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Seven NBA Observations About Giannis’s Shooting, Myles Turner’s Stock, and More

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Here are seven thoughts and observations from across the NBA, including a look at the resurgence of Kristaps Porzingis in Washington, Miles Turner’s skyrocketing Indy trading value, and more.

1. Kristaps Porzingis Dominates Defensively Again

The Wizards haven’t made the top 10 defense in eight seasons. But this year, they unexpectedly started 10-7 thanks to the seventh-best defensive rating in the league, which was assigned to a top-notch looking Porzingis roaming the paint.

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Opponents have only shot 49.3% of balls against Porzingis within 6 feet of the rim this season, which is 12.6% worse than the average shot percentage from that area. Years of injury seemed to rob the CP of the flexibility that once made him a terrible shot blocker, but now he looks healthy. The 7ft 3in Porzingis flies as a defensive assistant and even moves sideways with enough speed to hold off attacking opponents.

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The Wizards only allow 0.78 points per pick and roll defended by Porzingis. According to Second Spectrum, this is the best record in the NBA among the 25 players who have defended the most pick-and-rolls this season. Porzingis is backed by tough wide-backs like Kyle Kuzma and Denis Avdija, but he’s the one who makes the Wizards’ defense work.

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Porzingis hasn’t looked this good on defense since his first full season with the Mavs in 2020. He had a torn meniscus during the first round of the playoffs that year and, aside from some occasional glimpses, hasn’t been the same since. . And maybe a glimpse of it all right now. But as long as he stays healthy, the Wizards should have a much stronger defense than they’ve had in years.

2. Shooting Giannis is back

After training this offseason with celebrity shooting coach Chris Matthews, also known as the “Deadly Shooter” on social media, there was hope that Giannis would return to the Bucks with the best shot of his career.

Instead, he is laying down more bricks than ever before. This season, Antetokounmpo is shooting just 57.5% of free throws (the lowest in his career), 29% of mid-range shots (worst since his rookie season) and 22% of three-pointers (worst since his second season). It seems like every time Giannis takes a step forward in his jumper, which he did last season after working with Bucks assistant Josh Oppenheimer, he then takes two giant Euro steps back.

Understandably, Giannis is worried about his wrestling. After going 4 of 15 from the line against the 66ers on Friday, he returned to the court after the game to land some shots… until Montrezl Harrell stole his ball … and then a ladder was placed in front of the ring, which prevented him from training. Giannis was so angry that he threw the ladder aside, making a scene. But he has a good reason to spend extra time – his problems are real.

Giannis is once again messing around on the free throw line, hitting a full practice shot in his pre-shoot routine, and clogs his head before releasing the ball. His footwork and reset point seem inconsistent on his jumpers. And he is absent everywhere, not just for a short time or for a long time.

“I can’t have everything in life,” Giannis joked in video that recently went viral. “It can’t be beautiful, beautiful children, beautiful wife, great family, great teammates, great coaching staff, handsome, athletic. I can’t do 3s either. God had to keep me humble. In essence, God said, “You can’t do 3s. I can’t shoot.”

Maybe nothing will ever change no matter who Giannis works with, and the shot will always be something that torments him. But even if he has a great season last year, given his career-best mid-range success, it’s important to the Bucks that Giannis is at least back on the team. former norms: someone who shoots well enough from the line cannot be hacked, and at least can make the defense sweat a little when he is out of paint. Giannis will dominate even if he never hits a single jump shot in his career, but at his current level, his shots could be deadly in the postseason.

3. Miles Turner pulling out of a deal?

The Pacers are one of the biggest surprises in the NBA with a 10-6 record for the season. Tyrese Halliburton looks like a potential All-Star, and Benedict Maturin is a legitimate candidate for both sixth man and rookie of the year. Earlier this month, I spoke to two Pacers guards and asked them, Turner explains why the Lakers should trade him became a locker room thing.

“No no. Not at all. That’s what we talked about as a group,” Haliburton said. “Miles talked about it with us. We just move on. … Whatever happens, decision makers remain decision makers. We’ll just get married.”

