Short Corner: Scatterbrain thoughts on David Lee’s value, the joyless Pistons and more
Welcome to the Short Corner: A celebration of the NBA in the pithiest form possible. Below are a collection of notebook-style items from the week that was, laid out for your buffet-style enjoyment.
• David Lee gets flack for his contract, his defense, and his inability to stretch out to the three-point line, but beneath it all he ranks fifth in the league in raw plus-minus while registering a swing of 19.6 points per 100 possessions for the Warriors when he takes the floor. There’s noise involved for any player who logs so many minutes in good lineups for a winning team, but I think Lee contributes more to making those lineups good and helping the Warriors win than he’s often given credit.
• Watching Thunder games is becoming problematic, if only because I now spend the entire 48 minutes waiting greedily for the next Kevin Durant bucket.
• Cheers to Carl Landry, who made his much-delayed return to the Kings to exceedingly little fanfare.
• An observational contention: Kelly Olynyk runs like a giraffe.
• Twice drawing a double and kicking the ball out to the open man? J.R, I don’t even know you anymore:
• Not to prematurely sound the trend alarm, but Gordon Hayward — both before and after a hip flexor injury — has been outrageously productive in four January Games: 27.0 points (60 percent from the field, 57.9 percent from three), 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.3 steals per game.
• I have only a vague recollection of a time at which the current Pistons seemed like they’d be a lot of fun. Even when they’re playing well, that’s not at all the case.
• Ramon Sessions is such an odd player. At a glance, he does many of the little things that you’d want in a backup point guard: Dribble penetrate, create for others, and find some means of scoring efficiently (in Sessions’ case, it’s by getting to the free throw line). But he’s really lacking in so many micro aspects of the game, from his skill work to his general awareness. How else to explain why Sessions — a complete non-threat from three-point range — would make a post entry pass to Al Jefferson and then crowd his teammate by staying on the same side of the floor?
• It’s odd how little Harrison Barnes can offer on offense when he isn’t being set up in a position of advantage and doesn’t benefit form an immediate mismatch.
• A little surprised to learn that J.J. Redick scores more first-half points per game on average than: Stephen Curry, Dirk Nowitkzi, DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard, Dwyane Wade, Monta Ellis, Dwight Howard, Kyrie Irving, Rudy Gay, Tony Parker, Paul George, Ty Lawson, and all but 10 of the 451 players who have logged minutes in the NBA this season.
• Ersan Ilyasova hadn’t played a single minute at the small forward position since 2007, but started in that slot in Wednesday’s game against the Pistons. Detroit’s supersized lineup — dictating matchups (against the worst team in the league) at long last.
• Chris Douglas-Roberts made a hell of a bucket after riding the carousel with just 0.3 seconds on the clock:
• Even in knowing that mid-range shooting is Darrell Arthur’s forte, it’s a little nutty that he has almost four times as many attempts from mid-range as in the paint.
• Of the league’s 19 listed 7-footers, how many are impact-level rebounders? Three (Andrew Bogut, Omer Asik, and Tyson Chandler)? Four if we include Kosta Koufos?
• Nothing in Brandon Knight’s game will bowl you over, but I’ll admit to being impressed by his consistent work on the glass. A lot of smaller guards offer only token effort as rebounders, but Knight is legitimately helping the Bucks bigs on the glass.