VIDEO: Jeremy Lin dominates against Spurs
By Will Laws, Special to NBA.com
For the fans who have tuned into the NCAA Tournament more than the NBA of late, they are missing out on some stellar shooting performances from players determined to improve their team’s playoff positioning.
As the regular season winds down, each of those efforts seems to matter more than the last.
PointAfter breaks down the three hottest shooters of the week with interactive visualizations.
Note: All weekly statistics cover games between March 18-24.
Guard: Jeremy Lin, Charlotte Hornets
Jeremy Lin has had a pretty poor shooting season, posting field goal percentages below league-average in six of PointAfter’s seven shooting zones (the right corner being the lone exception). But he improved this week, even if his seven-day shot chart shows he still can’t drive effectively to his left very well.
Note: You can hover over each shooting zone to see Lin’s stats compared to the league average.
The clear standout performance from Lin came in Charlotte’s stunning win against the Spurs, which saw the Hornets rebound from a pitiful seven-point first quarter to win 91-88. Lin sparked that remarkable comeback, converting 11-of-18 shots (4-of-4 from beyond the arc) for 29 points, including 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Lin averaged 22.3 points in three games this week as Charlotte has won 17 of its last 21 games to solidify its standing in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Wing: Tim Hardaway Jr., Atlanta Hawks
Like the Hornets, the Atlanta Hawks have also gotten hot down the stretch to climb up the Eastern Conference standings. And they’re getting major contributions someone who played in just four of the team’s first 35 games.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has shown why the Hawks traded their first-round pick in the 2015 Draft to acquire him. After showing development on the defense since a month-long NBA D-League stint, Hardaway has evidently been granted the green light from downtown.
And why not? He’s sunk 49 percent of his 3-pointers in March, and canned 11-of-20 treys in Atlanta’s three games this week to average 16.7 points on 60 percent shooting overall. His seven-day shot chart epitomizes the club’s preference for shots at the rim and from beyond the arc.
Hardaway’s recent hot streak has kept the Hawks rolling even though a bruised knee has limited Kent Bazemore lately. His emergence will let coach Mike Budenholzer mix and match more aggressively down the stretch to give Bazemore and others some late-season rest.
Forward/Center: Marcus Morris, Detroit Pistons
Detroit’s trade for Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and the since-released Danny Granger with Phoenix (that only cost the Pistons a 2020 second-round pick) was one of the offseason’s best under-the-radar moves. The Suns dumped this trio in an ill-fated quest to sign LaMarcus Aldridge, and gifted the Pistons a starting stretch-four in the process.
Morris has responded well to the increased usage in Detroit this season, providing it with spacing that long eluded during the Josh Smith–Greg Monroe days. In fact, the Pistons’ offensive rating has been nearly five points better with Morris on the floor.
The streaky Morris has sizzled of late, shooting 63.4 percent overall, 76.5 percent on 3-pointers and 66.7 percent on free throws in Detroit’s four games this week. The Pistons were undefeated in those games, putting more space between themselves and the No. 9-seeded (and swooning) Chicago Bulls.
This story was published by PointAfter (https://basketball-players.pointafter.com/stories/11962/nba-hottest-shooters-jeremy-lin-marcus-morris), a partner of NBA.com.
Will Laws is a writer for PointAfter, a sports data aggregation and visualization website that’s part of the Graphiq network. Visit PointAfter to get all the information about NBA players, NBA historical teams and dozens of other topics.