The Pulse of the NBA

2:25 PM, Nov 29, 2012   |    comments
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New York, NY (Sports Network) - Five shooting guards were among the fourteen lottery selections in the 2012 draft, and besides having the same position in common, they all unfortunately share the fact that it's been a struggle in the early going. Let's take a look at each player:


The former Florida guard was selected third overall by the Washington Wizards and was the first shooting guard taken in the draft.

Beal's stroke was considered so good that he drew comparisons to one of the greatest shooters of all time in Ray Allen. But so far, the word that comes to mind when I think of Beal right now is "bricklayer".

In 13 games, he's shooting just 32.6 percent from the field, which includes awful performances where he shot 0-for-5, 1-for-11 and 3-of-14 from the floor. It seems to me that a lack of confidence is Beal's biggest problem with his shooting stroke, and it's not unusual to see this in a first-year player. Just ask Jimmer Fredette, one of the greatest shooters in college basketball in recent memory, who shot an abysmal 38.6 percent in his rookie season in 2011-12 with the Sacramento Kings.


Confidence has never been a problem for Waiters, who was selected right after Beal by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some might even consider him cocky.

But we've only seen flashes where that confidence has led to high-level performances. The highlight of his season so far came in his fourth game, when he scored 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 7-of-11 from downtown, in the Cavs' win over the Clippers in Los Angeles.

Since that contest, the former Syracuse guard has mainly struggled with his shot, which is a part of his game which needs work and wasn't considered a strength coming out of college.

Over the last eleven games, Waiters is shooting just 34 percent from the floor and 31 percent from the 3-point range.

In addition to his shooting struggles, Waiters is settling for too many jump shots, and not using his breakdown ability to get into the paint and also the chance to get to the foul line more often. He's averaging just over five 3- point attempts per game, but is only getting to the line 2.6 times.


It was a bit of a surprise when the Toronto Raptors selected the University of Washington guard with the eighth overall pick. For one, he was not projected to go that high, and the Raptors already had a young shooting guard in DeMar DeRozan.

After seeing sporadic playing time over the first three weeks of the season, Ross has gotten more consistent minutes lately, but with the exception of one good shooting performance (9-for-17) in a blowout loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, Ross has struggled with his shot like the rest of the lottery shooting guards. He's hitting 41.5 percent from the field and just 27.8 percent from downtown.

But beyond his shooting struggles, I have a problem with the fact that Ross' two free throw attempts in last night's loss in Memphis were his first attempts of the season. But this shouldn't be a surprise, since Ross isn't too good at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the line. He averaged just 1.8 free throw attempts in his two seasons at Washington.

And with his inability to create his own shot, he's not going to do much in terms of creating shots for his teammates.

It's not exactly the talent I'd be looking for with the eighth pick of the draft.


To say that the game hasn't been flowing for Rivers is probably an understatement.

The former Duke guard, who was selected 10th overall by the New Orleans Hornets, has simply been awful so far. He's shooting 31.9 percent from the floor, and has had three games in which he failed to score from the field.

His poor play eventually led to coach Monty Williams' decision to remove Rivers from the starting lineup in favor of Roger Mason, Jr.

"I don't want to get inside of his head," Williams said, "but I do know that young guys who have had a great deal of success on other levels feel it will be a bit easier when they get here and when it's not, then there may be some pressing going."

If Rivers can eventually relax, don't expect him to be a dead-eye shooter, because he never has been. He was a 70 percent foul shooter in his senior year in high school and shot just 65.8 percent in his one season at Duke. In his brief pro career, he's shooting 66.7 percent, hitting 22-of-33 from the line.


The former Connecticut star was originally drafted by the Houston Rockets with the twelfth overall pick, and then was traded prior to the start of the season to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the deal that landed James Harden in Houston.

Unlike the four shooting guards selected before him Lamb is seeing very little floor time.

He's appeared in only eight of the Thunder's 16 games, and is averaging 2.1 points in just 4.3 minutes per game, while shooting 33.3 percent from the field.

This season will be a lot about watching and learning for Lamb, but he should get a pretty good education being around and practicing with the likes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Although, Lamb was sent down to the D- League on Thursday to work on his game.

I thought based on Lamb's skill set, his production, and the fact that he was a vital part of an NCAA championship team, that he should have been drafted higher, and I still believe he has a legitimate shot at being the best shooting guard in his draft.


One of the unsung heroes in the Brooklyn Nets' quick start is Reggie Evans. The backup power forward has been a monster off the boards. He's pulling down 8.6 rebounds in just 19.5 minutes per game, but has the top per-48 minute average in the league at 21.1.

"He reminds me of a young Dennis Rodman," said Shaquille O'Neal on TNT after the Nets beat the Clippers last Friday. "He gets every rebound, doesn't want to shoot and doesn't want to score."

Evans incredible board work comes despite the fact that he readily admits his lack of fundamentals and athleticism.

"I'm not the best box out person; I can't jump as high," Evans said. "So you gotta use your head and just go get it and stuff like that. I'm not the best person you want to look at if you want to know the fundamentals of rebounding."

After losing at home to the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night in a game marred by a second quarter scrum that led to the ejections of Rajon Rondo, Kris Humphries, and Gerald Wallace, Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't mince any words in describing his team's play this season.

The stats clearly back Rivers' take on his team. The Celtics are last in the league in rebounding (37.1 per game), 26th in opponents field goal percentage (45.9 percent), and 22nd in opponents points (99.7 per game).

Dwight Howard has always been a terrible foul shooter, but he's gotten markedly worse since last season.

Prior to his last year in Orlando, Howard was a career 59.8 percent foul shooter. But last season he shot 49.1 percent and so far with the Lakers he's at 47.8 percent.

His 3-for-12 performance from the line on Tuesday was a big reason why the Lakers lost at home to the Pacers, 79-77. Two of those misses came with 57 seconds left and Los Angeles down by one.

With Howard's foul shooting at an all-time low, nobody will be surprised if he costs the Lakers a playoff game if he continues to be this bad.

As a matter of fact, Lakers' fans got a taste of how costly Howard's free throw shooting can be in the 2009 NBA Finals when the Lakers played the Magic. With Orlando having a chance to tie the series at two, Howard went to the line in game 4 with an opportunity to ice the game with 11 seconds left with the Magic holding a three-point lead. But he missed both attempts and Derek Fisher hit a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime where the Lakers eventually prevailed and took a 3-1 stranglehold on the series. Howard finished 5-of-12 from the line in that critical loss.

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