An Offensive Move the Top 10 NBA Rookies Must Add to Their Game
Considering no NBA rookies are finished products, they could all use a little extra in order to maximize their offensive output.
Becoming a multidimensional threat not only makes a young player more unpredictable to defend, but it gives the coach more of a reason to keep them on the floor. Finding new ways to score the ball could help round out a player and increase their chances of contributing in a rotation.
These top rookies need to diversify their offense by adding a specific move to increase the threat they present offensively.
Anthony Davis: Back-to-the-Basket Jump Hook
One of Anthony Davis' most auspicious physical qualities is his 7'5'' wingspan, which he normally uses to block shots, finish at the rim and catch lobs above the cylinder.
As his frame develops and his body gets stronger, Davis will look to maximize his offense by adding a new dimension of scoring to his arsenal.
With Davis' length and high release point, defenders would need a broom in their hands to contest a jump hook.
He's currently scoring most of his points as a drive-and-dish recipient, and a pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop target. If Davis could become a threat in the post with his back to the basket, he'd have the chance at becoming one of the most versatile two-way players in the game.
Damian Lillard: Floater
Damian Lillard is beyond advanced for an offensive-minded rookie. He's capable of pulling up, stepping back, spotting up and attacking the rim. But there's one shot he can add that could eventually minimize his risk of injury while giving him another situational weapon.
The floater is best used when the lane is open, but the rim is protected. It's typically difficult to go from full speed with the ball to stopping on the dime, setting and taking a balanced jumper off two feet.
The floater, or runner, is used to avoid forcing it into traffic by floating it over the trees. It's a difficult shot to master because you're moving while shooting off one foot, but Lillard has a soft enough touch where he can loft it up coming off a ball screen.
Lillard has All-Star potential, but a floater could end up netting him two to four extra points a game.
Dion Waiters: Facilitating Pick-and-Roll
Dion Waiters is a dynamic scoring option with more moves than an episode of Dancing With the Stars. Between his handle and shiftiness, Waiters can score moving east, west, north and south.
He's labeled as a combo guard because of his ability to create off the dribble. As a pick-and-roll facilitator, Waiters would not only raise is effectiveness as a distributor, but give him more avenues to explore as a scorer.
The ball-handler has options coming off the screen, who can either hit the roll target, pull up in space or use the hesitation dribble to attack the rim. It would be another to excuse to give Waiters the basketball.
Bradley Beal: Dribble Step-Back Jumper
Bradley Beal has all sorts of perimeter scoring tools. He can spot up from downtown, handle the ball and pull up off the dribble out to 23 feet away.
But as an isolation scorer, Beal isn't the craftiest shot-creator unless there happens to be space between him and his defender. A step-back jumper off the dribble would help him create separation and probably allow hm to attempt an extra few shots every game.
With time and athleticism on his side, there's no reason Beal can't be a secondary scoring option in the prime of his career. A step-back jumper would increase the odds of that happening.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Pull-Up Jumper
Most of the baskets Kidd-Gilchrist will score will be as slasher in the half court and finisher in transition.
What he's missing is that in between game. A pull-up jumper off the dribble would increase his threat as a scorer, as defenders tend to lay off because of his ability to get to the rim.
MKG would really benefit from adding a new dimension to his perimeter game. While he was drafted for his effectiveness as a defender and off-the-ball contributor, it would be nice to eventually get a consistent 15 points a game from the second overall pick.
Andre Drummond: Mid-Range Jumper
Andre Drummond isn't scoring many of his points outside the paint, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you just look at him.
But if you watched him in college, he actually likes taking short, face-up jumpers. It looks weird, but he's seems comfortable attempting them.
Like most raw big men, Drummond's favorite move is his over-the-shoulder hook on the low block. A mid-range jumper would take his defender away from the rim and make him vulnerable to Drummond's agility.
It's more of a long-term assignment, but if Drummond can start knocking down 15-footers as a pick-and-pop or drive-and-dish target, he'll give Lawrence Frank more reasons to keep him on the floor.
Harrison Barnes: Attacking the Rim
Barnes is too talented to limit himself to perimeter scoring.
Most of Barnes' production comes spotting up from downtown and pulling up or stepping back off the dribble. Rarely does he get to the free-throw line, because he rarely gets to the rim.
With Barnes' size, length and athleticism for a wing, he needs stay aggressive off the bounce instead of pulling back to avoid traffic at the rim. Taking his defender off the dribble and finalizing his drive with a layup or foul would make him a more complete offensive scorer and raise his ceiling an extra story.
Jae Crowder: Over-the-Shoulder Hook Shot
Jae Crowder's strength and agility makes up for the fact that he's really only 6'4''. While his height was originally thought to be a concern, he's actually drawing shooting guards for defenders—shooting guards who would lose to Crowder in an arm-wrestling match 10 out of 10 times.
Though his outside touch and hustle play have been the reasons he's gotten time, Crowder could really use his strength to his advantage by backing down his man.
Few guards are used to defending the post in the first place. Crowder should be able to earn position on his defender, making the over-the-shoulder hook shot an easy choice.
With Crowder's touch, he could get himself easy buckets if given space to operate.
Jonas Valanciunas: Face-Up Game
Jonas Valanciunas does most of his damage with his back to the basket. He's just comfortable setting up his offense that way.
A face-up game would really give him some variety as a skilled seven-footer. We've seen him back down defenders and then use those long, graceful strides to sweep into the lane and create separation. But we haven't seen do much damage as a pick-and-pop target or a dribble-drive threat.
Being able to step out and face the rim would make him a two-way offensive threat and increase his scoring opportunities on a nightly basis.
Tyler Zeller: Over-the-Right-Shoulder Fade-Away
Tyler Zeller is always finding ways to score inside, using his seven-foot frame to get position and score over his left shoulder. It's a natural move for big men.
But if Zeller can start turning over the opposite shoulder, it would increase his unpredictability with his back to the basket.
He's got a soft touch and his jumper, which he's been clearly working on. Being able to fade baseline on the weak side with his back to the basket could elevate his offensive game to the next level.