Drew, Drew, Drew: Drew Gooden is a small forward trapped in a power forward’s body who nobly plays center to best help his team despite secretly wishing to be a point guard.
For the season (according to Hoopdata), Gooden is attempting 4.3 shots per game from a distance of 16 to 23 feet, and making 2.0 of them (43%). While that mark doesn’t put him in Dirk Nowitzki territory (51% for the season), it does keep him in line with other jump-shooting bigs like LaMarcus Aldridge, Carlos Boozer, and Chris Bosh.
On the other hand, when it comes to his defense… (**cough, cough**): http://www.nba.com/advancedstats
Sharing the Ball: In my personal opinion the 1986 Boston Celtics were the greatest passing team of all time. Between Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, and Bill Walton, the ball would literally fly around the court to the open player. In that season, the greatest number of assists the team had in any game was 34. The Bucks had 38 assists against the Cavs Wednesday.
The Monta Experience: Perhaps the best postscript to Monta Ellis’ career in Oakland this week came from Eric Freeman. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here’s a sample, but go to The Classical for the whole piece:
That’s not to say that Monta was miscast in Oakland, or that a fresh start will renew his career. NBA observers know that Ellis is a flawed player, a pass-third guard who needs to handle the ball as much as possible, struggles to move laterally on defense, and tends to take poor shots in crunch time. His usefulness is as yet undetermined: he’s a very talented player, but not effective enough for a team to organize itself around his flaws. He seems like the kind of player destined to play on mediocre teams for his entire career, a scorer just good enough to become part of All-Star discussion without ever being selected for the team itself.
Ellis is compelling because he momentarily renders those very legitimate concerns insignificant in the moment. He has been my favorite player since 2006, yet even I don’t make excuses for his inefficient production or seeming inability to alter his game to suit the needs of the team. He’s special not because of a particular skill, but for his ability to do something so unexpected that basketball logic seems like an insignificant arbiter of his value. He will dunk on Leandro Barbosa during what seems like a standard 3-on-1 break, or finish a 360 lay-up between two defenders when seeking out a foul would have been the safer bet.
The context of his career doesn’t give meaning to his talent—it obscures it. Unlike Allen Iverson, there’s no sense that his peak performance proves something about his toughness and will to win. Fans marvel at his body control, but praising it as a basketball skill is like calling someone the MVP of yoga. Ellis is a perfect fit for the Twitter era, a pure scorer whose stardom is defined by instantaneous reaction to his highlights rather than what he does to help a team win. At his best, he does so many amazing things in such quick succession that the only acceptable reactions are to squeal and laugh.
Contract Stuffing Data: Among players with more than 500 points and less than 100 three-point attempts, Ersan Ilyasova is one of the most efficient scorers in the league (by offensive efficiency rating, an estimate of points scored per 100 possessions):