Tag Archives: DeAndre Jordan

Clippers’ shots near the rim last night among highest totals this season

shot chart

ESPN.com’s shot chart of last night’s Clips-Lakers whatever-that-was-we-watched.

If last night’s blowout between the Clippers and Lakers actually happened and wasn’t one of those bizarre dreams you have while napping, it can be clumped in the middle of a special group of games where a team (or sometimes both) absolutely feasted at the rim.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, the Clippers were responsible for over two-thirds of those (mostly) bunnies all while they gave the purple and gold their worst loss in franchise history.

40 of the Clippers’ points within the restricted area came from lobs finished by Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, baskets by Darren Collison, and whatever Danny Granger has left in him. The team as a whole totaled 60 points inside that half-circle that was like a landing pad after fast break opportunities. The production from that area of the floor ranked above 99.5 percent of all single-game shot location logs this season plucked from NBA.com.

Below is the other .5 percent, sorted by the season-high for most field goals made within the restricted area:

The Lakers lead the league in most field goals allowed inside the restricted area and most attempted there, and it’s not that close between them and second place in those stats. So maybe it’s not that big of a surprise to see them on that list twice as an opponent, especially when Detroit typically scores a ton of their points at the rim and the Clippers added some extra salt during the third quarter of last night’s game when it was over by halftime.

As for the field goals the Lakers allowed the Clippers to attempt around the rim, last night’s 44 shots weren’t that close to the league’s season high of 53. Unfortunately for the Lakers, that was set in their game against Detroit (which they ended up winning, though).

Going into the last five weeks of the season, we’re bound to see another outlier game or two allowed from any shot location not just by the Lakers but other teams limping to the finish line like the 76ers (poor Thaddeus Young), New Orleans (poor Anthony Davis?), and the New York Knicks (poor, poor Carmelo Anthony), among other teams.

But who knows? Maybe the Lakers will be on the good side of one of those outliers. After all, in their last 20 games they’ve been one of the best 3-point shooting teams both in volume and accuracy, so there’s that.

The least that could be asked out of them right now, however, is for last night to never happen again.

All stats are according to NBA.com.


Revisiting if Roy Hibbert could block more shots than an entire team


Zach Primozic | Flickr

Once in a while I’ll revisit weird accomplishments I thought might happen, like a team winning more games than the Celtics and Lakers combined, or impressions left on me in the beginning of the season, like Josh Smith’s once-promising shot selection. Today I’ll revisit the possibility I brought up over two months ago of Roy Hibbert blocking more shots than an entire team.

If that sounds like a lofty accomplishment for the Pacers center, that’s because it is, but it’s not impossible. The last time a player recorded more blocks than another team was in 2009 when Dwight Howard had 231 blocks to the New York Knicks’ 204. New York, coached by Mike D’Antoni with a starting frontcourt of David Lee and Al Harrington, set the record for the least blocks during an 82-game season, though it wasn’t much better the season before when they were coached by Isiah Thomas. The Knicks of 2008, with a frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry, blocked just 213 shots. Josh Smith (227 blocks) and Marcus Camby (285) outswatted that squad and then some.

At the time of the first post, two squads this season were in danger of becoming like the Knicks of the late-2000s: the Kings and Timberwolves. Hibbert had 62 blocks to Sacramento’s 48, though Minnesota was within distance without Ronny Turiaf and their starting frontcourt of Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic not posing much of a threat above the rim. As for the Kings, they had frontcourt depth consisting of DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes, Derrick Williams, Patrick Patterson and Jason Thompson. They come in all shapes and sizes, but none are elite shot blockers. Hayes and Patterson would eventually be traded for Rudy Gay.

Meanwhile, Hibbert was also just coming down to earth after recording 4.3 blocks per game over 30 minutes in his first 13 games. His block percentage while on the court, 10.2, had only been done over a full season six times with five coming from Manute Bol, and the most minutes played during any of those seasons was 26.1 during Bol’s 1986 campaign. Naturally, Hibbert’s block totals started to average out. He only had seven over his next six games and just two combined against the block-prone Bobcats and Timberwolves (Hibbert was also blockless Wednesday night in his second matchup against Minnesota). His block percentage during that six-game span was 2.7, right around the same percentage Paul Millsap and Chris Bosh have recorded this season. That’s not bad, but it’s also not even half the frequency Hibbert logged last season.

