Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Chris Duhon: A Midseason Look

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.

27 comments on “Chris Duhon: A Midseason Look

  1. Nick C.

    The coach always says or at least I’ve heard or read it more than once, that the team “gets into the offense” better with Duhon than with anyone else. I’m not sure what that specifically means or how, if at all, it can be measured. It seems like as Thomas B. wrote he deosn’t feel anyone else on the roster is a point guard.

  2. Z

    “it’s highly likely that D’Antoni will stick with Duhon for the rest of the year.”

    Considering D’Antoni’s man-crush on Du, is it possible he could be the PG of the rest of this year AND beyond??!!!???!!

    (With no free agent PGs worth spending on, and the fact that Duhon is going to be available at bargain prices in 2010, and the fact that the coach thinks his only minor shortcoming is his shooting… Sounds to me like the summer of LeBron could end up being the summer of Duhon……… :(

  3. Mulligan

    Come on, we must all know by now that D’Antoni doesn’t say everything that he’s thinking. He’s not LB, he’s not going to call out or diss Duhon in the press.
    I think everybody knows Du’s been a disappointment. But at least he’s consistently terrible. Give credit where it’s due.

  4. Mike Kurylo

    “It seems like as Thomas B. wrote he deosn’t feel anyone else on the roster is a point guard.”

    D’Antoni has said multiple times that Nate Robinson is a SG, not PG. And Toney Douglas can’t even work his way into the rotation as a backup PG.

  5. stratomatic

    “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.”

    I think we have seen instances where teams have shut down the pick roll precisely for that reason.

    At this point, it’s fairly clear that Duhon is so far below the average starting PG, he’s the primary reason the team won’t make the playoffs this year. I also think a team of solid offensive players can easily absorb a lack of offense from one player (like Jeffries) if he brings a lot of other things to the table. It’s a lot more difficult for a team of average or slightly above average offensive players to absorb the sub par offense of two players, especially when one of them isn’t bringing anything else to the table.

    The distressing part of this is that it’s hard to envision where we are going to get a solid PG for next year without giving up a core piece for the future.

  6. Z

    “The distressing part of this is that it’s hard to envision where we are going to get a solid PG for next year without giving up a core piece for the future.”

    The good news is that if LebRon joins the Knicks, then the PG problem is moot (Toney Douglas could start at the 1, no problem).

    The bad news is that is LeBron doesn’t join the Knicks, then they are screwed up the butt.

    (But at least they’ll have Jordan Hill!)

  7. Thomas B. Post author

    @1 Nick C.
    “Thomas B. wrote he deosn’t feel anyone else on the roster is a point guard.”

    I think the stats and style of play show that the Duhon is the only point.

    When I started this article, I was going to look at all the point guards, but as I was working on it I realized there is only one PG on the team. Duhon’s ast/36 minutes far out pace his teammates. At best, Hughes, Robinson, and Douglas are temporary care takers of the offense when they are on the floor. Those three are on the floor to score points rather than create points. That is why Hughes cant get back into the rotation, his shooting is just a poor as Duhon’s and he provides half the ast/36. I’m not sure why Douglas stopped getting time, I’ll refer to the D’Antoni rules for the answer to that.

    Did you know that David Lee is second on the team in total assists? Besides Lee, Duhon is the only player on the team that has an affirmative duty to manage the offense. But unlike Duhon, passing is not Lee’s only skillset. Therefore, I think Duhon is the only point. And boy does that depress me.

  8. stratomatic

    Z,

    I don’t fell so bad about drafting Jordan Hill. I’m not a fan of Jennings and only time will tell whether Ty Lawson will be better at what he does than Hill is at what he does. So far we’ve gotten the worst of that choice, but I’m willing to wait 2-3 years for a final verdict.

    Even if we have some redundancy at the F position, we could always trade Hill (or Lee) for a PG. The thing is, I’m greedy. I want to retain Lee and Hill and still figure out how to get a PG because I see Hill a as “potential C” that can play along side Lee. :-)

  9. stratomatic

    Thomas,

    I think they started giving Lee some more control of the offense over the last 6 weeks or so (guess about time frame) as he became more effective on the perimeter. He’s always had the passing skills, but now he’s in a position to do something with them more often since teams have to guard him out there or pay the price.

    The real disappointment in that regard has been Gallo.

    I envisioned Gallo playing that role because he actually had some PG experience as a kid before he shot up to 6′ 10″. But he’s not much of an assist guy yet. If we could get Gallo to be more of a playmaker, we might be able to get away with benching Duhon and playing a lineup of Lee, Gallo, Chandler, Jeffries/Hill, and a shooting guard type later this year. It wouldn’t be traditional, but it might be more productive than with Duhon.

  10. jaddddd1

    Most of the offense really is running through Lee at the top of the key now. I’d say most possessions he starts with the ball up top. The only time Duhon seems to be initiating offense is when he is running pick and roll with Lee. 16 straight missed 3-pointers ought to be enough to send him to the bench, no? Why not see how the offense runs with someone else out there, true PG or not.

  11. Nick C.

    Can’t you teach someone to be a point guard or at least to do it passably (sorry for the bad pun)? I’m not expecting the vision or court awareness of Kidd or Nash.

