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Tiebreaker Times

Stats Don’t Lie: Should Kevin Ferrer jump to the pros next season?

Here’s a little bit of trivia for all of you UAAP junkies – Kiefer Ravena never won a UAAP Juniors MVP award during his four years playing for the Blue Eaglets. During his senior year – the one season you’d think he’d have biggest chance of bagging the MVP – a skinny, silky, smooth kid from Espana stole it from him.

That kid’s name? Kevin Ferrer.

Of course, Kiefer did bring home the Finals MVP award after leading the Eaglets to the crown over Kevin’s UST Tiger Cubs. And now, it seems like a foregone conclusion that he will finally take home the best player trophy. He also has a legit chance to add a third Seniors’ crown to his collection. Rumor has it that he will forego his last playing year to jump to the pros or perhaps join the Gilas national team program.

This brings me to our fallen hero, Kevin Ferrer. Should Ferrer also make the leap to PBA? Let’s take a look at the tape.

On one hand, over the past 5 years, he’s been part of some pretty solid teams. He took his Juniors squad to the Finals against Ateneo, then the past two years, was part of the Seniors team that made back-to-back Finals appearances.

He’s also put up a decent stat-line last season, putting up per 30-min norms of 11.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.7 spg and 1bpg. Considering that he was merely a third option behind Karim Abdul (perennial MVP candidate) and Jeric Teng, I’d say that’s pretty good.

On the other hand, when he was expected to take a bigger role this season and lead the charge of the Growling Tigers, his game regressed. Take a look at his per-30 min numbers from last season to this season:

Last season11.
This season10.35.61.528.6%16.7%25.1%

*effective field goal percentage – takes into account that 3-point shots are worth one point more. Therefore, 3-point makes (and attempts) compromise a heavier weight of total FG%

The data simply doesn’t lie. He used slightly more possessions while he was on the floor, but registered a lower effective FG%*, lower points / rebounds / assists, and a higher turnover rate.

Not only that, but he wasn’t particularly effective in any part of his game.

Play typeFGMFGAFG%FD%**TO%PPP***
Drives to basket31421.4%20.0%10.0%0.45
As ball-handler on P&R1812.5%20.0%0.0%0.60
Recipient of drive and kick1812.5%0.0%0.0%0.25
Swing plays1812.5%0.0%0.0%0.38

**FD% – Foul drawn %. How often a player draws a foul that leads to free throws.

***PPP = Points per possession. This basically means, how many points we can expect Kevin to score each time he uses that type of play. This includes free throws and turnovers.

Ferrer’s only saving grace was that he was aggressive on drives and in his use of ball screens, which helped him earn some a few trips for some freebies. Aside from that though, he really struggled, as he looked totally uncomfortable in UST’s offense.

What the heck happened?!

First, I think the change of coaching from Pido Jarencio to Bong Dela Cruz has had a major impact on the team as a whole. The transition appears to have been tough on all parties involved and it showed early in the first round, when UST came tumbling out of the gates. Aside from an upset win over FEU, there was no game that showed the rah-rah spirit of UST teams’ past.

Second, without a playmaker on board, the team has had to rely heavily on isolation sets stemming from its flex and off ball-screen offense. At least when Jeric was still plying his trade for the Tigers, defenses would see him as the top priority, allowing Ferrer to wreck havoc elsewhere on the court.

ferrer-shot-chart Stats Don't Lie: Should Kevin Ferrer jump to the pros next season?  - philippine sports news

The iso-heavy offense makes the point of attack easy to predict and allows defenses to set themselves up to help whoever is guarding the ball. With Ferrer stuck on the perimeter and seeing 3 guys in front of him, he was forced to settle for long-range bombs that quite frankly never really hit the mark.

Perhaps the combination of high expectations for both the team (some here at TBTimes predicted that UST would come in 3rd) and Kevin were simply too much.

Truthfully, Kevin isn’t quite the 1-on-1 player that Kiefer or even former teammate Jeric was. Coaches at the higher level see him more of a system player, who will do well as long as he’s not the primary option on offense. Allow him to take his shots on leak outs on transition, get tip-ins on put backs and be a recipient of drive and kicks, and he will thrive. However, put him in a situation where he has to carry the team – a role that he is unfamiliar with, and what you get is his UAAP Season 77 campaign.

That being said, I’m not quite sure if Kevin should enter his name into next year’s draft. There are a ton of hot names next year, such as former Bulldog Bobby Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena, who will make it quite crowded at the top, and given his down season, may see his stock drop. Another year of seasoning and reestablishing his value could make him a top-3 pick in the 2016 draft.

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