Nowitzki a low-post player?


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.