Inside Damian Lillard’s unusual slump, and how he could bounce back
The good news is Lillard bounced back from those previous slumps and was just fine. Buy 9 Vucevic NBA Jerseys, In 2016, just after that stretch, Lillard helped the Blazers defeat the LA Clippers for a playoff series win Buy Chicago Bulls NBA Jerseys, . So it’s certainly plausible this is the same thing and no further explanation is neede Cheap Stitched NBA Jerseys, d.
I’m encouraged by the fact Second Spectrum tracking data doesn’t suggest a dramatic change in Lillard’s shot quali Discount NBA Jerseys Free Shipping, ty. His quantified shot quality (qSQ), which measures the expected eFG% for an average shooter on the same kind of attempts, has dropped only modestly from 48.6% in 2020-21 to 48.1% so far this season. His actual eFG% has dropped from 55.4% to 41%, indicating the issue is shot-making rather than getting good shots.
Based on that, we can mostly rule out officiating as a primary factor, much as we did with James Harden in last week’s mailbag. Even secondary effects of Lillard having less space to operate on the perimeter without defenders as fearful of a shooting foul don’t seem to have affected his shots much.
The change in basketball providers is a plausible explanation for the change in Lillard’s shot-making but not the only one. My colleague Seth Partnow of The Athletic wrote earlier this week that the leaguewide 3-point percentage (34.3% through Wednesday’s games, down from 36.7% in 2020-21) actually isn’t out of line with what is typical early in the season.
Using Second Spectrum data, we can get more granular. Accuracy on both pull-up 3s and catch-and-shoot 3s is about 95% of what it was during the full 2020-21 season. However, accuracy on deep 3s (from 25 to 40 feet) is only 90% of what it was, declining from 35% in 2020-21 to 31.4% so far in 2021-22 — the worst at this stage of the season since 2015-16, when these shots were attempted less than half as frequently.
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