Player Projection: Chase Budinger

by Jon Nichols

Today I will be projecting the NBA stats of Chase Budinger of the Arizona Wildcats using my Box Score Prediction System (explanation here:  Budinger has had an up and down college career but will probably be taken in the first round in this year’s draft.

There are reasons Budinger has been projected as a top 10 pick at times.  His athleticism and leaping ability are off the charts.  He compliments this with great long-distance shooting ability.  He knows how to score and usually he’s not afraid to do so.  Unfortunately, his defense is suspect and there are questions about his mentality.  For all of his abilities, he should be better than he is.  Is it possible he just doesn’t have “it,” whatever “it” is?

How does BSPS think Budinger will do in the NBA?  Let’s take a look at his projected career averages per 36 minutes:

I was surprised to see that Budinger’s projected numbers weren’t higher.  After all, he scored at a decent rate in college.  However, he got a lot of playing time at Arizona, so his per-minute numbers weren’t so spectacular.   The box score above shows moderate scoring at a mediocre efficiency level and not much else.  He is supposedly a good rebounder but 4.54 rebounds per 36 minutes is not a whole lot.

If the numbers above are correct, Budinger could be a scoring threat off the bench and possibly a serious threat from long range.  It’s always good to space out the floor.  However, I have some concerns.  For one, these are simple box score numbers, so they don’t do a good job of predicting defensive ability.  You can’t dismiss poor defense as a minor flaw; I consider it a fatal flaw.  And by all accounts, Budinger has not been a good defender.

My other concern is another thing that doesn’t up in the box score: the mental aspect.  Budinger may have been able to score at Arizona simply by being more skilled and athletic than his competition, but those advantages will be minimized in the NBA.  He will need mental toughness and a drive to be great to succeed at the pro level.  If he doesn’t have that, he won’t last. 





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