Scouting the Hawks: Kyle Korver

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks team-wide three point shooting presents a major threat to Indiana. The potential matchup problem comes from Atlanta being able to shoot the three from every position. The most proficient shooter for the Hawks is Kyle Korver. Not only is he the Hawks best shooter, but he led the NBA in three-point percentage at 47.2 percent, minimum 100 attempts.

The shooting guard is essential to Atlanta’s spacing; in fact, he led the Hawks in offensive rating at 105.4. Kyle Korver likes to hang out on the three-point line and get as many catch-and-shoot opportunities as possible.

Of his 12 points per game, 8.4 come from catch-and-shoot plays, per Sports VU. He is slightly better on threes when he gets to catch and shoot at 49.9 percent.

Korver will pump fake and use over-zealous close outs as a way to get inside the arc for open twos, but ultimately, he is a three-point specialist, as 64.4 percent of his field goal attempts were threes.

Korver_shot_chart_medium

For the season, Korver averaged 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 33.9 minutes. In four games against Indiana, he was slightly better at 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 34.3 minutes. He also shot better against Indiana at 64.7 percent from the field (compared to a season-long 47.5 percent), and he was 50 percent (10-of-20) from beyond the arc. The Hawks outscored the Pacers by 15 points over the four games with Korver on the court.

His best game was February 18th, where he scored 19 points on the Pacers on 7-of-10 shooting (5-of-7 on threes) and dished out five assists. So how did Korver get open looks against Indiana’s defense?

Korver_vs_ind_medium

Kyle Korver's shot chart in four games against Indiana.

Surprisingly, Korver didn’t do a lot damage from set plays or running off screens. The Pacers did a good job slowing those plays down.

One area that hurt Indiana was containing Korver after offensive rebounds. When Korver finds himself inside the arc and his teammates grab an offensive board, he immediately retreats to the three-point line.

Korver had been in the lane and actually delivered the pass to Elton Brand for the jumper. As soon as Paul Millsap corralled the board, Korver back pedaled for a three. Indiana loses him; Millsap finds him, and the ball is through the net.

Also, George Hill – for some bizarre reason – stunts at Korver and goes back to Jeff Teague. If the Pacers get to choose a Hawk to shoot an uncontested three, it should never be Korver.

Another situation that Korver gets looks is when his defender sinks into the lane to help, especially off Teague pick and rolls.

Paul George is defending Korver in the corner, and as Hill and Roy Hibbert defend the pick and roll on the opposite side of the floor, George finds himself in no man’s land. He is too far away to help on Teague, not that Hill and Hibbert need it on this play, and he isn’t close enough to Korver.

Now George’s close outs are quick, and combined with his length, he can make up for being out of position. In this example, he manages to force Korver to pump fake. George is a little out of control, and goes by Korver. But again that length helps, as he is able to force Korver into an odd shooting motion. That’s what George does.

But even with length and quickness, the small window is all Korver needs to put three points on the board.

Another area that Korver thrives in is getting transition threes. Again Paul George is defending Korver.

George sinks into the lane to help protect the basket, and it works. But the ball is kicked out to an open Korver. As in the pick-and-roll example, George shows off his close out. Korver pump fakes and goes right, and again, George does a good job of contesting the shot. But that doesn’t cut it with Korver.

This is part of the potential matchup problem for Indiana. George’s contests would normally deter a shot from going in or even going up, but Korver is special. You can’t leave him.

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