line, and the resulting 40.6% True Shooting Percentage (weighted twos, threes, and free throws) is also the worst we've seen since the three-point line was introduced.
Combine the low shooting efficiency with a tendency to turn the ball over (3.4 giveaways per game and a 19.7% Turnover Percentage), and Mudiay's resulting advanced metrics are far from pretty. He has a below-average Player Efficiency Rating of 8.3, his Win Shares Per 48 Minutes rate is -0.078, and he's recorded -2.2 Win Shares this season -- the lowest mark of anyone in the entire Association.
By our in-house efficiency metric, nERD -- a number that estimates how many games above or below .500 a league-average team would finish an 82-game season with the player in question as one of its starters -- Mudiay's current mark of -14.4 is not only the worst in the NBA this year, but it's also the absolute lowest rate registered since the 1999-2000 season, the starting point for our statistical database.
There have only been 14 players to register a nERD of -10 or worse in that span, and the list is a who's who of draft busts, brick-layers, and -- for lack of a better descriptor -- an over-the-hill Kobe Bryant:
Mudiay's inefficient play has been compounded by the large load that he's shouldered during a lost season for the 23-35 Denver Nuggets, playing 30.1 minutes per game (second among rookies) as the team's starting point guard and registering a 25.1% Usage Rate (second as well). For metrics like ours, the combination of inefficiency and high usage is particularly damning.
He'll have a hard time escaping this list by year's end with the hole he's already dug, but that's not to say he can't have a strong sophomore season and put this group in his rear-view mirror going forward. At the very least, let's hope that he can escape the fate of noted draft bust Michael Olowokandi and notorious over-shooter Antoine Walker, the only two players to appear on this list twice.