Power Level Over 9000: Lester "Quadruple Double" Hudson Revisited

As I think more about it, Lester Hudson is indeed an interesting case that's worthy of further investigation.

Even though he can't stick around the NBA, he's been successful in the CBA, to say the least, winning back-to-back MVPs with two teams (Xinjiang Flying Tigers in 2014 and Liaoning Flying Leopards in 2015). After being released by the Clippers this past offseason, he opted to return to the Liaoning Flying Leopards for the 2016 CBA season.

Assuming a normal distribution and normalizing his advanced statistics against the rest of the CBA, it would be difficult to dispute Hudson's dominance.

During his two MVP campaigns, Hudson finished each with percentile ranks (PR) of:

    70 PR eFG%
    75 PR TS%
    85 PR ORtg
    94 PR USG%
    99 PR AST%
    70 PR* TOV%
    50 PR FTr
    50 PR ORB%

He maintained stellar offensive efficiency given his absurd USG%. He wasn't a complete ball hog chucker either, racking up assists while limiting turnovers.

Not only that, his defense appears lock-downish. As poor as individual DRtg is for describing defensive ability, the fact that he had great DRtg on two separate teams (97 PR in 2014, 70 PR in 2015) suggest that he and his teams were good defensively. This is supported by the fact that he's a 90 PR STL% ball hawk and strong defensive rebounder 77 PR DRB%.

The stats summarize Lester Hudson as an extremely ball dominant, high offensive efficiency guard who is above average on defense. That ball dominance isn't necessarily selfish or bad since he contributes a fair share towards facilitating the offense. He has heavy 3pt utilization too, 80 PR in FG3r, which is advantageous to spreading the floor for his teammates.

Comparing Hudson to the only other foreign CBA MVP ever, Stephon Marbury[1], highlights the similarities between the two from a results standpoint. Both put up supreme scoring, assist, and steal numbers with heavy usage and surprisingly adequate defense from the guard position[2]. Despite their brilliance, this pair of MVPs were extradited to the CBA presumably because they can't justify their high usage playing style against NBA competition, or adapt to a less ball dominant role.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how another ball dominant CBA guard shakes out in the NBA--Emmanuel "Mad-eye" Mudiay[3]. He was worse than Hudson in practically every single statistical category last year, though he showed promise as a 18yr old.

    45 PR eFG%
    53 PR TS%
    54 PR ORtg
    93 PR USG%
    99.8 PR AST%
    48 PR* TOV%
    44 PR FTr
    64 PR ORB%

Mudiay actually edged Hudson in AST%, even though that was accompanied by a much worse TOV%. His biggest positive advantage came in ORB% (especially impressive as a guard!). Not surprisingly, Mudiay was similar to other non-domestic CBA players, in that his team relied heavily relied on him for offense. On the other side of the ball, he posted a strong, yet inconclusive, 64.9 PR individual DRtg, supported by 74.9 PR DRB% and 68.8 PR STL%.

Despite flashing his potential, Mudiay did little to dispel the main concerns with his game coming out of HS--shooting, scoring, and overall offensive efficiency. For all intents and purposes, he was average in a league where outcasts such as Sebastian Telfair and Jordan Crawford had no trouble achieving a 60+ PR in key scoring analytics.

Regardless, it appears that youth and potential trump all. And the CBA MVP doesn't mean shit.

After all this, I can't help but wonder if scouts are discounting Lester Hudson a little too much. If Mudiay can show "superstar" potential by playing against such competition, Hudson should similarly get some credit for being the premier CBA player.

*All reported PR have been properly adjusted/inversted so that 100 is the best, 0 is the worst. For example, 100 PR in TOV% would mean the lowest TOV% player.

[1] Although he's won the CBA MVP only once (2013), Marbury might have gotten it more if the CBA allowed non-Chinese MVPs prior to the 2013 season.

[2] That seems like a good formula to win MVPs, even in the NBA. Still, not just any overzealous NBA chucker can make it in the CBA. Jordan Crawford lasted only 5 games in the CBA.

[3] Apparently "Mad-eye" is his nickname, which after some googling appears to be a Harry Potter reference. WTF.


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