2024 Player Profiles - Derek Simpson

(February 9th) Derek Simpson’s numbers are pretty much in the same place as they were last period, at least as far as the ones we’ve interested in.  D-PIPM moved from the 85th percentile to the 84th, Assists moved from the 70th (but dark blue) to the 70th (but slightly less dark blue).  Even his FTr, which nominally dropped from the 67th percentile to the 62nd, didn’t really drop by a meaningful amount – a five percentile swing over a two week period is pretty small for that statistic.  Simpson did have one of his best games of the season against Michigan, but counterbalanced that with games against Penn State and Maryland where he struggled to find the basket.

(January 24th) The key numbers we’ve been focused on with Derek Simpson are his DPIPM (improved from last profile), his assist rate (improved from last profile), his ability to get to the line (down from last profile), and his ability to finish at the rim (down from last profile – from 37.5% to 36%).  At face value, you might think that two numbers went up and two numbers went down so it’s a wash, but I don’t quite think that line of thought works here.  Part of what might have salvaged the finishing at the rim, which is far too low, was the impact of drawing fouls on it.  With Simpson now only a little above average at drawing fouls, he no longer has that excuse, so even though it’s just two things that moved in the wrong direction, that change is larger in magnitude than the things that moved in the positive direction.  At the same time, that’s really not the end of the world – like we said last time, Simpson needs to improve his finishing at the rim, and we hope that removing the crutch of an excuse motivates him to improve that.

(December 14th) Simpson’s strengths did not change much in this profile relative to last.  He’s still an excellent defender, passer, and foul-drawer.  What did change is his success inside the arc, which has dropped from the 6th percentile all the way down to the 2nd.  Specifically, Simpson has made 37.5% of his shots at the rim this year, a number that is impractically low for a prospect – even relatively weak finishers by prospect standards typically clear 55%.  While Simpson should be able to buy himself a little wiggle room due to the rate at which he’s drawing fouls in that area, he absolutely needs to clean up the finishing around the rim.

(November 30th) The three things that define Derek Simpson’s game are his defense, his passing, and his ability to get to the line. Those are also the things that stick out in this profile – his defense is reflected in the 91st percentile D-PIPM, his passing in the 79th percentile assist rate, and his ability to get to the line in the 91st percentile FTr. But what is not shown here is how much those have grown in absolute terms from last year. Simpson is averaging nearly double the assists per 100 possessions as he did last year, and over double as many free throws per 100 possessions. As a result, his struggles inside the arc are understandable and should just be treated as growing pains for someone who is rapidly turning into a very valuable player.