In a recent look at the Miami Heat and their outside shooting problem, the difficulties faced by in-depth jump shot specialist Duncan Robinson were an important part of the story. Robinson went from being a starter in every game to being around the Heat’s rotation in less than three years. This is all because his three-point efficiency improved from his 44% to his 34%. Shooting is his above-average NBA skill that he has, so he should always be on point, but he’s not.
Unfortunately, in that time he has gone from a cheap young bargain to a very expensive veteran. , 40.6% 3-point shooting per game and little else), the Heat re-signed Robinson for five years and $90. His $1 million contract guaranteeing $80 million. That’s premium role player money.
A premium role player, but he’s not. While averaging 7.0 points, 2.1 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game and 37.2% shooting percentage so far this season, Robinson’s steady decline has been a year and a half. It’s been around for a long time and now it’s not always in rotation. In fact, he’s come to the point where he’s one of the worst players in the NBA right now.
Robinson has always been a limited player, but shooting was a redeeming feature. The sweet shooting stroke, plus the gravitational effect that threat had on defense, made the offensive weapon dangerous and overlooked.However, it worked because he was one of the best in the sport. It was only when I was one of his shooters. When he doesn’t, he doesn’t take a dribble, is defensively available in all kinds of matchups, is a foul waiting to happen if he gets caught in any kind of space, and wins too. A player that does not create any possessions. He’s just a specialist, and at least by the Heat’s assessment last year, it looks like he’s just a regular-season specialist.
All of this is not deliberately piling on Robinson, who tries his best. There is nothing wrong with being a specialist. of modern specialty. The 3-point explosion has taken the NBA in a whole new direction over the past decade. Robinson benefited from it and contributed even a little.
Remember, Dennis Scott set the record for most 3-pointers made in the 1995-96 season with 267. This he just beat Ray Allen’s 269 in 2005-06. For a long time that was it. In his 30-plus year history of shots, these are records, and in one season he had over 200 three-shots on sacred turf. Only in the 2012/13 season did the Stephen Curry factor begin to reset the standards. And consider that in 2019/20, even his undrafted sophomores like Duncan Robinson hit 270. A truly new game where shooting has become the new premium.
However, Robinson shows the danger of overestimating that premium. An over-taken team can end up signing a large deal with a healthy, relatively young shooter who still doesn’t feel playable, no matter how much they think highly of him these days. Robinson is not the only example.
Five years after picking him in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs have finally acquired forward Davis Bertans. He didn’t take long to adjust to the NBA, especially the 3-point line, hitting 39.9% from the outside as a rookie. In addition he 2 his season improved step by step, with a catch and shoot wing 3 and a highlight block coming out of nowhere. And in his 2018/19 season, his third season in the NBA, Bertans shot his .632 true shooting percentage with relentless efficiency. off-ball role.
Surprisingly, Bertans was salary-dumped from the Spurs to the Washington Wizards that summer, but it didn’t hurt him personally. Quite the opposite, in fact. A breakout campaign ensued, with the Latvians averaging 15.4 points per game and maintaining a .628 true shooting percentage. His game was not particularly well-balanced, but at 6’10, excellent shooting his stroke, opportunities opened up for speed and good looks, and the occasional chase down his game. there was a block. highly useful.
Like Robinson, Bertans was rewarded. Specifically, he received his $80 million over his five years, of which he was guaranteed $69 million. Yet, like Robinson, it all receded from there. The first season of his new contract saw his numbers slip across the board, including crucial three-point strokes, and he bottomed out in his second year. Bertans struggled with injuries, lost shots, lost purpose on the court, and was traded to the Dallas Mavericks as the purely financial part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Since then, Bertans has mostly been out of the rotation. So far he has played only 170 minutes in his 17 games in this campaign, his 12th-most played minutes for the team. Some nights he hits a few shots and provides a welcome injection of something off the bench. And most nights he doesn’t seem to play at all.
There are shooting specialist dangers out there. Their impact is tied to their shots, and those shots are tied to many other things. Of course, all players are prone to injury, but especially move he shooters (if the shooter isn’t a quality move shooter, NBA-level shooting he’s more than likely not a specialist). The quality of their appearance is also not something you have much control over, considering they’re not made with handles.
For a time, Bertans benefited from his youth, and the occasional hearty defensive moment allowed him both hope and anticipation for his future. All with great benefits. But in high-level sports, things are fickle – one injury, one slump, one change of circumstances, and suddenly there’s a surplus of specialists.