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Rosen’s Free Throws: Kyle Korver Needs More Touches

Curtis Compton/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

We’re over a month into the 2015-16 NBA season, so here are some of my real and tongue-in-cheek observations about the campaign thus far.

  • One reason why the Hawks usually have so much trouble scoring is that Kyle Korver doesn’t get enough touches. Although he’s shooting 44.2 percent from beyond the arc and close to 50 percent overall, and even though he averages 31.6 minutes of daylight, he only gets eight shots per game. Ok, he lacks the skills to routinely create his own shots, but whatever plays the Hawks run for him are too infrequent and much too simple. Curls, handoffs, some baseline-screen action — plays that require better screens then he’s getting. KK should be lofting at least 15 shots per outing.
  • Dennis Schroder is incredibly quick and skilled, but too often he’s way out of control. He plays 22.2 minutes and averages 10 shots. The fact that he shoots under 40 percent overall and 29 percent from the outskirts reveals just how many wild shots he launches. Sure, point guards generally handle the ball more often than other position players, but Schroder needs to stop worrying about how much he scores and be a true facilitator. (Looking more for Korver?)
  • I never thought I’d ever say this, but Jeremy Lin’s struck-by-lightning hairdo is even more ridiculous than Iman Shumpert’s I’ve-just-seen-a-ghost do.
  • The only real candidate up till now for Sixth Man of the Year is Ryan Anderson. He plays starter’s minutes (32.4), scores starter’s points (18.1), and corrals starter’s rebounds (6.9), all the while coming off the bench. Anderson’s only challenger is Omri Casspi.
  • Who’s the best passing center in the league? Boris Diaw. That’s because, even though he’s only 6-8 and 250, Diaw spends most of his 18.5 on-court minutes playing the high- or the low-post. If he played 37 minutes per, his assists would theoretically total 5.4 — better than any other center. And the reason he’s such an accurate passer is that in Diaw’s early NBA career he played the point.
  • There’s no question that Kobe Bryant was an all-time great player. While certainly conceding Kobe’s greatness, a certain veteran NBA coach (not Phil Jackson!) says this: “Basically, when you come down to it, Kobe’s also an asshole.”
  • Kyrie Irving is a bona fide All-Star who will give the Cavaliers another potent offensive threat when he returns to action. But another significant benefit that’ll result from Irving’s return will be sending the unreliable, shot-hunting, marginal wacko antics of J.R. Smith to the bench where he belongs. Indeed, here’s how Smith should be used — if/when he misses three consecutive shots in either his first or second rotation, he should be yanked.
  • Several members of the Lakers’ brain-trust have suggested that they should’ve drafted Kristaps Porzingis instead of D’Angelo Russell — and they’re right on. Whatever Russell is, he isn’t a quality NBA point guard — which is precisely the slot he was selected to fill. Jimmy Buss strikes (out) again.
  • Shades of Sidney Moncrief! By far, the best two-way guards in the league are Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard.
  • It’s interesting how certain players thrive in certain systems then have their games diminish when they move on to other teams and other systems. Once they ceased to be triangularized, Horace Grant, B.J. Armstrong and Scottie Pippen come to mind. Isn’t that what’s happening to Gary Neal? Forget about the numbers — Neal is with his fourth team in the two-plus seasons since he was a vital cog in the Spurs’ outstanding share-the-ball squads. His play has been erratic since then and his impact has been minimal.
  • Re: Jahlil Okafor’s recent troubles. Sure, it’s not surprising when young kids make foolish mistakes. But what’s really at the root of his problems is the sense of total entitlement that so many celebrated athletes are conditioned to believe they have. Guys like Okafor have been vigorously recruited (by AAU teams and high school coaches) since they were in junior high school. Yes, blame the young man, but also blame the culture of Sports America.
  • Why isn’t David Lee playing more than 15.4 minutes per for Boston? As it is, he’s averaging one rebound every 3.7 minutes — an excellent ratio for a power forward and nearly as efficient as the 1:4 ratio that’s standard for centers.
  • At age 34, Joe Johnson certainly got old in a hurry. And his new teammate, Andrea Bargnani, has solidified his claim as the NBA’s Great White Hopeless.
  • Before injuries began to plague him, Derrick Rose had a super-quick first step and an even quicker second step. Still, he was never a knockdown shooter and he tended to over-penetrate. But in his latest comeback from his latest injury, Rose has been profoundly ineffective. His shooting inaccuracies (34.3 percent overall, 18.8 percent from downtown) resemble Kobe’s (31.1 percent, 22.2 percent). Perhaps Rose should likewise embark on a farewell tour.
  • Also, if Rose’s double-vision has him shooting two basketballs at two baskets, shouldn’t he be shooting 50 percent?

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