|Rebounds per game
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|PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
Imagine for a minute that you work for the fictional Delos corporation that is featured in HBO’s Westworld. Your job at Delos is to engineer the lifelike robotic hosts that are the main attraction of the immersive theme park.
Under the leadership of Robert Ford, a new experience is being constructed to provide a place for weekend warrior guests to play against high caliber athletes. Essentially allowing for “Pros vs. Joes” fantasies to be carried out.
You’ve been assigned to lead the design of a quintessential power forward that will be carefully 3D printed and dipped in that creationist milk.
You are reminded that perfection is not the goal of Delos. Instead, your job is to make an authentic simulation of what a power forward ought to look and play like.
Here is a list of things you’d definitely incorporate in the attributes of this idealized power forward.
- A stout, muscular 6-foot-8 245-pound frame.
- Runs like a gazelle.
- Jumps with speed and grace.
- A relentless motor on offense, defense, and the boards.
- The strength to post up and hold their ground against virtually anybody.
- A comfort with setting crushing, freeing picks for his teammates.
- Swift and powerful post moves that finish with a soft touch around the rim.
- A nice, smooth jump shot — 50% shooter on midrange jumpers.
- A defender that forces the post catch to be 5 feet further off the block than his opponent is comfortable with, then defends the post move to great success. Lets say the post defense causes opponents to shoot less than 45% from 5 feet or closer.
Essentially, you would create Stanford junior Reid Travis in the Delos laboratory.
Unfortunately for Stanford fans and for Travis himself, unlike Westworld, repairs to the damaged cyborgs is simple, quick, and easy compared to the injuries that are endured by those in the corporal sphere.
Travis, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has dealt with more than his fair share of physical hardship. He missed the majority of last season after a leg injury finished his season after just 8 games.
When healthy, Travis has had no trouble living up to and showing enticing flashes of potential that have merited his 5-star recruit billing. Over the first 8 game last season, Travis was Stanford’s best basketball player. But, again, health has been Travis’ most difficult opponent to solve in college.
The irony of Travis’ situation is that his physical gifts are the main reason he is such a good basketball player, but he hasn’t seemed to have been rewarded with the endowment of fleshy durability.
So, the 2016-17 Stanford Cardinal basketball season will be greatly impacted by the following two questions.
First, how effective was Travis’ leg injury rehabilitation? Will he be returned to the same high-end special physical talent?
Second, how well is Reid Travis’ body going to hold up?
If his health fortunes have changed, Stanford is all set on their front court. Reid Travis can be a major game changer that is a difficult to game plan for.
The interesting part is that Travis is still largely raw and unfinished in his basketball abilities. He is only going to get better — and he’s already pretty damn impressive.
I mean, if you made a basketball host for a Westworld-like theme park and you based it on Reid Travis, you may just get a promotion.
This is, of course, assuming that the host designers and engineers aren’t themselves also robots programmed to build other high functioning automatons to follow their loop in the unwieldy environment of the Old West. For the record, I wouldn’t make that assumption. In fact, I’m far more comfortable predicting that Reid Travis will play in all of Stanford’s games this season than I am that Bernard Lowe is a human being.
All of this simply means, that I’m bullish on Reid Travis and his ability to stay healthy this season.