  12. Thomas B. Post author

    @ 9,

    Agreed that more of the offense is running through Lee in recent weeks (boy has his jumper looked good). I think Gallinari will be alright, he just needs to improve his shot distribution (60.7% of fga are from beyond the arch). Gallinari really should be looking to improve the mid range game and drive a bit more. He finishes well, at the rim and he is great FT shooter. If he mixes it up a bit I think he will have more passing chances to take advantage of. He is too talented on offense to have a lower USG-R than Chandler, Hughes, and Bender.

  13. Thomas B. Post author

    @5,
    “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.”

    I think we have seen instances where teams have shut down the pick roll precisely for that reason.

    Fair point. I should note that I did not lay down the money the NBALP this season. Maybe if Mike gives me a raise… Anyway, I dont get to watch many games. When I write these articles, Obi-Wan is in my head telling me to “Use the stats, Thomas. Use the stats.”

  14. nicos

    I’d actually like to them try running the pick & roll with Chandler & Lee when Chandler’s at the 2- Chandler has shown that he can pass fairly well off the dribble and he can certainly hit a foul line jumper better than Duhon. I think you could also try it a bit with Gallo when he’s being guarded by a 2 (as often happens). I agree with Stratomatic that Gallo’s play-making ability has been something of a disappointment but at this point I think it’s worth taking a look at- It’s got to be better than watching Duhon in an endlessly nightmarish mobius strip of just coming off of the pick, circling under the basket and then heading back out to the top of the key to start the whole thing over again.

  15. jaddddd1

    Thomas, do you think Dirk is a good example of how Danilo should play? The similarities in their games are pretty striking. Tall, long shooters that aren’t GREAT athletes but good ones. If Danilo could get that high post game like Dirk has, he’d instantly be much better. He definitely needs to be more assertive though, he almost never goes to the basket.

  16. Ted Nelson

    I can see D’Antoni’s point about getting into the offense with Duhon. However, clearly there is a trade-off this season because the cost of getting into the offense is having a guy who can’t hit a shot to save his life and is a below-average or maybe average defender out there. Plus his playmaking skills are pretty average anyway. Most nights I would prefer to see how the alternative works than watch Duhon brick wide open shots, but maybe I am being reactionary. I suppose it’s fair to assume Duhon will start shooting better at some point, given that his career numbers are not this awful.

    “At best, Hughes, Robinson, and Douglas are temporary care takers of the offense when they are on the floor. ”

    At some point Duhon is bad enough that I would take my chances with Hughes and Robinson (or one of those two and Douglas) together for long stretches. Don’t know if we are at that point. The offense may have to be re-envisioned a bit, but Robinson’s scoring and Hughes’ defense are more than Duhon seems to bring to the table most nights. It’s frustrating because he’s had a few great shooting nights, and the Knicks usually win when they get that extra kick: 9-3 when he hits 44% of his FGs or better this season, with two of those losses coming to Orlando.

    stratomatic and Z,

    I know it gets a lot of hype but I think PG is one of the easiest positions to fill, if not the easiest. I’m not really worried about how the Knicks will find a passable starting PG. Almost every other team has managed to find someone better than Duhon. They might find an Arenas, Mo Williams, Chalmers, or Sessions in the second. Buy a late first and get a Parker, Rondo, Lawson, or Aaron Brooks. They might pick up a Darrell Armstrong, Chucky Atkins, or Jose Calderon who went undrafted.

  17. Ted Nelson

    re: Danilo,

    I also was hoping he’d be a better playmaker. He’s still young and might just be playing the role D’Antoni has given him. Was hoping for a bigger jump in assists this year, but his numbers are actually close to what Hedo put up at the same age (though that was Hedo’s rookie year).

    At the same time he also hasn’t shown the ability to be a legit bigman like Dirk. Which Dirk also developed over time.

    You can also compare him to a purer spot-up shooter like Peja, who was actually a better playmaker (again, in terms of assists) at 21 than either Hedo or Danilo (but actually couldn’t shoot it his rookie season).

    An interesting question… How will Danilo’s game evolve? I guess you just try to develop all of his skills and see which come around.

  18. DS

    I doubt anyone will respond to this and perhaps someone has addressed this already…

    … can I ask one of the statheads who post regularly on this site to explain to me how the Grizzlies have been so successful so far this year, and in the Western Conf. at that, w/ our hated Z-Bo as their top producer?

  19. BigBlueAL

    Better yet can someone explain to me how the Bulls can start their road trip losing at Golden St and the Clippers but then win in Phoenix, Houston and San Antonio in a span of 4 days????

  20. kaine

    the only point guard in the roster is gallinari. I’d run the offense through him, especially the pick and roll with lee

  21. Droidz1979

    I doubt Gallo would evolve “overnight” into the PG that the Knicks badly need now…would have loved if the Knicks got Sessions at the start at the season or J. Kidd or even Andre Miller which i believe should have been the job of the GM rather than rely solely on Duhon and hope that Nate, Douglas and Hughes as the back-up plan. This was bound to fail..

