It’s early. Early, early, early. I don’t want to condemn anyone based on ten games, but it’s time to wonder what’s going on with Rudy Gay, Gerald Wallace and Deron Williams.
Rudy Gay – He’s been chucking, but his chucking has now reached historic levels.
Through 11 games, Gay has shot under 40 percent from the field on 20 attempts per game while averaging less than two assists a night. In the shot clock era, he’s the only player to ever do that.
There have been a lot of inefficient, high volume scorers in the history of the league, but Gay is on pace to make those guys look unselfish in comparison. Pass the ball, Rudy.
Gerald Wallace – Wallace has the yips. Much like a player who suddenly can’t throw to first base, he’s completely in his own head. You can hide a little better on the court than on the diamond, but it’s still pretty apparent that something is up.
Wallace’s struggles shooting the ball began when he was traded to the Nets, and he’s deteriorated offensively ever since. Wallace has flat out stopped shooting altogether this year, as he’s averaging just 5.2 shots per 36 minutes. That’s less than half the attempts he’s averaged on his career.
In 309 minutes this year, Wallace hasn’t attempted a single shot that wasn’t at the rim or a three-pointer. Not a one. From the free throw line, he’s a dreadful 5-for-17.
Wallace has been incredibly outspoken about Boston’s poor play this year, citing selfish play as the root of the problem. Is Wallace making a point with his decision not to shoot, or is he searching for a way to justify his fear of shooting?
Deron Williams – While I’m playing armchair psychologist, I may as well try to tackle Williams’ early season struggles. Injuries have taken their toll once again, but doesn’t this feel like a familiar song at this point?
Here are Williams’ averages in the first month of each season over the last four years:
2013-14: 8 games, 25.4 minutes, 10 points, 41.9 field goal percentage, 50.5 true shooting percentage.
2012-13: 15 games, 35.6 minutes, 15.7 points, .38.8 field goal percentage, 51 true shooting percentage.
2011-12: 4 games, 32.7 minutes, 16.5 points, 34.9 field goal percentage, 46.8 true shooting percentage.
2010-11: 3 games, 34.7 minutes, 15.3 points, 35.3 field goal percentage, 53.7 true shooting percentage.
Point being, Williams is a notorious slow starter. It’s hard to find reasons to be optimistic about Brooklyn’s chances right now, but if history is any indicator, Williams should be heating up soon.
Help is on the way for Brooklyn, even if Williams’ habit of using the first ten games of the year as his own personal preseason is more than a little troubling.
The Nets need Williams and the rest of their roster for the playoffs more than anything else, but you’d like to think that the nagging injuries and slow starts every year could be avoided.
Is Jalen right?
Wizards 104, Timberwolves 100: Minnesota led by a dozen at the half and seemed to be in control. Then the Timberwolves took the second half off while the Wizards finally got out and ran (as they should do more of). Minnesota’s transition defense was terrible. Bradley Beal had 17 of his 25 in the second half to help spark the comeback. Nene added 20 points, John Wall had 16 assists including one to Martell Webster for what was the game winner. Washington just executed better down the stretch. After his play most of the game Ricky Rubio was benched in favor of J.J. Barea down the stretch.
Pistons 92, Knicks 86: New York was without Raymond Felton but that doesn’t begin to fully explain how the Knicks could not take advantage of what up to this point has been the worst defense in the NBA this season. Carmelo Anthony was 8-of-20 with seven turnovers and spent much of the night hunting for fouls rather than just playing ball. The Knicks play without any identity. Rodney Stuckey had 21 points for Detroit — not because of his good shot selection but because the contested jumpers just fell for a night. Doesn’t matter, the Pistons will take it. Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond combined to be 12-of-15 shooting for 29 points, Josh Smith had 19 points and played good defense on Anthony.
Heat 104, Hawks 88: Atlanta came in only turning ball over on 13.9 percent of possessions this season. Against Miami they turned it over on 26.2 percent of their possessions (24 times) — better than one-in-four trips down the court resulted in a turnover. And that is the cardinal sin against the Heat who then get out and run. Mario Chalmers had 12 points in the third quarter to help the Heat pull away, Ray Allen had 12 in the fourth to keep it that way. No Dwyane Wade so it was Chris Bosh who stepped up with 19 points on 9 shots.
Rockets 109, Celtics 85: Houston opened the game on an 18-1 run, went on to lead by 35 at one point, and this was a complete and total blowout. Terrence Jones is making the case that he is the starting four next to Dwight Howard on this team, putting up 24 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Even in a blowout, Omer Asik only got seven minutes, but that’s seven more than the last couple games. Boston just had no fight in them, as Gerald Wallace said after the game: “I don’t know what the (expletive) tonight was.”
Kings 107, Suns 104: Phoenix was without Eric Bledsoe but took the lead in the second quarter behind 12 points from Archie Goodwin (who saw that coming? Goodwin finished with 16). The Suns led by 14 in the third and seemed in control until a 10-2 Kings’ run to close out the third made it close. In the fourth Isaiah Thomas (9 points in the fourth) and DeMarcus Cousins (27 points on the night) closed the door and got Sacramento the win as the Kings shot 50 percent in the final frame and Phoenix 32 percent. The Suns have led in the fourth quarter of all 10 games they have played this year but are 5-5.