Three Pointers from Beyond The RK

The Point God, Chumander, and The Klaw

  • The Point God has risen Phoenix from pretender to contender
data via Synergy (3/31/21)

veryone in the building knows he’s pulling up for the fadeaway ten-footer off the hesi, but this only feeds into the midrange assassin’s power; it makes him stronger. He needs no recognition, he needs no respect; he knows his worth, and he’s going to annihilate whoever lies in his path either way. Standing 5'13", Chris Paul is still one of the biggest killers in the NBA. Among players shooting three middies per game, Chris Paul’s 51.2% FG% is the fifth-best in the league. Paul’s taken the sixth-most Clutch shots (62) of any player, where Chris is shooting 45.2% FG%. The Point God has no mercy.

CP3’s Suns have the second-best point-differential in the NBA (+7.2); Paul is once again captaining an elite offense (8th, 119.1 O-RTG), where he’s creating shots for himself and his teammates in all sorts of ways. (via Cleaning The Glass) Chris Paul is one of forty-eight players to record fifty ISO possessions and fifty P&R Ball-Handler possessions this season; among those players, CP3 ranks 18th in ISO scoring efficiency and 22nd in P&R Ball-Handler scoring efficiency. Phoenix has scored 1.028 PPP on 107 Chris Paul ISO possessions, while the Suns have scored 0.974 PPP in the 341 possessions where The Point God runs a pick-and-roll.

Paul continues to score on and off the ball. Paul’s scoring 1.02 PPP on 405 Jump Shots and 0.986 PPP on 354 off-the-dribble Jump Shots. He stays busy without the ball, scoring 1.012 PPP in 83 Spot Up possessions and 1.277 PPP in 47 C&S possessions.

From Tyson Chandler to Deandre Jordan, lob threats are Chris Paul’s best friend; can CP3 bring the best out of Deandre Ayton, or are the Suns a playoff rotation big short? The Point God’s 97 assists to Deandre Ayton are the third-most of any Assist Combo in the league, via pbp stats; Chris is in the top-25 of Assist Combos with two other teammates: 62 assists to Mikal Bridges (24th) and 65 dimes to Devin Booker (21st). Booker’s playmaking duties have been alleviated with the addition of Paul, while Mikal has thrived in an off-ball role after making a mini-leap as an everywhere-at-once help defender and a knockdown 3PT shooter.

Year 16 Chris Paul is shooting 48–36–94 on career average shot volume with a 3.54 A/TO, leading yet another well-balanced roster past expectations, dragging Phoenix from 10th in the West last year to 2nd this season. How much differently would Chris Paul be viewed historically if he adds that ever-elusive ring as arguably the team’s best player to his career resume?

  • Catch-and-Chuma Okeke has been an elite off-ball shooter in the NBA right out of the gate.
data via Synergy 3/31/21

huma Okeke is already one of the best Catch-and-Shoot (C&S) threats in the NBA; Okeke’s 52.4% FG% on 63 C&S attempts ranks in the NBA’s 98th percentile. Catch-and-Chuma has been more efficient when guarded (1.656 C&S PPP, 32 shots, 99th percentile) than he has when unguarded (1.387 C&S PPP, 31 shots, 81st percentile); JR Smith approves. Chuma Okeke has been The Most Efficient Player in the NBA in Guarded C&S situations, among players with at least twenty possessions.

Okeke’s flashed a number of ball-skills and all-around feel for the game in his short NBA career, revealing his team-first mentality on both ends of the floor. Chuma’s a cerebral player who knows where to be and happens to always be in the right place at the right time. He’ll protect the rim from the weakside one play, use his length to switch onto a guard and force a steal on another, while always being a threat to go coast-to-coast off a turnover. The touch on Chuma Okeke’s jump shot might be his best skill, but his vision and decision-making are no joke.

For the season, Chuma’s shooting 41% from deep on 2.7 threes per game. Overall in the half court, Chuma’s scoring 1.025 PPP on 162 possessions. In 75 Spot Up possessions, Okeke’s 1.147 PPP ranks in the 76th percentile. On 96 Jump Shots, Chuma’s scoring 1.198 PPP (89th percentile), with 69 of those Jump Shots coming from beyond the arc, where Okeke’s scoring 1.348 PPP (95th percentile). (via Synergy Sports)

Okeke’s had the hot hand all season. In his last four games, as the Magic made it abundantly clear by cashing in its veterans for long-term assets that he’s a part of their future plans, Chumander’s been breathing fire:

17.8 PPG
4.8 REB
2.3 AST/1.5 TO
1.3 STL
(28.9 MPG)

62.8% FG% (10.8 FGA)
63.2% 3P% (22/43 3P)
83% FT% (5/6 FT)

(via Basketball Reference)

  • The Klaw is leading a Top-3 team in the West with MVP numbers while being the most efficient P&R Ball-Handler Scoring Creator in the NBA

awhi Leonard has gone from the league’s most devastating defender to one of its most lethal offensive scoring creators. Kawhi’s Overall Half Court scoring efficiency ranks in the league’s 92nd percentile (1.127 PPP); he’s been efficient in essentially every scoring play-type this season. His least-efficient attack is surprisingly in ISO situations, where he’s scoring 0.921 PPP in 151 possessions, but he ranks in the league’s 59th percentile and has a known mid-range pull-up jumper that’s proven to be unguardable once the playoffs roll around.

Kawhi’s creating shots for himself and his teammates out of the post as well as any player in the league, making 59.6% of his 104 shots from the block while creating 1.167 PPP in 132 post-ups overall. The Klaw is The Most Efficient P&R Ball-Handler Scoring Creator in the NBA this season among players with 100+ possessions. Leonard’s highest-volume play-type is running pick-and-rolls as the ball-handler, where Kawhi’s 1.155 PPP in 238 possessions ranks in the 96th percentile in the NBA.

No matter which role you ask him to play, The Klaw is going to get buckets, and make it look easy while doing it. Leonard remains a lethal off-ball threat. Kawhi’s scoring 1.272 PPP in 125 Spot Up possessions, which ranks in the league’s 93rd percentile. He’s scoring 1.197 PPP in 137 Catch-and-Shoot possessions, where he’s been miles better when unguarded (1.547 C&S PPP on 53 shots) than guarded (0.976 C&S PPP on 84 shots)

Kawhi Leonard is scoring more points per game than LeBron James (25.4) and as many as James Harden. (26) Among MVP candidates, Leonard’s 2.58 A/TO trails only Jokic (2.83) and Harden (2.64), while Kawhi leads all candidates in steals. (1.8) Leonard is shooting 52–39–87 on eighteen shots, five three-pointers, and six free throws per game; Nikola Jokic might be the only the player in the NBA scoring more efficiently than Kawhi Leonard this season. He might not win the award, but the next time you’re having “the conversation” about MVP, don’t forget to bring up The Klaw.

photo credit: Orlando Magic

data resources: Synergy Sports, Basketball Reference, Cleaning The Glass, NBA Stats, and PBP Stats

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