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Irish Coffee: Projecting Dionte Christmas on Celtics

08.21.12 at 1:27 pm ET
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As you can see from the embedded highlights of Pennsylvania’s annual Danny Rumph Classic (3:55-5:25), Celtics training camp invitee Dionte Christmas scored somewhere between 30 and 30,000 points during the charitable tournament commemorating the former Western Kentucky star.

Obviously, exhibition basketball performances should always be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s not easy coming up with 90 seconds of highlights — even when you film yourself dunking on a seven-foot rim in your driveway.

Christmas scored 21 points in the final, leading his #SHOWYALOVE squad to the title, and it’s not like he faced a bunch of folding chairs. The tournament featured Celtics teammate Courtney Lee — who sports a “R.I.P. Danny Rumph” tattoo and will wear his college teammate’s No. 11 in Boston — as well as Marreese Speights, Markieff and Marcus Morris, Hakim Warrick, Thomas Robinson, Rasual Butler and Jason Thompson, among others.

Christmas’ Danny Rumph Classic effort might provide zero indication that he’ll succeed in camp this September, let alone make the Celtics roster, but there’s further evidence that he could contribute to the C’s this season beyond a boatload of 3-pointers and a bunch of dribble drives in a Philadelphia gym.

Using historical evidence from players who made the leap from Europe to the NBA and vice versa, the fine folks from The Wages of Wins Journal found a statistical correlation between wins produced overseas and abroad, so they ranked each European player based on their projected wins produced per 48 minutes in the NBA after adjusting their statistical production from this past European season. Got it? Good. Here are the top 25.

To put this in perspective, that 0.136 wins produced per 48 minutes projection for Christmas would have ranked him tied with Dirk Nowitzki for 105th during the 2010-11 NBA season that saw Nowitzki’s Mavericks win the championship, so take that with a second grain of salt. However, that number would also have placed him between three players apiece at 0.137 (Damien Wilkins, Delonte West, Brandan Wright) and 0.135 (Mike Conley, Jason Richardson, Ben Uzoh) who might offer more reasonable comparisons.

Here are the numbers those six players produced during that 2010-11 NBA season:

  • Wilkins (52 games): 13.0 MIN, 3.5 PTS (50.4 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 71.4 FT%), 1.7 REB
  • West (24 games): 18.9 MIN, 5.6 PTS (45.8 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 86.7 FT%), 2.7 AST, 1.5 REB
  • Wright (37 games): 10.2 MIN, 3.8 PTS (51.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 67.7 FT%), 2.4 REB
  • Conley (81 games): 35.5 MIN, 13.7 PTS (44.4 FG%, 36.9 3P%, 73.3 FT%), 6.5 AST, 3.0 REB, 1.8 STL
  • Richardson (80 games): 33.9 MIN, 15.6 PTS (44.7 FG%, 39.5 3P%, 73.0 FT%), 4.1 REB, 1.8 AST, 1.2 STL
  • Uzoh (42 games): 10.4 MIN, 3.8 PTS (42.4 FG%, 37.5 3P%, 58.9 FT%), 1.6 AST, 1.5 REB

Will Christmas make a Nicolas Batum-like transition? Probably not. Can he make a Conley-esque contribution? Unlikely. Does he have, as The Wages of Wins Journal noted, “the most potential for impact next year other than AK47 [Andrei Kirilenko]” among European imports this coming season? Possibly.

The WOW Journal went so far as to say Christmas “has a chance to be a legit replacement for Ray Allen” at shooting guard, but that’s a stretch, considering the C’s are stacked with Avery Bradley, Jason Terry and Lee at the two. Still, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Christmas could add further depth behind them in addition to Paul Pierce and Jeff Green at the small forward spot, especially if this projection is worth its salt.

(Have a question, concern or conception for the next Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

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