10 NBA Players Who Need to Shoot a Lot More in 2012-13
There's a simple lesson that we all learn as children: Sharing is caring.
However, some NBA players would probably benefit from sharing a little less.
In looking at the numbers, many have shown the offensive efficiency to be more prolific scorers.
Whether it be passing too much or not getting the ball enough, several are capable of having a bigger offensive impact. And I'm as big a fan of ball movement as anyone.
But when the object of basketball is to score more points than the other team, increasing a team's points gives it more of a chance to win.
Here are 10 players who could benefit themselves and their teams by shooting more.
Steve Nash is a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, largely because he has become the gold standard for setting up his teammates. He's led the league in assists five times in the past eight seasons, and averaged more than 10 assists per game in seven of them.
But what is equally impressive is Nash has averaged just less than 50 percent in field goal percentage for his career, a mark you don't often see from guards.
In fact, he's shot better than 50 percent in seven of the past eight seasons.
He also has a career 42.8 three-point percentage and 90.4 free-throw percentage. My point is, the man can flat-out shoot.
Nash is near the end of his career and was brought to the Los Angeles Lakers to give them a facilitating point guard. But with Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in the starting lineup with him, Nash won't have to create as much as he did in Phoenix.
There will be times when Howard, Bryant and Gasol play one-on-one ball, and if by chance Nash is open, they should be passing him the ball.
The Atlanta Hawks lost Joe Johnson, their best player, just when Jeff Teague was starting to come into his own.
The Hawks managed to pick up Devin Harris, but he looks to be on the downslope of his career. I expect the Hawks to roll with the younger Teague.
He shot 47.7 percent from the field last season on 10.2 attempts per game. He is a good slasher and a ball-handler who can create his own shot.
With no Johnson, I expect the Hawks to see if Teague can improve his numbers for the fourth straight season and become a cornerstone in the post-Johnson era.
Tyson Chandler has made a name for himself as one of the premier defenders in the league and won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12.
However, not only did Chandler have the highest field-goal percentage on the New York Knicks last season, he had the highest field-goal percentage in the league. He shot just less than 70 percent last season. And yet, Chandler only averaged 5.7 field-goal attempts per game.
By comparison, Chandler had a higher field-goal percentage than Dwight Howard by more than 10 percentage points last season, yet he shot less than half as much as Howard.
While Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire are busy putting up more than 30 combined field-goal attempts per game, they should take a second to see if Chandler is open in the paint or has a mismatch.
After all, Chandler has a higher career field-goal percentage than either of them.
Admittedly, Steve Novak isn't a good defender, he's not a good passer and, for a 6'10" guy. he sure doesn't rebound much.
But none of that changes the fact that his three-point percentage last season was higher than many NBA players' field-goal percentage. Novak shot 47.2 percent from beyond the arc, the fourth-best season average all time, according to Jared Zwerling of ESPN.
He has a quick release, has a height advantage over most perimeter defenders and is able to utilize an effective ball-fake.
For his career, Novak has averaged 43.6 percent from three-point land. And as Bleacher Report correspondent Matt Shetler pointed out in an article earlier this year, Novak became a big factor in the New York Knicks' offense in the absence of Carmelo Anthony.
The Knicks ranked 21st in three-point percentage last season, but could have been even worse had Novak not shot the ball so effectively.
With head coach Mike Woodson preaching defense and a healthy Anthony in the starting lineup, Novak may not get the number of touches that he should.
A guy with the shooting prowess of Novak should get the opportunity to average more than the 6.2 field-goal attempts and 18.5 minutes per game.
Ersan Ilyasova has steadily increased his shooting accuracy for the Milwaukee Bucks, to the point where he shot just less than 50 percent last year..
On top of that, Ilyasova had the second-highest three-point percentage (45.5) of any player in the NBA last year and was the only power forward or center in the top 10.
With Andrew Bogut being traded to the Golden State Warriors, Ilyasova is all but guaranteed to be a starter for the Bucks.