    At least we got to see the likes of Gallo, Lee and Chandler improve their game and see flashes of potential for Hill and Douglas. Still, i would love for the Knicks to trade for a decent PG before the trading deadline to salvage the rest of the season while not losing the young ones and hopefully get future draft picks along the way. Expiring contracts like Hughes or Harrington might still be worth something for other teams who will be cost cutting or upgrading for the playoffs. There are just too many teams that has the cap space for 2010 that it might be too much to assume that we could get all the max. free agents that are supposed to be available.

    Still, i dream of the Knicks getting Lebron and getting the rights for Rubio..i know it might be asking for too much but one could always dream after all the crap the Knicks has been into the past years =)

  22. Droidz1979

    Z-Bo has Gasol and Gay around him to compensate for his defensive liabilities plus they do have Mayo who could shoot consistently and slash for a SG and a decent PG in Conley. He only had Jerome James and Eddy Curry around him when he was at our team while having Marbury as the PG, a fumbling JJ to take care of the D, incosistent J. Rich among other miscast.

    Besides, he had a ridicolously fat and long contract that killed the team’s flexibility to upgrade or fix itself from the mess that it was into. This applies to Marbury, Jerome James and the rest of the crew that donned the blue and orange jersey under Zeke.

  23. Z

    “I know it gets a lot of hype but I think PG is one of the easiest positions to fill, if not the easiest. I’m not really worried about how the Knicks will find a passable starting PG. Almost every other team has managed to find someone better than Duhon. They might find an Arenas, Mo Williams, Chalmers, or Sessions in the second. Buy a late first and get a Parker, Rondo, Lawson, or Aaron Brooks. They might pick up a Darrell Armstrong, Chucky Atkins, or Jose Calderon who went undrafted.”

    Ted– I’d be more apt to agree with this, except the Knicks HAVEN’T been able to find a passable starting PG on the cheap, other than Charlie Ward, at all in the last 17 years. And not for lack of trying: (Mardy Collins, Jared Jordan, Frank Williams, Milos Vujanic, etc…). One man’s Darrell Armstrong is another man’s Corey Gaines.

    Droidz–

    “Z-Bo has Gasol and Gay around him to compensate for his defensive liabilities”

    Admittedly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Memphis play. Not once, ever. Even when they have played the Knicks. But I know Gay’s reputation is that he is a horrible defensive player. Basically the Zach Randolph of swingmen.

    But your other points about Randolph are good. Playing next to a defensive center is key for Randolph. And it was never that Randolph didn’t produce. It was that the bang for the buck you got from him was not great (and it was an obvious mistake to bring him to NY in the first place).

    Memphis is a perfect place for Randolph to play. A guy who is impossible to root for should have no problem playing for a team that has no fans.

  24. rama

    “Memphis is a perfect place for Randolph to play. A guy who is impossible to root for should have no problem playing for a team that has no fans.” – brilliant!

  25. Ted Nelson

    DS,

    Memphis is winning on offense: they’re the 8th offense and 24th defense according to Basketball-Reference. They’ve got at least a decent scorer at every spot. Good inside outside balance, and apparently playing hard within the system. Z-Bo may be their top producer, but I think Gasol is just as valuable/productive.

    Droidz1979,

    The goal was to create cap flexibility and assemble a decent team in the meantime, in this context I think signing Kidd, Miller, or Sessions to a long-term contract would have been a failure. I wouldn’t necessarily have been against getting any of those guys, but given Walsh’s goals it didn’t make sense. Kidd and Miller both got more money than the Knicks could give them anyway from better teams, so Sessions is likely the only one the Knicks actually passed up.

    Z,

    The Knicks haven’t, but most other teams have. It’s not that the Knicks didn’t have the opportunity to add a PG cheap. In 2006 alone they passed on Rondo, Farmar, Lowry, Shannon Brown, and Sergio Rodriguez, and Boobie Gibson. They took Chandler over Brooks, Nichols over Sessions. Jack, Ellis, Lou Williams, Mo Williams (at 39, not 9), Earl Watson, Jaric, Ginobili, Alston, Derek Fisher… they’re had their chances. This year they passed on Jennings and Lawson. That was in the lottery, but my point is just that guys between 5-10 and 6-4 who are passable-to-good NBA PGs basically grow on trees.

    I don’t know exactly what you mean by, “One man’s Darrell Armstrong is another man’s Corey Gaines.” They are not particularly comparable: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=armstda01&y1=2008&p2=gaineco01&y2=1995 Armstrong played more games in a single season than Gaines did in his career, four different times.

  26. Z

    Yeah– obviously Corey Gaines is no Darrell Armstrong. Point was, there are more Corey Gaines plucked out of the undrafted point guard pile than there are Darrell Armstrongs. (And the Knicks always seem to get them!)

  27. Ted Nelson

    My point is just that finding a good 6 footer is, in general, easier than finding a good 7 footer.

    Teams play combo-guards/score-first PGs with plenty of success. Of course, D’Antoni’s system has come to be designed around a traditional PG… I wonder if/how that would change if the Knicks manage to land a LeBron, Wade, or even Joe Johnson.

Comments are closed.