I already know from Twitter that my take on the topic of this post puts me on an island with a few other fans, while the rest laugh and point from the mainland. That’s fine because I’m reasonably confident in my opinion that Wilson Chandler is a mediocre offensive player. Worse than Al Harrington. Worse than Jamal Crawford. He’s about average.
And here is where all of you who have been seduced in the first three games of this nascent season by Wil’s pretty drives, his pretty looking shot (that doesn’t go in), and his high point totals through three games, call me an idiot.
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I don’t have anything against Wilson. I’ll give him credit for playing an outstanding floor game. His rebounding and defense were very, very good.
But his offense is mediocre because it is so inefficient. Consider this split through the first 3 games:
2 pointers: 22/41 (53.7%)
3 pointers: 5/19 (26.3%)
Wilson leads the team in three point attempts yet he is an abysmal shooter from beyond the arc. Consider many of these attempts wasted possessions for the Knicks. Who should shoot instead? Anybody. Hell, Wilson should shoot it but he should drive it since he is so adept at getting to the rack. And if he completely eschews the 3 pointer it wouldn’t necessarily make him an efficient scorer.
This is because even though he is such an excellent slasher, he somehow never finds himself at the line. For someone who can get to the bucket at will it is remarkable that he only averages 2 free throws a game. The end result is that, as has been the case throughout his career, he is averaging about as many field goal attempts as points (in fact this year, so far, he is averaging more shots than points). That’s not good.
Someone on Twitter tried to tell me that Kevin Durant is less efficient than Wilson because Durant is shooting 37.5% from the field and Wil is shooting 45%. Yet despite taking roughly the same amount of shots per game, Durant is somehow averaging 10 more points per game than Wil. How is it possible that Durant has shot so much worse from the field, taken the same amount of shots, yet scores ten more points? Efficiency.
Ok, that’s Kevin Durant. How about a more meaningful example?
I know it is fashionable right now to kill Danilo Gallinari because he has been so putrid this year. But putting this year aside, Gallinari is a very good example of a player who is much more efficient than Chandler.
Last year, despite shooting 6% worse from the field, and taking 2 less shots than Chandler per game, Gallinari matched him in production. Why? Danilo shot 12% better from the arc and took and hit roughly one more foul shot per game than Wil did.
Another example is Corey Maggette, who is a classic slasher. Last year Maggette and Chandler each took about 13 shots per game. Yet somehow Maggette averaged 20 points while Chandler averaged 15. Why? Because a slasher is supposed to get to the line and forgo 3s and that is exactly what Maggette, with his Duke pedigree, did. He took 8 foul shots a game and averaged 0.7 threes per game, since he knew that his team would be better served if it came away with points when he shot the rock.
Look, Chandler saved the day in Toronto and he picked the Knicks up by their scruffs last night at the Garden against the Blazers. But what I’m trying to say is that he didn’t do anything offensively in either game that Jamal Crawford (16 shots/21 pts per 36 mins) or Al Harrington (17 shots/21 pts per 36 minutes) didn’t do better last year.
So, what’s my point anyway? It’s this: don’t get on D’Antoni because Chandler is coming off the bench. That’s the right role for him. He’s a volume scorer and a spark plug. When you need a boost because your offense is stagnant, he might be able to score some points in rapid succession. But compared to Landry Fields or Danilo Gallinari (if he ever snaps out of his slump), he wastes possessions. My other point is this: Don’t be seduced by high point totals and a flashy looking game. Volume scoring can only get you part of the way to where you need to go. But you can’t rely on it to win you games.