Tag Archives: Tyson Chandler

Detroit’s domination and struggle inside the paint

Last night wasn’t exactly a spectacle between the Knicks and Pistons. I spent most of the first half staring at the box score as their combined made field goals, assists, and turnovers were all about the same. Eventually, with the help of Andre Drummond tying the league’s highest total for rebounds this season, Detroit pulled away and revived hopes of making the postseason. The Knicks, meanwhile…

Neither team was an offensive masterpiece. Detroit was the only one to make over 40 percent of their shots, shooting 35-for-83 with 48 of their 96 points coming in the paint. That’s typical of Detroit. Their point distribution graph from last Friday can be found here, but it’s worth noting in this post that they lead the league in the percentage of their points coming around the rim.

But the other portion of the paint was a pain. The Pistons score at a bottom-10 rate inside the paint but outside the restricted area, and it only got worse last night when they put up a donut — 0-for-12. It’s the most attempts taken in the non-restricted area portion of the paint without making a single shot.

Last night’s looks against the Knicks from that area of the floor were probably what would be expected. Some were altered by Tyson Chandler, others were forced attempts like Kyle Singler slashing after being run off the three-point line, and a few were blown looks by Greg Monroe or Brandon Jennings. It happens, especially when over three-fifths of the Pistons’ attempts come from players anywhere from below-average to awful finishers from that area. It’s also not completely unheard of for a team to go scoreless from there when the league average for attempts per game is about 12.5, nearly half the average from mid-range and around the rim.

However, it’s still pretty impressive that Detroit’s 12 attempts resulted in no production. Variance is weird like that.

Below is a breakdown of games where a team went scoreless from a specific area of the floor:

As for a team neglecting an area of the floor:

  1. No team has completely ignored the non-restricted area portion of the paint in a game, but there have been games where only one attempt was taken – two of the occurrences coming from the Knicks and one from the Bulls. The Knicks love to shoot outside the paint in general while the Bulls, well, at least Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, among others, have helped right their ship lately.
  2. Houston’s the only team to take less than five mid-range shots, which they’ve done in four games. Moreyball!
  3. 11 times has a team not taken a corner three. Detroit isn’t found in any of those games, but four games were from the Pelicans. I guess Anthony Davis can’t do everything.
  4. No team has not taken a three from above the break, but Memphis holds the season-low with three attempts on January 31.
  5. Around the rim, Sacramento’s the only team to take less than 10 attempts in a game, which they accomplished on January 24 all while nearly toppling the Pacers. That counts for a moral victory, right? Right?!

Around the rim is where Detroit thrives. The least amount of attempts they’ve taken within the restricted area is 22, which is Brooklyn’s average per game. They also hold the two season-highs for attempts at 53 and 51 on November 29 and January 10, respectively.

It’s that other portion of the paint that’s been tricky for the Pistons, as well as just about everywhere else. Things happen when a team’s composed of players whose ways of scoring overlap with each other’s.

But at least they got the touch around the rim…

Is that not what the Pistons would say to themselves? Long live Caddyshack.

All stats are according to NBA.com.

The Knicks’ recent overreliance on the jump shot

The last couple of Knicks games have been, well, rather Knicksy. Their defense has been lacking and badly, allowing 114.6 per 100 possessions according to NBA.com. Recently, though, New York’s scoring efficiency (104.7 points/100 possessions) has actually been higher than their average rate of 103.9 in their other 54 games, and how they distributed their shots across the floor is more than worth discussing by itself.

By design, New York takes a lot of shots from the perimeter, most notably when Carmelo Anthony is playing power forward. That’s usually fine since that happened for most of 2013 and their offense finished third in scoring efficiency. This season’s starting lineups have been different for a lot of reasons, but during the last two games their lineup had a makeup similar to 2013: Anthony at power forward with Tyson Chandler, two point guards, and a small forward to space the floor that’s currently J.R. Smith, though Iman Shumpert would likely start in his place if he were healthy.

The result has been A LOT of shots outside the paint, for better or worse. Below are their shot charts against Orlando and Atlanta with the former on the left and the latter on the right, via ESPN.com:

NY-ORL 2-21

The love for the jump shot is probably more noticeable against Orlando when the Knicks attempted 73 field goals outside the paint, according to NBA.com, which is the second-highest total by any team this season and surpassed only by their incredibly Knicksy game at Milwaukee on December 18. The percentage of shots they took outside the paint against Orlando, however, was the highest by any team at 76.84 percent, well above their league-leading average of 61. As for their outing against Atlanta, it was the 15th-highest percentage by any team at 70.79.

Teams on average take 52.7 percent of their shots outside the paint. I’ll have another blog post sharing a table of that, among other things. For now, here’s where the Knicks’ last two games fit in with the 21 other instances of excessive perimeter shooting:

New York

The Knicks are responsible for five of those 23 games and are the only team to pull them off in consecutive ones.

