Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Joel Przybilla and Rudy Fernandez: High percentage, long range

Two items on note yesterday from ESPN.com that I neglected to get to before heading off for home last night. I found both to be rather intriguing, so I figure now is as good a time as any to get to those items before discussing tonight's game against the Knicks.

First up, John Hollinger's take on Joel Przybilla and his off-the-charts field goal percentage.
Portland's Joel Przybilla made his lone field goal attempt last night, and is now at 83.6 percent for the season. That's not a typo -- he's made 46 of his 55 shot attempts. And he's stepped it up of late -- in his past seven games he's 18-for-19.

Of course, nearly all his shots are dunks, and the ones that aren't are left-handed layups (interesting quirk -- the right-handed Przybilla almost always finishes with his left). His True Shooting Percentage is an other-worldly 81.4, which leads the league by a wide margin; second-place Walter Herrmann of Detroit is at 67.4.

Przybilla, of course, is highly unlikely to keep shooting quite so well all season. But he's been an underrated factor at both ends while Greg Oden gets his NBA sea legs, and is one big reason the Blazers are a surprising third in the Power Rankings today.
I truly appreciate Hollinger giving Joel Przybilla his due, but I think he might be off the mark when it comes to Przy's performance the remainder of the season.

One one hand, I can see where Hollinger is coming from. After all, Przybilla is a career 55 percent field goal shooter (and I use the term "shooter" loosely here) so it's understandable to assume his FG% is eventually going to come back down to earth.

But then again, why does it have to? It's not like Przybilla is nailing 18-foot jumpers, or even close-in hook shots. He's getting dunks and easy layups. In fact, aside from one desperation heave at the buzzer, Przybilla has only taken one shot from more than five feet away from the basket (by the way, he missed that shot). So is he going to start bricking dunks or muffing layups or jacking up threes? I highly doubt it.

So who knows, maybe Przybilla, with enough attempts to officially qualify, could shatter the FG% record.

Next up, an interesting Rudy Fernandez stat from Lisa Brooks at ESPN Research.
Rudy Fernandez has now made at least one 3-point field goal in all 18 games he has played this season. He becomes only the third rookie over the past 12 seasons to make a 3-pointer in 18 consecutive games. The other two rookies to do that since 1997-98 are Gordan Giricek in 2002-03 (24 straight games) and Kirk Hinrich in 2003-04 (29). Hinrich's streak is the NBA record for a rookie.
Fairly esoteric when it comes to statistical records, but I'll take it.

I've heard some grumbling from our Spanish brothers and sisters that Rudy is being used too much as a three-point specialist and not enough as an all-around player. I can understand the sentiment, but it overlooks the more important issue, which is wins and losses.

The Trail Blazers are winning right now in large part because every player on this team has accepted their role. Many of the players on the Trail Blazers probably put up better stats on other teams; it's just that Nate McMillan has convinced his players to put the what's best for the team in front of what's best for each individual player. Everyone is selling out for the sake of wins, and it's paying off.


Anonymous said...

We said.

sammy said...

Joel rocks, we won't make the playoffs without em"