Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
If you could fix one part of one guy’s game, what for who?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Easy. Dwight Howard. Free throws. It could help him as much mentally as statistically, freeing him from the burden and worry of Hack-a-Dwight strategy. More than that, though, it frees me from having to watch that slop, from the intentional fouls to his feeble efforts from the line.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Clank! Oh, this one’s a free throw. Clank! Dwight Howard’s free throws. Clank!
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Considering how the season started, is there any other answer than fixing Dwight Howard’s free throws — and if not that his post-up game? Despite his field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage practically being mirror images in the low 50s, Dwight’s still averaging 17.2 ppg. Imagine if he could hit a 5-foot hook or a 15-foot freebie.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Fixing anything with a player, I would correct Greg Oden’s health — he could have been really good if his body had not betrayed him. But fixing part of a someone’s game, I’ll fix Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s shot. A guy with that much athleticism and that much of a motor shouldn’t be so easy to defend. But take away the drive and he’s so limited.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s jumper. MKG has shown signs – particularly in a couple of early-season matchups with Carmelo Anthony – of being an elite defender. And he has offensive skills as a playmaker and off-ball cutter. But his shot is a major flaw, even with the work he’s put in with assistant coach Mark Price. If he can somehow develop into a good shooter, he can eventually be one of the best two-way players in the league, much like the guy – Andre Iguodala — he says he’s modeling his game after.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Just one? Don’t you usually get three strikes … or is it three wishes? Anyway. It’s hard to pass up finishing the circle on Blake Griffin‘s game, with some post moves to go with everything else he brings to the table. And I could easily go with Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting or some low-post moves that he’s supposed to already be showcasing. I’d even dial up better shot selection and overall decision-making from Russell Westbrook. But I cannot shake the image of (a healthy) Rajon Rondo operating with Stephen Curry’s shooting stroke. Can you imagine how ridiculously lethal Rondo would be with an offensive arsenal to match the rest of his game? If someone could fix Rondo’s shot and make him a lights out shooter from the mid-range all the way beyond the 3-point line … we’re talking about a player that would be virtually unstoppable on both ends of the floor, a guy who could lay claim to being the most complete player in the game not only at his position but in the entire league. Sure, it’s fantasy land. And Rondo, by the way, is a career 48 percent shooter from the floor — though just 24 percent from deep. But you started it with the question!
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: My high school coach used to drill into us that free throws were the easiest shot in basketball. They’re the only shot where you stand completely unguarded and get 10 seconds to take a simple 15-footer. Off the top of my head I can think of several guys who could use a magic wand to fix their woes at the line, including Dwight Howard and Andre Drummond, but for the purposes of this exercise I’ll go with DeAndre Jordan. He’s shooting 45 percent on FTs so far this season, and he’s a frequent target of intentional fouls when opponents are trying to mount a comeback. If he could make just two more shots out of each 10, he’d be up over 60 percent, would bump up his points per game, would probably be more willing to do work in the post without the fear of being sent to the line, and would make the Clippers a more complete team.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: Easy one… The most intriguing thing would be to see a Rajon Rondo who can shoot off the dribble. If he can get all those assists when the defense only worries about his penetrations, what would happen if he could also make long-range shots? How could a team stop him? How many assists he would get out of pick-n-roll situations? I pick Rondo, because he is so so so good in other aspects of the game, but shoots poorly, as other superstars have a more all-around skill set.
Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: Give Blake Griffin Kevin Garnett’s mid-range shot and you’ll have one of the best power forwards ever. KG was lethal from 18 feet from the basket in his prime, and Blake is working on his shot. And with Doc Rivers keeping an eye on him, he’s getting better. The Clippers are counting on it. I don’t think Blake will ever be as lethal as KG, but if anyone can help him, Doc can.