This was a matchup between Boston’s balanced offense and what Gregg Popovich would call Charlotte’s “circus” offense. In losing 98-93, the home-standing Hornets hoisted up 35 treys, or 31 percent of their total field goal attempts — many coming from as far out as 26 feet, and one from 30 feet.
For sure, Charlotte’s inside scoring threat, Al Jefferson, was out with a calf injury, but indiscriminately launching long-range missiles (they made only 11) was a self-destructive game plan.
Moreover, the Hornets’ shoot-first-and-ask-no-questions offense limited them to recording only 17 assists on their total of 36 buckets. Boston’s ratio was 26:40.
In any event, even though Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte’s blue-chip rookie, wasn’t one of the primary culprits here, he was more of a hindrance than a help.
Let’s take a look at, and behind, his numbers.
MINUTES PLAYED = 23
Kaminsky was given the normal allotment of playing time for a substitute, yet he was yanked with 4:40 left in the game. The reason being that the rookie couldn’t be trusted in the clutch.
FGM-A = 1-1
That’s right. One shot in 23 minutes. Compare this to Jeremy Lamb’s getting off 11 shots in 15 minutes, and Spencer Hawes’s taking six shots in 15 minutes.
Basically, Kaminsky had three responsibilities on offense: Make safe wing passes, hang out on the nether side of the arc while waiting/hoping for a kick-out pass and a shot, and setting screens. Indeed, his most significant contribution was making hearty contact on the seven of the eight (count ‘em) screens he did set.
3FGM-A = 1-1
After executing a tight hand-off to Kemba Walker, Kaminsky stepped back, received the return pass and knocked down a 24-footer from high on the left wing. Kaminsky’s stroke was effortless and the ball barely touched the rim. So far he’s shooting 41.7 percent from there — qualifying him as a bona fide new-fangled stretch 4.
FTM-A = 0-0
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
REB = 6
Three tough ones and three freebies. All of them off the defensive glass. That’s one rebound every 3.8 minutes, an acceptable ratio for a power forward. Kaminsky was also diligent in boxing out his man
He did make one nifty, quick-footed move to get around a box-out by Kelly Olynyk, but the ensuing shot swished.
AST = 2
Nice wing-passes to Hawes and then Walker, who both bagged treys. Kaminsky also made a perfect lob pass to a backdoor-cutting Lamb, who missed the layup.
Aside from his screening, this was the biggest boost he provided on offense.
STL = 0
He made one move to deny a pass to his man (Olynyk) and otherwise showed no inclination to anticipate passing lanes. Plus, Kaminsky was rarely in position to even make a serious swipe at the dribblings of whomever he was guarding.
BLK = 1
He managed to stuff a layup attempt by David Lee, but Lee recovered the ball and scored on his second attempt — thereby, through no fault of his own, rendering Kaminsky’s block meaningless.
And it was on defense that Kaminsky demonstrated a rookie’s normal confusion and ineptness. Olynyk went at him several times with drive-and-step-back moves, running the hapless Kaminsky into screens, and shaking free on his own screen-and-fade maneuvers. Fortunately for the Hornets, Olynyk was only successful on two of the resulting six open shots.
In addition, Kaminsky’s close-outs of open shooters were timid, indecisive and totally ineffective.
Even worse, after a Hornet turnover (they had 11 to Boston’s five), Olynyk beat Kaminsky down the court for an unobstructed layup.
The one plus here was Kaminsky’s holding his ground when Olynyk took him into the low post — thereby forcing a step-back shot that missed.
But Kaminsky was totally abused in his attempts to guard Jae Crowder. He was staggered twice by Crowder’s various fakes, getting chumped by a driving layup, then escaping further embarrassment when Crowder missed an open three-ball attempt.
Overall, instead of showing-and-recovering when going to help on defense, Kaminsky made too much of a help commitment and left his own man free. Also, his confusion was evident on several occasions when he turned his back on the ball and was unable to provide help in the lane.
Correctable mistakes for sure, but until he learns the appropriate lessons, opponents will continue to target his inadequate defense.
TO = 1
He lost the ball when he tried to force his left-handed patty-cake dribble into the lane. How dysfunctional is Kaminsky’s off-hand? If he had to feed himself only with his left hand, he’d likely starve to death.
He was saved another TO when a bad pass chanced to glance off Evan Turner’s back before landing out of bounds.
PF = 0
Kaminsky was too far away from his offensive antagonists to foul them.
PTS = 3
Add the four points that his assists aided, subtract the two points that resulted from his turnover and factor in the combined eight points scored by Olynyk and Crowder under Kaminsky’s watch. His personal +/- would then be -3. A far cry from the absurd +14 officially recorded in the box score.
Kaminsky isn’t overly athletic, not sufficiently strong and overly right-handed. If he can’t defend nor create his own shot, he can knock down open Js and is capable of acceptable passwork.
Give him two or three years, and Kaminsky has the potential to develop into a situationally useful bench player.
NOTE – Despite Charlotte’s undisciplined game plan, Boston was only up one with under 10 seconds left in the game when Walker attacked Crowder’s handle and clearly (obviously! unmistakably!) created a jump-ball situation. But the three blind mice whistled Walker for a foul, Crowder converted both resulting free throws and Boston won.
Perhaps the NBA will issue a meaningless postmortem stating that the refs blew the call (as they did when Carmelo Anthony was fouled by Rajon Rondo as he shot a potential game-winning shot the other night in Sacramento).
Oh, well…I’ve been maintaining for years (decades?) that the only significant home-court advantage that’s always in effect is the refs’ instinctive bias.