Film Study: Missing Korver

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — In a game between the league’s two best teams, the Golden State Warriors were, by far, the better of the two, beating the Atlanta Hawks 114-95.

And that’s been the case all season, really. While the two teams were just a half game apart in the standings entering Wednesday’s game, there was a big difference statistically. The Warriors led the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency, while the Hawks ranked sixth offensively and fourth defensively.

The Warriors’ lead in NetRtg (point differential per 100 possessions) over the Hawks (5.1) was larger than any No. 1 team has had over the No. 2 team in the last 37 seasons (since turnovers started being counted in 1977). The next largest margin (4.6) belonged to the 72-win, 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

Both offenses looked great in the first meeting between these two teams, won by the Hawks, 124-116. The difference on Wednesday was on the end of the floor where the Hawks shot 36 percent.

A lot of that open shots that didn’t go in the basket. In fact, you can tell the story of the two head-to-head meetings by just looking at the shooting numbers on uncontested jumpers.

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Kyle Korver’s absence on Wednesday was definitely felt in that regard. Korver has shot 52.5 percent, with an effective field-goal percentage (taking the value 3-pointers into account) of 75.6 percent on uncontested jumpers this season. Both of those marks lead the league among players who have attempted at least 100 uncontested jumpers.

But Korver’s impact on the Hawks’ offense goes well beyond the shots he takes. And it can be seen in a couple of pick-and-roll plays from Wednesday’s game.

Play 1 – Iguodala helps off Bazemore

First, here’s a Shelvin MackAl Horford pick-and-roll on the right side of the floor early in the second quarter on Wednesday. We see Andre Iguodala on the weak side, where he’s guarding Kent Bazemore (hidden in the left corner). Iguodala has his eye on the ball, focused on Horford’s roll …

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Here’s the play, where Iguodala helps off Bazemore to alter Horford’s layup attempt…


VIDEO: Play 1 – Iguodala helps

Play 2 – Holiday helps off Bazemore

Second, here’s a Jeff Teague – Horford pick-and-roll from early in the third quarter, with Justin Holiday guarding Bazemore near the top of the 3-point line …

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When we roll the play, we see Holiday leave Bazemore all alone in order to help on Horford’s roll. And Bazemore can’t make him pay.


VIDEO: Play 2 – Holiday helps

Now let’s rewind to February …

Play 3 – No help off Korver

Here’s a play from the first meeting that was similar to Play 1 above. Dennis Schroder and Horford run a pick-and-roll with Iguodala guarding Korver, who’s parked in the weak side corner …

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As Horford rolls, watch Iguodala turn his head a little bit to see where Korver is. He’s not there to help on the roll and the result is a dunk for Horford …


VIDEO: Play 3 – No help off Korver

Pretty simple stuff. When the league’s best shooter is on the floor, he’s going to make things a lot easier on his teammates. The Hawks use Korver in a lot of different ways to draw the defense’s attention. Here are a couple of examples from a November game against the Jazz …

Play 4 – Setting a screen

On the last play of the half, in semi-transition, Korver sets a sideline screen for Teague …

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Instead of switching onto Teague, Joe Ingles is looking to his right, to fight through a potential screen for Korver …

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So Teague just goes right to the basket. Watch the play here.

Play 5 – Switch = mismatch

In the middle of the third quarter Korver (blue 26) runs off a baseline screen set by Paul Millsap (blue 4), who’s being defended by Enes Kanter (red 34) …

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Instead of waiting for Alec Burks (red 10) to fight through the screen and giving Korver a second to shoot, Kanter switches out on him. That creates a mismatch underneath that Millsap takes advantage of. Watch the play here.

With Korver on the floor, the Hawks’ offense has scored 110.9 points per 100 possessions, a rate that would rank No. 1 in the league. With him off the floor, it’s scored 97.4, a rate that would rank 29th.

The Hawks have a great ensemble cast. Everybody in their starting lineup can shoot and they share the ball like no other team. But Korver’s individual impact is huge and he was sorely missed on Wednesday.

8 Comments

  1. Blake says:

    To put Cleveland above Atlanta In the power rankings Is stupid…Atlanta beat them 3-4 times..everybody Is enamored with Lebron but Atlanta knows they can beat Cleveland…we’re 8 games up on Cleveland and we’re gonna win the east…mark It down…we play team defense and share the ball…bring on Golden State…we’ve done beat them once and we can beat them in 7 games…we’ve beaten every top team In the Western conference..keep hatin’ on the Hawks…WE LOVE IT!

  2. TheKush says:

    Korvers presence on the floor changes the way teams play defense on the hawks! Korver reminds me a lot like Ray Allen because teams have to acknowledge his presence on the basketball court.

  3. harriethehawk says:

    Whatever. Let’s Go Hawks!!

  4. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Atlanta and the Warriors are the truth and they will have home court, Cavs might lose in the first round to Miami if D wade keeps playing like flash, OKC has had the last 4 years to rep the West and keep coming up short in the WCF and the Finals in 2012, They might not make the playoffs, the Bro might make his playoffs debut.

  5. dustydreamnz says:

    Why can’t the Warriors win it with the best attacking record and the best defensive record? They thrashed the Hawks who are one of the best teams without Klay Thompson…

  6. fermin says:

    The warriors don’t have what it takes to win it all. Remember Dallas in 2011, they were third in the west over all. Miami was second in the east. Dallas won. Atlanta doesn’t have it either. Oklahoma or Memphis should represent the west, even Dallas or SA. But not the warriors. I am not hating. They just don’t have what it takes.
    Atlanta is definitely not representing the east in the finals. I hate to say it but must likely Cleveland. At the end the west will prevail.

    • thurman says:

      So the reason they can’t win is because Dallas won in 2011 and they were ranked 3rd?I don’t disagree with Cleveland being the eastern conference champs but to say they don’t have what it takes even though they have the best point differential in the league since the championship bulls is ludicrous and obviously an uneducated statement.

      • lilbasegod says:

        listen yall, ppl sleep on spurs every year. just know golden state gona be bounced 1st round if okc is healthy, and watch out for another spurs versus whoever in WCF and watch out for a sweep….then watch out for a chicago spurs finals.