Part of making a comeback means having been there before.
Phoenix Suns guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight have proven themselves as NBA players, but their injuries last season cut into their overall production a great deal. So assuming a healthy duo, there’s an expectation their respective impacts on the Suns next season will be much improved.
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle ranked Knight sixth and Bledsoe seventh in a list of the 12 most likely bounce-back candidates in the NBA this coming season.
But exactly how much production did Knight leave on the table by sitting out 30 games in 2015-16? What about Bledsoe in 51 games missed?
Before the 2015-16 campaign, ESPN’s SCHOENE projection system laid out a full season of WARP, or wins above replacement player, and both players’ injuries made them fall well below those numbers simply because of the volume of games they missed. So for 2016-17, even though neither is expected to drastically improve, their end-of-season WARP should take a major jump.
By the numbers, ESPN’s SCHOENE ratings forecast says they’ll each finish with a 2.9-WARP improvement over last season.
Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis led the list with a projected 6.7-WARP improvement after he missed 21 games at the end of the year because of injury. Fellow All-Stars Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin and Joakim Noah follow, in that order.
Former Suns forward Markieff Morris comes in 11th on the list with a predicted 2.2-WARP improvement. Of course, his ratings plummeted last season after Phoenix traded his twin, Marcus Morris, in the offseason and the forward’s sub-par play earned him time on the bench before the Suns traded him to the Washington Wizards.
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