NBA Chuckers Who Need to Temper Their Shot Selection

Ethan Sherwood Strauss@SherwoodStraussNBA Lead WriterDecember 4, 2012

NBA Chuckers Who Need to Temper Their Shot Selection

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    The very term "chucker" implies that a guy should perhaps pass more often or not involve himself in so many possessions. Deep down, we know that this is a bad tendency for a player to have, but we also tend to most celebrate the guys who shoot.

    Fans and media give much incentive for players to fire away. The 2010-11 Chicago Bulls had an incredible defense and bench in equal measure. Whom did we reward for that? Well, we gave an MVP award to their designated "chucker," Derrick Rose.

    I am not citing that instance to start some argument about Derrick Rose's old MVP merits, or even to declare that he needed to pass more often. The instance is merely mentioned to demonstrate that a guy who shoots most gets the most credit.

    Even if we decry the selfishness of "ballhogs," we must concede that that ball-hogging exists because of us. Shooting less will be no guarantee that any of the guys on this list get more media attention. So without further ado, here are some guys who could help their offenses—not their reputations—with a little more restraint.

6. Russell Westbrook

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    "Let Westbrook be Westbrook" has developed into something of an Internet meme, and for good reason. The good outweighs the bad with Russ, and we should remember that instead of ripping him every which way for not being a "pure" point guard.

    Still, even if Westbrook is good overall, he could be a lot better. He's a devastating force on drives, but squanders far too many possessions with pull-up three-pointers early in the shot clock.

    Oklahoma City has the third-best offense with Russ doing things his way, and I'd hazard that it'd be No. 1 if he merely cut out the out-of-context heat checks early in the shot clock. Westbrook gets to the line a lot, which makes his .415 shooting percentage not as bad as it seems. Even so, he should be closer to 50 percent with that driving talent. 

5. Kobe Bryant

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    This was more true of past Kobe Bryant versions. The 2012-13 guy has been quite efficient, shooting .489 from the field and .395 from distance. 

    It's a far cry better than Kobe's .430 field-goal percentage, .303 three-point percentage from last season. While it is difficult to cite current Bryant for inefficiency, he could also stand to share the rock.

    With so many surrounding weapons, Bryant should not need to be second in the NBA for field-goal attempts. It's highly understandable if Kobe doesn't want to trust the likes of Pau Gasol right now, but Bryant's current method is coinciding with Los Angeles "only" notching the fifth spot in offensive efficiency. Kobe's shot a little less than he has in past seasons, and he's been great. Perhaps a little less could be even more. 

4. Rudy Gay

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    Did you know that Rudy Gay is ninth in the league in field-goal attempts per game? Perhaps that figure doesn't shock you, but considering Gay's .422 field-goal mark, I find it a little surprising. 

    Rudy Gay has so much talent that you can understand why Memphis allows him those 17.1 shots per contest. The problem is that Gay often turns that talent into long, contested two-point jumpers. 

    To be fair to Rudy, his eFG% (field-goal percentage when you factor in three-point shooting) is .459. That's still not great, but it's a lot better than .422 shooting would indicate. If Gay continues to shoot .396 from distance, perhaps he should sacrifice some of those long twos for the deep variety. 

3. Brandon Jennings

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    That off-balance lefty rainbow sure looks pretty when it goes in. At a .415 field-goal clip, one wishes it went in a lot more often. 

    Brandon Jennings has a .474 effective field-goal percentage because he's hitting more threes this season. That mark isn't terrible, but Jennings could be doing a lot better with some minor tweaks.

    First of all, BJ should cut out his wild, off-balance floaters. The shot rarely goes in, for obvious reason. Jennings should also keep his balance on short pull-up jumpers. He's got good form, but so often comprises it by leaning one way or the other for the perfect highlight. Also, finally: Jennings should pass more. He's a point guard after all. 

2. Andrea Bargnani

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    Toronto Raptors fans have about had it with Andrea Bargnani. It doesn't help that Bargnani is seen as stealing minutes from the intriguing, highly drafted rookie Jonas Valanciunas.

    Long lamented for his poor defense, Andrea also provides some questionable offense. He's attempting 16 field goals per game so far while only hitting 40.4 percent of his shots. He's thought to be a three-point sniper, but last topped 35 percent from distance back in 2009-10.

    Right now, Andrea is hitting on a mere 34.6 percent of his deep tries. Last season, in 31 games, he shot 29.6 percent from three-point range. Perhaps the Italian big man should dial it back some. 

1. Monta Ellis

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    The Monta Ellis-Brandon Jennings combination will only work if Ellis stops indulging his worst habits. So far, with the Bucks, he's looking like the guy Golden State was all too happy to trade.

    Ellis is sixth in field-goal attempts per game despite shooting a miserable .401 from the floor and .211 from three-point range. The worst thing about those awful numbers is that there's little reason to believe they'll markedly improve to the point of acceptability. Last season with the Bucks, Monta was at .432 from the field and .267 from distance. 

    This inefficiency is a choice for Monta, as he takes many terrible shots, often early in the shot clock, often off the dribble. Ellis has a lot of talent, but he's refusing to use it in a sensible, helpful manner so far.