We’re moving into the regular season and continuing with our Expected Scoring player profiles. Today we’ll be looking at the Sacramento Kings’ Carl Landry.
If you’ve missed my other posts on the subject, Expected Points uses a player’s FGA from each area of the floor and multiplies it by the average number of points scored on that type of shot to come up with an Expected Point total from that area. The Expected Point total can than be compared to the actual number of points a player scored from that area to arrive at a Point Differential. This point differential is an expression of how a player shot compared to the league average, but I like that the comparison is drawn with actual point totals. The average values of shots by location that I use (At Rim – 1.208, <10ft. – 0.856, 10-15ft. – 0.783, 16-23ft. – 0.801, 3PT – 1.081, FT – 0.759) were calculated by Albert Lyu of ThinkBlueCrew.
Landry was a 2nd round gem, discovered by the front office of the Houston Rockets. Despite lacking ideal size for the power forward position, Landry showed himself to be a highly effective scorer and rebounder, using his bruising strength and surprisingly soft touch to beat up on opposing front-lines. After two and a half seasons in Houston, the Rockets sent him to Sacramento as part of the multi-team trade which helped them acquire Kevin Martin.
Landry arrived in Sacramento with the promise of more minutes and touches, hoping to fill their rather large post scoring void. It took a little while to adjust in Sacramento, but he finished the season strong. Over this summer the Kings acquired Samuel Dalembert from Philadelphia and drafted DeMarcus Cousins from the University of Kentucky. Pairing these two with Landry and Jason Thompson starts to make the Kings frontcourt look a little crowded. That being said Landry has been playing 32.3 minutes per game so far this season and has been earning every minute of playing time with his production on the floor.
Here are his traditional stats (per 40 minutes) from his last two seasons (2010 was split between Sacramento and Houston) and the 2010-2011 season through 3 games:
With the Kings’ additional big men, Landry has been playing less with his back to the basket and pushing out as more of a face up power forward this season. This clearly shows in his rebounding, assist and turnover numbers. However, he is still scoring at a strong rate with a terrific FG%.
Let’s now break down his scoring efficiency in a little more depth. Below is a table showing Landry’s Expected Points, Actual Points and Point Differential for each area of the floor from the last two seasons and through the first 3 games of this season (all numbers are per 40 minutes). If you prefer a spreadsheet to the embedded table photo, here is the link.
The first thing that jumps out is what a terrific finisher Landry is at the rim. He has scored at least 1 point per 40 minutes more than expected on shots at the rim in the last two seasons, and the pattern has continued so far this season. The other thing worth noting is how Landry’s point differential on mid and long-range jumpshots has increased steadily since the beginning of 2010 in Houston. Through three games Landry is averaging 2.56 more points per 40 than expected on jumpshots from 10-23ft. While the high rate at which he is making these shots will likely level out of the course of the season, the steady improvement over the last year is cause for optimism.
As exciting as the increase in his jumpshooting has been, the steady decline in his Point Differential on free throws is just as troubling. He certainly has the potential to be better, as he was a consistent 80% free throw shooter in Houston. Figuring out his issues there can really help him maximize his scoring efficiency potential.
Landry has consistently been an efficient scorer, posting a Point Differential of nearly 2.0 for each of his full or part seasons in Houston. Through three games this season his overall Point Differential is a terrific 2.64. However, I worry that his early success with his jumpshot this season may be reinforcing some bad habits.
His jumpshooting efficiency will likely level off this season, but his ability as an above average scorer at the rim should remain at it’s very high level. The problem is that he’s progressively moving away from the rim and taking a far higher percentage of his shots away from the basket. Landry never averaged more than 2.8 FGA/40 on 16-23ft. jumpshots in Houston. During his time in Sacramento last season he averaged 5.1 FGA/40 on 16-23ft. jumpshots, and this season he is averaging an astonishing 8.2 FGA/40 from that distance. Landry averaged roughly 7.2 FGA/40 at the rim in Houston, so far this season that number is down to 4.5. In addition, his free throw rate has fallen from 0.46 during his last full season in Houston to 0.26 so far this season.
It is terrific to see a young player develop and I applaud Landry for finding a way to be efficient in diversifying his offensive game. That being said, I hope he doesn’t lose sight of what earned him a roster spot and significant minutes in the first place, his ability to score tough points in the paint. With Cousins, Dalembert and Thompson, the Kings may not need his post scoring in the same way they did in the past. However, I would hope the Kings’ coaching staff will work to instill in Landry an honest assessment of his abilities. When the inevitable shooting slump comes, I hope they can provide the right feedback and create opportunities for him to get back into the paint.