The 10-10-10 Club

A great post went up at CanisHoopus on Sunday. Without giving too much away, the post implores Michael Beasley to focus his considerable offensive talents on making himself into a 10-10-10 player, for the sake of efficiency. 10-10-10 doesn’t refer to a triple double but rather a player who who attempts 10 free throws and scores 10 points in the paint to go along with 10 jumpshots.

The idea was created by George Karl for a certain small forward who had a tendency to get passive offensively, relying on jumpshots instead of attacking the basket. The premise is that a player needs to “earn” the right to shoot contested jumpers by first attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. From CanisHoopus:

The 10-10-10 Rule is elegant in its simplicity. It doesn’t demand intricate playcalling. It doesn’t require hours of extra work in the gym or watching game tape. It isn’t a new philosophy or system, or an indictment that the player has been doing something wrong. It’s a challenge….one that can met by the player in his current situation playing his current system with his current teammates. All it requires is diversification.

The beauty is in its indirectness. It solves the problem without actually addressing the problem….or in many ways, even saying there is a problem. Like a river that runs around a rock, rather than through it. George Karl didn’t tell Carmelo to play better. Just play differently.

The points in the paint and free throws are the challenge piece, the difficult task for each player to accomplish. Combing the numbers from last season I found only three players (Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade) who actually accomplished it. A few others were close:

I used per 40 minute statistics instead of per game statistics to be more inclusive of players with smaller roles on their teams. The most interesting piece of this whole discussion is how many other players sprang to mind who could benefit from the same challenge. I detailed a few of them below:

Tyler Hansbrough – Indian Pacers – 8.9 FTA/40, 5.8 Pts. in the Paint/40 – Hansbrough played in only 29 games last season, suffering from vertigo brought on by a viral ear infection. Hansbrough was a foul drawing machine in college and looked like he will be able to maintain the same skill in the pros. A tough lesson that Hansbrough did learn as a rookie is that against stronger and more physical NBA front lines, he won’t be able to bull his way to the basket the same way he did in college. At times Hansbrough appeared all to eager to retreat to the elbow and settle for mid-range jumpers. This season he needs to maintain a focus on finishing on the interior in addition to drawing those fouls, and being willing to face up against slower matchups and attack the basket. It will be an adjustment but he is more than capable.

Anthony Randolph – New York Knicks – 7.3 FTA/40, 7.4 Pts. in the Paint/40 – With the move to New York, Randolph seems poised to play consistent nightly minutes in a much more prominent role (Health Permitting). Randolph is a multi-talented basketball player capable of playing center as well as both forward spots. Randolph has already displayed a propensity for drawing fouls as well as scoring in the paint. However, 42% of his shots last year were jumpshots from 10 feet and out. Before Randolph makes that a consistent part of his offensive arsenal he could benefit from firmly establishing himself inside and pushing his FTA/40 and Points in the Paint/40 above 10.

Danny Granger – Indiana Pacers – 7.5 FTA/40, 5.8 Pts. in the Paint/40 – Granger is another player who fits this mold perfectly. He gets to the free throw line at a very respectable rate, but relies heavily on his 3PT shot. The percentage of his shots which have come from behind the 3PT line has increased in each of the last 4 seasons (33.1% – 35.0% – 35.1% – 38.5%). Granger is a very good 3PT shooter, and his long range shooting is a legitimate weapon. He has made strides developing his post and dribble drive games. Continuing that focus on increasing his scoring close to the basket will make him a more dangerous offensive player, open better looks from behind the 3PT line, and make the Pacers a more efficient team.

Kris Humphries – New Jersey Nets – 6.4 FTA/40, 5.6 Pts. in the Paint/40 – Humphries is a player with a lot of similarities to Tyler Hansbrough. Both were dominant power players in college who found the physical advantages they often relied on not quite as distinct in the NBA. Humphries has been underwhelming in the preseason, but has the opportunity to earn increased minutes this season in New Jersey with Troy Murphy’s back injury and Derrick Favors blatant rawness. 32% of Humphries’ shots in New Jersey last season were of the 16-23ft. jumper variety. He is a capable jumpshooter, but he and the Nets would be much better off in looking for a way to keep him moving and find him scoring opportunities at the rim.

Hakim Warrick – Phoenix Suns – 7.2 FTA/40, 7.7 Pts. in the Paint/40 – Warrick was brought in by the Suns, in part, to help fill the void left by Amare Stoudemire’s departure for New York. Warrick split time between Chicago and Milwaukee last season and did a relatively good job of finding his offense close to the basket. However, he has had stretches in his career where he has fallen in love with his jumpshot. There will be plenty of available jumpshots in Phoenix’s offense and it will be important for Warrick to find a balance, remembering what he does best offensively.

Luol Deng – Chicago Bulls – 5.0 FTA/40, 5.6 Pts. in the Paint/40 – A whopping 46% of Deng’s shot attempts last season were 16-23ft. jumpers. For an offensive which struggled with efficiency last season it’s important that Deng finds a way to diversify his offensive attack this season. Deng may not have the isolation, shot-creation chops of Carmelo Anthony, but he is very capable of finishing at the basket. The solution may be finding ways to keep him in motion and have his points in the paint come on cuts to the basket as well as in transition. The addition of Carlos Boozer, an excellent passer out of the high post, should only help Deng find more opportunities close to the basket.

Caron Butler – Dallas Mavericks – 4.5 FTA/40, 3.8 Pts. in the Paint/40 – Caron Butler arrived in Dallas mid-season and displayed a tendency to be a ball stopper on offense, often settling for contested jumpers out of isolation situations. Since 2009 Butler’s Points in the Paint per 40, have declined from 6.0 to 3.8, his FTA/40 have declined from 6.2 to 4.5 and the percentage of his shot attempts which are long jumpers has risen from 35% to 45%. For a player like Butler, with such a distinct strength advantage over most of his opponents it’s frustrating to watch him settle repeatedly for outside jumpers. He is a more than capable jumpshooter, but returning to his roots as a power slasher and finding more opportunities at the rim could make for a much more effective season.

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