7 of the Most Effective Offensive Plays This NBA Season
I think it's safe to say that all of us have something that's our go-to. Whether it's a website, TV show or even a favorite food, we've all been there.
This is something we usually go to in various times of need.
Stress might lead you to your favorite snack, while boredom might direct you to your favorite Netflix original. And a lack of knowledge or a general curiosity leads you to your go-to website on that particular topic.
We all have our go-tos. NBA players? They're no different.
No, I'm not talking about Joe Johnson's favorite pair of kicks or LeBron James' favorite KIA -- I'm talking about players' offensive fortes or go-to plays. Who does what a lot? And who does it with great efficiency?
After heading over to one of my go-tos (NBA.com), I've pinpointed six players and seven deadly go-to plays this NBA season.
DeAndre on a Roll
There's no doubt that Chris Paul is the main reason why DeAndre Jordan is as deadly as he is in the pick and roll. Paul's incredible passing -- particularly lobbing -- ability has surely helped Doc Rivers get the most out of his uber-athletic center.
Nonetheless, it takes a crazy athlete like Jordan to accept his role as a rim rocker in the halfcourt. Despite his rumored dissatisfaction with his role in the Clipper offense this summer, Jordan returned to Los Angeles, and he hasn't looked back.
He's been the roll man in 114 pick and roll possessions this season, with 1.41 points per possession and an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 82.4%. With such great efficiency, Jordan has scored at least one point on 75.4% of pick and rolls, ranking fourth in the NBA behind three players with a combined 41 such possessions. He's really in a class of his own.
Bosh on Ice
It's really a shame that Chris Bosh is again going through the same blood clot issues he suffered through a year ago. He's been having a great season for the Miami Heat, particularly as an isolation option.
Bosh is the only player this season with a point per possession higher than 1.05 and at least 100 isolation possessions to his name. He's better than 96% of players in these situations due to his Effective Field Goal Percentage of 51% and a conversion rate of 54.3%.
At first, it's surprising that Bosh has been one of the best isolation specialists this season, but when you consider that the true power forward has played 45% of his minutes at the center position, it's obvious as to why he has been so effective in one-on-ones. He's forced opposing centers to step out of their comfort zone in an attempt to check someone quicker and more accustomed to the perimeter.
Dirk on the Block
Nothing you don't already know here. For years, Dirk Nowitzki has been a 7-foot assassin in the post, with his patented wrong-legged fadeaways. Why would anything change now?
At age 37, Nowitzki is still in the 90th percentile in terms of post-up efficiency. That would suggest that he's not the absolute best in these situations but when you consider that he has had 273 possessions of this sort, making up 29.5% of his possessions, face it -- he's the best.
In his massive amount of time spent down at the block, Dirk has converted at a 1.04 point per possession clip, scoring 51.3% of the time and turning the ball over a piddling 6.2% of the time.
LeBron on the Break
Here's another little known fact: LeBron James is all but unstoppable with a full head of steam.
Yes, at his size and his speed, LeBron might be one of the best transition players of all-time. As such, he must certainly enjoy the fact that head coach Tyronn Lue has decided to implement a much faster pace built upon the athleticism of his star players.
And his brightest of the stars is still his four-time NBA MVP, who is scoring 1.28 points per transition possession, converting on 63.9% of his 255 such possessions. When LeBron isn't converting on layups and dunks, he's getting to the line over 25% of the time with an And One Frequency of 7.5% -- by far first among players with 100-plus transition possessions.
Kawhi on the Kick
Through his first four seasons, Kawhi Leonard really wasn't known for his ability to knock down shots. Needless to say, a lot has changed between age 23 and age 24.
Leonard's 48.8% from the beyond the arc is more than 10 points higher than his previous career-high and ranks first in the NBA this season -- something no one (save for maybe Gregg Popovich) really saw coming. It's truly amazing that, in the matter of a season, Kawhi managed to turn what was a complementary part of his offensive game into the best part of it.
In doing so, Leonard has asserted himself as one of the premier spot-up shooters in the Association along with the likes of sharpshooters Stephen Curry and J.J. Redick. As crazy as it might sound, he has actually taken nearly as many spot-up jumpers (213) as the two have combined (228). Leonard has scored 1.34 points per possession -- eighth among all players -- and has an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 68.1%.
Steph on...the Court
All of the previous players have been really good at one play type. Apparently, that wasn't good enough for Stephen Curry. The current NBA MVP has two play types that he has produced from on an elite level.
The first is when Curry is coming off a screen. He has done so 201 times this season, attempting 171 field goals and connecting on 82 of them for a total of 250 points. On a per possession basis, he's scored 1.24 points while scoring 45.8% of the time. That kind of volume and efficiency places him a cut above any other player at this play type.
The second comes as a ball-handler in a pick and roll situation, which Steph plays the part of on 25.6% of his possessions. In those 364 possessions, Curry has scored 415 points on 50.2% from the field and an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 63.7%.
As a product of Curry's crazy handles and out-of-this-world shooting, this might very well be the most deadly play type of them all. One thing is for sure: when the ball is in Curry's hands, you (as a defender) are already in trouble, so look out.