As of this writing, Turner has only played three games after missing the start of the season with an ankle injury. Since then, the Pacers have really taken off, with Turner playing the best basketball of his life.

Here are Turner’s highlights from his first seven seasons:

  • 12.7 points per game
  • 53.9 percent of 2
  • 34.9 percent of 3
  • 76.8 percent off line

And here are his numbers for 11 games this season:

  • 17.5 points per game
  • 59.8 percent of 2
  • 36.4 percent of 3
  • 84.1 percent off line

Volume and efficiency are at their peak across the board, and while it remains to be seen if those averages are sustainable, the Pacers are clearly using Turner differently than before.

In pick-and-roll, Turner has long liked to use mid-range shots or three-point shots. In his career, he set up a screen and then rolled to the rim 54.4 percent of the time, about the same as the league average. But this season, Second Spectrum claims it hits the basket 78.2% of the time.

Turner throws his 6-foot-11, 250-pound figure into the paint, with his guards rewarding him with easier throwing opportunities. The result is a career-high 45 percent of Turner’s shots on the rim, according to Cleaning the Glass.

It’s the start of the season, but Turner is playing with a level of aggression and determination that could earn him a big salary as an unrestricted free agent this summer, and before that, make him an even more attractive trade target for a playoff or championship team. hope.

Turner has been involved in trade discussions for years, but if the past can be forgotten, it is now clear to him that he is part of Indiana’s future. He’s only 26, and while there are other talented young players in the Pacers like Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith, none of them has the deep skill set that Turner has. The Pacers have big decisions to make. In the meantime, their young stars will continue to play.

4. Why Grant Williams Bet on Himself

The burly Celtics power forward averages 10.3 points per game and leads the NBA in true shooting percentage, shooting 75 percent from two-pointers and 47.6 percent from three-pointers. But his biggest contribution to the NBA’s best team isn’t limited to the overall score.

This season, Williams is showing some of the playing skills he showed at the end of college. Tennessee ran his offense through him in the post, whereas now Boston is using him as a link on the perimeter. Williams will cut or install screens and then roll briefly to the middle of the floor so he can laser across the floor.

In the Celtics’ drive-and-kick setup, he often uses the threat of his knockdown jumper to draw defenders in, then switches it to an even more open shooter or attacks closer to the net to make a pass to the opposite side. court.

He averages just 1.6 assists, but his offhand reads and pass accuracy help keep the Celtics on the offensive no matter who he shares the court with.

Even when Williams isn’t touching the ball, he makes an impact as one of the best screeners in the game. One good example came last week against the Hawks, when the Celtics set up a double screen for Sam Houser so he could slingshot for an open 3-pointer. Trae Young read the play and punched a hole, but Williams reacted quickly enough to get in Tray’s way, freeing Houser for an open three.

Williams does not receive any recognition in the traditional screen scoring system like the one above. But Second Spectrum’s tracking data acknowledges his impact: The Celtics are averaging 1.34 points per off-ball screen set by Williams, which means all players have put up at least 100 of them this season, ahead of another of the best players in the game. : Draymond. Green.

While not as popular a playmaker as Green, Williams is capable of more than the Celtics need given the excess of shotmakers on the team. Almost everyone on the team can facilitate. The fact that Williams can be used at the top of the three-point line, on the short shot or from the elbows, gives the Celtics tremendous flexibility given his place in the roster hierarchy.

Given his versatile defense against players of all shapes, sizes and skills, it’s clear that Williams has developed into one of the NBA’s top role players.

Before the season Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported that Williams had been offered a four-year contract extension for no more than $50 million with a guarantee. It was rejected. This summer, Williams can test free agency, and this season he earns himself a handsome sum.

5. Are the Suns heading for the right trades?

reports Last week, it was speculated that the Suns were close to acquiring experienced defenseman Eric Gordon from the Rockets in a three-way deal that would send Jay Crowder to the Bucks. But this deal has not happened yet, and AthleticShams Charania reports that Phoenix has also expressed interest in a trade for Atlanta’s John Collins,…


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