Note: Now is probably a good time to mention I’m not saying Hibbert or anyone else is a bad defender if/when they don’t block shots. They obviously don’t measure everything about inside defense and the same goes for looking at steals to evaluate perimeter defense. In fact, it’s pretty noticeable that Hibbert would rather be in position to use verticality to his advantage than go for a block and risk fouling. I’m also not exactly rooting for Hibbert or anyone else to block more shots if it comes at the expense of good, sound defense. It’s not the end of the world if someone does or doesn’t block more shots than an entire team, but it would be fun to talk about if it happened. Obviously, for me it’s been worth dedicating at least a couple posts just about the potential of accomplishment it.

So Hibbert went through a heater of some sort in the block department and then hit his version of a valley, averaging out to a block percentage of 8.1 through his first 18 games, according to Basketball-Reference. That rate, or one a sliver below it, would have to be sustained for a whole season to outblock a whole team. Howard, Camby, and Smith were 1-2 percentage points lower, but all played a handful more minutes per game and Camby’s Nuggets played at the league’s fastest pace in 2008. Indiana’s currently in the middle of the pack this year at 96.08, according to NBA.com, but no faster than the Kings or Timberwolves.

Hibbert’s block rates couldn’t hold up over his next 36 games, however, blocking only five percent of opposing shots in the same 30 minutes per game. For the season, his block percentage is 6.1. He’s been surpassed by a few other players in total blocks, and teams he once competed with such as the Kings and Timberwolves have since upped their blocks. Every team but Minnesota has totaled more than the 2009 Knicks did over 82 games.

Below is a table with Hibbert, a few other leading blockers, and four teams with the least blocks per game.

Player/Team Total Blocks BPG Games Block%* Minutes per
DeAndre Jordan 135 2.4 56 5.1 35.9
Roy Hibbert 133 2.5 54 6.1 30.4
Serge Ibaka 139 2.5 55 6.2 32.6
Anthony Davis 140 3.1 45 7.3 35.8
Minnesota Timberwolves 197 3.6 54 48.2
Cleveland Cavaliers 215 3.9 55 48.8
Sacramento Kings 214 4.0 54 48.5
Dallas Mavericks 228 4.1 55 48.1

* – according to Basketball-Reference.

Minnesota’s still far behind even the second-worst Cavaliers but they’ve blocked 5.4 shots per game in February, a top-10 mark in the league. They’re also in the top five in opponent field goal percentage around the rim at 57.4, though they allow the fourth most attempts so I’m not sure that’s worth the tradeoff (as well as playing without Pek). Indiana, meanwhile, has been suffocating as they’ve held opponents to just 49 percent. I’m pretty sure Hibbert and the rest of the Pacers will take that in exchange for less blocks.

Cleveland’s lacked in blocks lately, just 2.8 per game over their last 20. As nice of a player as Anderson Varejao has been, he’s never been much of a blocker yet he leads the team in that statistic. Spencer Hawes will be suiting up for them in the near future and he’s averaging 1.3 blocks per game, but the Sixers’ pace and defense have to be taken into account. Philadelphia’s the fastest team in the league by a wide margin and this month they’re flirting with last in both attempts at the rim and field goal percentage from there, all according to NBA.com. (Also, I doubt blocks are the main reason Cleveland traded for him, but this post is dedicated to those and not everything defense or the other side of the court.)

As for the players listed, it would’ve been fun if Anthony Davis were healthy the whole first half of the season. Add another 30 blocks to his total and it at least makes things interesting, especially if Cleveland continues their recent low tally in that statistic.

I guess the Brow made up for it though with this commercial:

Going forward, Davis and Jordan look like the best bets to block more shots than a team. As mentioned before, Hibbert has understandably looked to use verticality to his advantage rather than get a hand on the ball and risk foul trouble. Davis and Jordan are far more mobile and freakishly athletic to recover from situations where they’re either beat or hair late on a rotation to a driving guard. They also play in that 35-minute range that allows them more opportunities to tally blocks.

