Nowitzki a low-post player?

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Marc Stein, writing for ESPN Dallas, has some interesting information regarding Dirk Nowitzki and the low post. Here’s an excerpt: 

Nowitzki is averaging 1.03 points per play in post-up situations this season, according to ESPN researchers. That places him third among players with a minimum of 250 post-ups, behind only Toronto’s Chris Bosh (1.12 points per play) and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (1.08). 

Nowitzki, generally known as a high-post player with three-point range rather than a banger down low, is apparently getting it done in the post using finesse rather than pure power. What’s even more interesting to me than how good Dirk is in the low post is how bad the NBA is in the low post. Nowitzki, Bosh, and Duncan are the only players currently averaging more than a point per post-up situation among qualified players. This season, Indiana, Minnesota, and New Jersey are the only teams scoring less than a point per possession overall. I’m not sure exactly how ESPN research is defining “points per possession” or a “low-post possession” in this data, but if they define them the same way as they define overall offensive efficiency, this is an interesting find. 

It’s no secret that it’s become easier to go around players than shoot over them thanks to the advent of the hand-check rules. If these statistics are to be taken at face value, there may be a reason behind less and less NBA teams running their offense through the post. 

Robin Lopez pushes short floater over backboard (video)

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Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

This miss was all on him.

Dwyane Wade plays the laziest defense you’ll ever see (video)

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Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.

Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.

John Wall wears cape to postgame press conference (video)

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John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.