VIDEO: Patrick Beverley talks after the Rockets’ win over Miami
By Ben Leibowitz, Special to NBA.com
With NBA All-Star 2016 in the books and the post-All-Star break schedule not quite here yet, it’s a great time to reflect upon pre-All-Star play. We can look forward to what will (or won’t) happen at the trade deadline and mull whether the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs will win the title.
For players entering the break in the midst of shooting slumps, it can be a time to recharge with some much needed rest to get in the right state of mind. The PointAfter team found three players (guard, wing and forward/center) who skittered into All-Star weekend laying bricks in their wake.
Interestingly, one of the three is poised to suit up in the All-Star game (deservedly or not).
Note: Statistics in this article cover games between Feb. 5-11.
Guard: Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets
Beverley hobbled into the All-Star break after tweaking his left ankle during a 116-103 loss at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. After the game, coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of his Rockets: “We’re broken. It’s that simple.”
As a result of that sore ankle, Beverley couldn’t defend his title in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and was replaced in the contest by Denver Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.
Beverley’s rough week was a microcosm of Houston’s disastrous season. The former second-round pick suited up in three games (all losses) and finished 7-of-24 shooting (29.2 percent).
The bulk of Beverley’s woes occurred beyond the arc, as he missed 12 consecutive threes over Houston’s last three contests. The only trey he made was a useless triple with 21 seconds left against Portland, which gave the Rockets 103 points rather than 100 in a 13-point loss.
Wing: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
In addition to lamenting that his Lakers “suck” during his farewell tour, Bryant said after Wednesday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, “The best I can do is to go out and play even though physically I feel like crap.”
Despite feeling “like crap” physically, the 37-year-old still managed to jack up 69 shots in three Laker losses this week. He converted just 29 percent of them.
How bad has Bryant’s shot been in 2015-16? He’s currently in the midst of a career low in that department.
Forward/Center: Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings
Casspi’s in the midst of a breakout season with the floundering Kings. He was scorching hot through November and December, and solid in January, but the 27-year-old Israeli has lost his shooting touch in February.
Dating back to Feb. 5 (four games), the veteran small forward shot just 15-of-41 from the floor (36.6 percent).
Though Casspi has cashed a career-best 42.2 percent of his three-pointers overall this season (No. 9 out of all qualified players), he couldn’t buy a bucket from beyond the arc this week. As the visualization above shows, the 6-foot-9 swingman made just 18.8 percent of his triples above the break.
All told, the former first-round pick went 4-of-18 shooting from distance — 22.2 percent, well below his season average.
Casspi has made a case for Kia Most Improved Player Award honors. If his February cold streak extends beyond the All-Star break, he’ll have no shot for the accolade against the Denver Nuggets’ Will Barton or the Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum.
Ben Leibowitz is a writer for PointAfter, a sports data aggregation and visualization website that’s part of theGraphiq network. Visit PointAfter to get all the information about NBA Players, NBA Historical Teams and dozens of other topics.