If I had to choose one or the other, though, it’d be Davis because of the likelihood his minutes not only stay the same next season but also increase. He’s also basically untradeable, something Jordan can’t say himself. Who knows if Jordan plays 36 minutes under most other coaches, which would keep him from flirting with 200 total blocks in one season.

Potential wildcards next year: JaVale McGee, Andre Drummond, and Larry Sanders. I like all of them when given the playing time and good health by the basketball gods. This season seems like a lost cause, though, which means the search for other weird stats continues.

When good true shooting percentages look bad

True shooting percentage (TS%) is a statistic that takes into account both field goals and free throws, and only 36 players have recorded one over .600 for this season. DeAndre Jordan, Andrew Bogut, Ryan Hollins, and Greg Smith are four of those players, joining the company that includes LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kyle Korver.

But something is off when looking at the four centers who made a list featuring a few of the best shooters in the game: their TS% is lower than their field goal percentage. You probably don’t need a table to realize that’s because those guys are poor free throw shooters, but I included one anyway. Eight other players have had the same problem this season, minimum 100 minutes played and via Basketball-Reference. They’re sorted by the total minutes they’ve logged.

True Shooting Percentage < Field Goal Percentage 

If you explore the table, you’ll notice I included other stats like PER, usage, and defensive rating. The only players with a PER over the average of 15 are Jordan, Bogut, and Andre Drummond. Bogut’s already a destructive defensive force while Jordan and Drummond at times have done the same. They also have the lowest foul rates per 36 minutes among the 12-player group, which is kind of a big deal when just about every player on that list is more known for their defense than offense, save for alley-oops. (One exception is Jan Vesely, who’s probably still known more for his draft night kiss and more-fouls-than-points-chase last season.)

Overall, 150 players in NBA history have recorded a higher field goal percentage than TS% at least once, minimum 100 minutes and including this season. When making the minimum 1,000 minutes, the number of players shrinks to 37.

I’ll end this blog post with a table of the current “lower TS% than FG%” streaks, including those who had one going into this season:

Hack-A-Drummond could be wakeup call for Detroit

If there’s a great thing about being a basketball player in a small market, it’s that nobody knows your weaknesses. DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard play in two of the biggest markets, unlike Andre Drummond who resides in Motor City, which explains why the first two are widely known as terribly free throw shooters and intentionally fouled because of it while Drummond has gone unnoticed. 

Actually, that was a terrible attempt at sarcasm. Also, I have no idea why teams haven’t intentionally fouled Drummond yet. Sure, Howard and Jordan’s shooting woes from the line are discussed more frequently, but Drummond’s percentage has been far worse, down to 16 percent after last night’s loss to the Lakers. That percentage comes from a small sample size, however, since he’s only attempted 1.3 free throws per game.

But there lies what’s so surprising. Why haven’t teams intentionally fouled him? It’s not like Drummond’s an energy guy off the bench; he plays 35.1 minutes per game, right up there with Howard and Jordan. He also logs 7.4 minutes per fourth quarter, according to NBA.com, so the opportunity to put him on the line is there when opponents need to make up ground and quickly. This isn’t meant to rip on Drummond, who’s one of the most intriguing players in the league and uploads some of the best Vines,  among other things, but he has a glaring weakness in his game that teams haven’t taken advantage of. 

Maybe the intentional fouls are coming, but if they could actually be a blessing in disguise for Detroit. This is a reach, but hack-a-Drummond could signal Maurice Cheeks to further stagger the minutes of Detroit’s best three frontcourt players of Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith, who play 20 minutes together per game according to NBA.com. They’ve bled points on defense and cramped the spacing on offense no matter who has started in the backcourt, though the CaldwellPope and Jennings pairing at the guard positions has yielded solid defensive numbers through two games. It’s also been at the expense of having even an average offense. 

That doesn’t mean Drummond’s free throw shooting makes him unplayable, but when teams are in the penalty and outside of two minutes, they can hack away and grind Detroit’s offense to a halt. It also doesn’t mean Drummonds at fault for the frontcourt’s failures. It would be unfortunate for its split to come at the hands of teams exposing his poor free throw shooting, but if that’s the calling card for Mo Cheeks to search for more efficient frontcourt combos, then it could be for the better. 

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