Anthony, Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Raymond Felton combined for 109 of those 136 shots outside the paint, though they’re not totally bad attempts. Obviously, three-pointers are worth more than 20-foot twos and the Knicks took seven more threes on average than they normally would, but they also took 11 more mid-range shots per game. The shots that vanished were from around the rim, taking eight less attempts per game against Atlanta and Orlando. Even Chandler, who supplied a good chunk of the attempts around the rim thanks to alley-oops, got in on the fun from the dead zone of the floor but had little success.

Below is a simple breakdown of New York’s shot locations with the last two games bolded. The other 54 games are in regular font:

The same accuracy from the arc is nice to see, though Anthony hit some insane, heavily contested attempts during that stretch which helps explain the lower assist percentage. The mid-range accuracy is also steady but Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony, for example, had upticks from there while combining for six less shots around the rim per game. For Anthony, some of that’s obvious when looking at his scoring outbursts from those games. He’d have isolations against a defender like Tobias Harris, someone he could probably take off the dribble whenever he wanted, but pulled up from either the arc or mid-range with (to his credit) decent success.

Overall, the Knicks’ shot distribution was out of whack when factoring in how many shots were taken in high-efficiency spots (around the rim and the arc) versus low-efficiency ones (non-restricted area spots in the paint and mid-range). New York took about the same number of shots from each with a 49-46 high-low efficiency distribution versus Orlando and 45-44 against Atlanta. That’s not exactly great when teams on average take about 57.5 percent of their shots either around the rim or from the three-point line, and each of those games placed among the bottom 25 percent of all outings this season in terms of what percentage of a team’s shots were taken from high-efficiency spots of the floor.

For the season, New York has been slightly above average with their distribution between high-efficiency shots and low ones, currently at 58.1 percent. Part of that isn’t surprising when they take the sixth-most threes per game, but they also take more shots from mid-range than they do at the rim, something the Blazers, Pacers, Wizards, Cavaliers, Magic, and Celtics do. Last year, 66.1 percent of their shots were from around the rim or three. That would’ve ranked 2nd this year.

Is this all something to panic over? The Knicks are in a state of panic as is. As constructed, though, they’re a team that relies on scoring with range with or without some their players currently injured. Once in a while there will be nights like the last two where they’ll fall head over heels in love with the jump shot, and along with their inconsistent defense it will cost them games. To be an optimist, though, there’s also the potential for their shooting to catch fire and get them back in the playoff hunt. Heck, it might open up more looks at the rim.

Whether New York lives or dies by the jump shot, it’s been remarkable watching just how much they can attach to it. They’ll host Dallas tonight, a team in the middle of the pack in allowing both shots around the rim and threes, according to NBA.com. Whether the Knicks continue to look allergic to the paint is something to look for along with the chance Vince Carter scores a season-high at the Garden.

A recent history of kicks to the face

In case you missed it, Chris Paul got a shin sandwich from Tony Allen last night:  

Searching through YouTube (unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you view it) led to only a few more instances where this has happened. What I found though showed different variations of how a face becomes full of sneakers.

The Ninja Closeout 

Bruce Bowen kicking Wally Szczerbiak in the face is arguably the most popular of them all, which is pretty impressive since it happened in 2002. There was no YouTube or Twitter, but 24-hour coverage of sports existed. That’s all it took for Bowen’s reputation as a chippy defender to take off.  

The “Big Boot 

Tyson Chandler gives a big boot to Damion James in a 2011 pre-season game: 

With the running start, this had to be just as painful as Bowen’s or Allen’s, not to mention Chandler’s shoes are probably a few sizes larger than a perimeter defender’s.

Accidentally On Purpose Whoopsy Daisy

Tony Parker gives Shane Battier a little extra after drawing a blocking foul: 

Whether it was on purpose or not, Parker acting dazed after the kick brought me back to the days of my freshman dorm, where my roommate’s alarm went off every five minutes for an hour straight. This happened every morning before class at 8 a.m., that is until one day I couldn’t take it any more and flung a pen at him. I still remember the “thunk” it made when it ricocheted off his head, making it sound way more painful that I intended. Regardless, I proceeded to act like I was asleep. It was terrific. I never heard his alarm go off more than once ever again. Good times, good times.

Honorable mentions: Mike Miller getting a face full of Danny Greens shoe during a loose ball in the same Finals, and Kevin Love stepping on Luis Scola‘s face.)

The Helpless Prop

This happened way too often in college, where a player after a pickup basketball game would be so overconfident in his leaping ability that he’d try and dunk over someone. 99 percent of the time it led to the prop getting a face full of crotch, a knee to the midsection, or a foot dangling in the wrong place in mid-air.

Matt Bonner was a victim of the latter during a slam dunk contest, though at least he was prepared for it:  

Which variation will be created next?

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