During halftime of the Dallas game, Coach D’Antoni said the only thing wrong with Duhon was that he wasn’t hitting shots (eFG% 44.8). Sure, and the only thing wrong with the Titanic was a small hole in its hull. D’Antoni mentioned Duhon’s assist to turnover rating (37.0 Ast-R), and total assist (6.7 per/36) in defense of his point. Unfortunately, Duhon’s passing numbers, while good, simply are not strong enough to make up for his abysmal shooting. Duhon’s TS% of 48.3 (28th of starting point guards) is about the same as noted brick layers Jared Jeffries (48.4) and Larry Hughes (47.4).
It’s an understatement for D’Antoni to say that Duhon is just struggling with his shot. The complete story is that Duhon does not have a well developed offensive game. His shot distribution sheds light on his limitations as an offensive contributor.
Duhon attempts 8 field goals per game. 57.7% of those shots are three pointers that Duhon hits at a four year low of 34.4%. Duhon compounds his offensive struggles by showing no interest in the mid range game (1.2 fga between 10-23 feet) and no aptitude for finishing drives. Duhon attempts 1.8 shots at the rim (dunks or layups) and he only hits 42.9% of those attempts. Nate Robinson takes more attempts at the rim (2.5) and converts 50.9%. I guess defenses don’t realize that Duhon won’t take a 17 footer, and that he can’t hit a lay up. If they did, his pick and rolls with Lee would be really easy to defend. Duhon is only attempting 1.7 free throws per game. So we can add inability to draw contact to the list of offensive shortcomings.
It would be nice to see Duhon change his game to draw more fouls, take more mid range shots, or improve his finishing, but that seems unlikely at this point in his career. The location of Duhon’s shots, and his shooting percentages have been pretty consistent over the past four years. At best, we can hope for a slight improvement in his eFG%. However, that seems unlikely if Duhon shows the same late season drop in productivity he had in the 08-09 season. Due to the lack of other options (D’Antoni sees Robinson as a shooting guard and Toney Douglas has failed to make the rotation), it’s highly likely that D’Antoni will stick with Duhon for the rest of the year.