Wednesday night ended a rather impressive streak of mine. A bad pretzel bought at the Cincinnati airport led to my first sacrifice to the porcelain god since 1993. Tonight, my son decided to follow suit as he booted up his blueberries and grape juice. I'll spare you the gory details, but let me just say that I have the most awesome wife in the world and I was also very lucky that she bore the brunt (as in all) of the action while I stood idly by.
Anyway, why am I telling you about this? Well, throwing up is unfortunately on the brain (as well as my carpet) tonight. In honor of the Ruby stomachs, I decided to take a look at the league leaders in field goal attempts and determine who shouldn't be throwing it up quite so much.
First off, the guys you would expect are at the very top. Kobe, Carmelo, D-Wade, Dirk, LeBron, etc. Monta Ellis is a bit of a surprise at #3 (21.2 attempts per game), but he has been expected to take on a larger role in the offense this year, and he has delivered. All of the aforementioned names are shooting over 45|PERCENT| from the field this year, with the exception of Wade (43.3). I'd like to see Wade a little higher, but he's really had to carry Miami this year - he's not getting much help. I can live with 43|PERCENT|, but I hope he can improve (history says he will - he's never shot below 46.5|PERCENT| in a season).
It's at the bottom of the top ten where things get a little dicey. Danny Granger is eighth at 18.7 FGA/g, Brandon Jennings is ninth at 18.4, and Gilbert Arenas comes next at 18.2. All three are shooting below 42|PERCENT|. Also in the top 20 and shooting below 42|PERCENT| are Rodney Stuckey, Trevor Ariza, Stephen Jackson, and Vince Carter. Should these guys be shooting?
Ok, no one's going to tell Granger, Arenas, and Carter to stop shooting. Those guys are scorers, though there are other options in Washington. Agent Zero, I love you, but you don't have to take every shot. Granger isn't even playing right now, but he's expected to lead that offense. Vince is just Vince. Hey, Rashard Lewis is open!
Even Stephen Jackson can be excused a little, as there aren't a lot of other offensive options on Charlotte (he's averaging 17.9 FGA/g for the Bobcats as opposed to 14.9 with the Warriors before he got traded). Still, what's the deal with Jennings, Stuckey, and Ariza?
Jennings, like Jackson, is on a team without a lot of offensive options. It hasn't helped that Michael Redd has missed most of the season. Jennings has picked up the slack and has kept Milwaukee around .500 this year. His shot selection, especially from inside the arc, has been shaky at best over the last month, but his production overall has been very good. He is not just getting empty points - he is contributing in nearly every fantasy category. At 51-for-117, Jennings is hitting an excellent 43.6|PERCENT| on his treys this year. Unfortunately, the two-pointers are at an abysmal 126-for-307 (41.0|PERCENT|). If he improves in that area, look out.
Stuckey has also had to pick up the slack with Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince both limited to three games apiece this season, but it's still surprising that he's been such a huge part of the Detroit offense nonetheless. He seems like he'd be a good complimentary player, but with defenses focused on stopping him, he can't get his shot to fall. If he's ever on the court with Hamilton, Prince, and notorious ballhog Ben Gordon, I doubt he'll have as many problems with his stroke, as he'll be able to get more open shots. By the way, Gordon is averaging just 20.4 shot attempts/48 minutes this season, the lowest figure of his career.
The last guy I want to talk about is Trevor Ariza, who is actually the most interesting name on the list. Not only is his field goal percentage (38.3|PERCENT|) the lowest of all of the top 20 guys, but he's also the only one not leading his team in scoring. (One guess as to who is leading Houston. Time's up. It's Aaron Brooks. I didn't believe it either.). Ariza was expected to shoulder a big part of the offense this year, but so far it looks like he's not the right man for the job. Teammates Luis Scola and Carl Landry are both shooting well north of 50|PERCENT| from the field, for example. Obviously, not all shots are created equally. Scola and Hayes make their living in the paint, while Ariza has thrown up an astounding 156 three-pointers in 24 games, which will obviously hurt his percentage. Still, Scola and Hayes make their shots, both from the field and the line. Perhaps Ariza should consider dumping it down low the next time he wants to chuck something up.