Center Samuel Dalembert will have to try to pick up the slack on defense without Bogut, but Ilyasova will need to be the big man who is able to put the ball in the basket. After guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, Ilyasova will need to be the Bucks' third scoring option.
Ilyasova averaged a career-high 10 field-goal attempts and 13 points last season. For the Bucks to be successful, he'll need to increase both figures this year.
Arron Afflalo's offensive numbers have gotten better every one of the five years he's been in the league.
He averaged a career-high 11.3 field-goal attempts and 15.2 points per game last season, and that was on the Denver Nuggets, a team that shared the ball quite a bit and lacked a true star.
With Afflalo being traded to the Orlando Magic as part of a package that saw Dwight Howard become a Laker, the Magic will have a new look and a new young star.
Afflalo will arguably be the best player on the team. B/R featured columnist Brett David Roberts makes an excellent case for Afflalo here.
For the Magic, a team that is in a complete rebuilding mode, Afflalo will—and should—get every opportunity to score at least 20 points a game.
All he will need to do is pull the trigger.
The Minnesota Timberwolves' season began with a a ton of hype surrounding Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, so few people expected Nikola Pekovic to end up having as big of an impact as he did.
Pekovic faced some injury concerns in 2011-2012. But when healthy, he took a lot of the rebounding and scoring pressure down low off Love. Pekovic averaged 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season.
On an average of only 9.7 field-goal attempts per game, Pekovic was able to be a constant double-double threat—his best game last season was a 30-point, 12-rebound, three-block gem in Houston.
Pekovic has a ton of strength to back down his defender and has a soft touch around the rim.
Not only does Pekovic's emergence form a formidable frontcourt pairing with Love, but it also allows Love to take more jump shots knowing there's another solid presence in the post.
Now that Love and Rubio know what he can do, Pekovic just needs to keep doing it.
Forward Thaddeus Young has been one of the Philadelphia 76ers' best scoring options the past four seasons. He's averaged more than 10 points per game in each of them.
And while his points totals and field goal attempts have dropped slightly over the last four years, he's still managed to shoot at least 50 percent the past two seasons.
Although the Sixers lost some key players in acquiring Andrew Bynum, they still have a decent roster and have made their way back to the postseason under the leadership of coach Doug Collins.
They have a strong frontcourt in Bynum and Spencer Hawes, and an athletic backcourt in Jrue Holliday, Lou Williams and Evan Turner.
Young fits right in the middle of the Sixers' equation. With forwards Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand no longer on the team, he should be asked to pick up his scoring, especially since he had the second-best player efficiency rating on the Sixers last season.
Serge Ibaka is mostly known for his defense and shot-blocking, but he has a killer midrange game.
He isn't a focal pointt of the Oklahoma City offense because Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden do most of the scoring. However, one of the reasons the Thunder weren't able to get past the Heat is because they didn't spread the ball enough.
Ibaka has posted a higher than 53 percent field-goal percentage in every season in the NBA, yet hasn't averaged more than 7.5 shots per game in any of those seasons.
Durant, Westbrook and Harden are too good to not be the focus of the team's offense. However, in order to get past the Lakers and the Heat, the Thunder will need a fourth and fifth offensive option.
Ibaka can drain midrange jumpers. He just has to be given the ball a few more times by the Thunder's Big Three.
JaVale McGee is much more than a dunk contest winner and a high flier. He's a great rebounder and efficient scorer as well.
McGee has been in the league for five seasons and has never averaged as many as 10 field-goal attempts per game. Yet the past two seasons, he's averaged at least 10 points per game while shooting at least 50 percent from the field.
He had somewhat of a "knucklehead" label on him while playing for the Washington Wizards. But in the 20 games he played for the Denver Nuggets, his field goal percentage shot up to 61.2 percent.
If McGee can stay focused on his game, he might finally be able to hit his stride. The veteran leadership of Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller and coach George Karl should help him.
As the Nuggets' starting center, McGee needs to take advantage of his seven-foot frame, his athletic ability and the fresh start he's been given to produce even more on offense.
There's no reason he should average fewer than than 10 field-goal attempts per game this season.
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