Commentary

Hollinger's PER Diem: Nov. 19, 2008

If there was an All-Star team of players who are far too aggressive, Russell Westbrook would be its starting point guard, John Hollinger writes.

Updated: November 19, 2008, 1:49 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com

Let's talk about bad shots for a bit. I watched last night's Dallas-Charlotte game, and it was a pretty miserable one for the Bobcats. They fell behind 15-love after failing to score in the first 6:40, trailed by as many as 25, and didn't get within single digits at any time in the game's final 43 minutes, losing 100-83.

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The closest they came to threatening was when they cut the lead from 23 to 16 late in the third quarter, at which time reserve guard Shannon Brown fired a quick, contested 3-point jumper that missed badly and triggered a Mavs break for a Jason Terry layup the other way.

And that, in a nutshell, has been Brown's problem his whole brief career -- he's a quick, fairly athletic guard, but he tries to do far too much at the offensive end, given his skill level. Last night he took eight shots in 19 minutes; for his career he shoots 37.1 percent, and yet has averaged a shot every 2.3 minutes.

Charlotte fans might be surprised to find me picking on the lad, considering he's been more accurate this season than in the past and, thus far, that's made him one of the Bobcats' few effective bench players. But it's shots like the one in the late third quarter that have consistently been his nemesis, and if his shooting percentage reverts to its historical trend I suspect that will be the reason.

At any rate, Brown's example got me thinking: Who are the other players who do this? In other words, could we make an All-Star team of players who are far too aggressive for their talent level? A Please-Stop-Shooting-So-Much All-Star team, if you will? In addition to Brown, here's what I came up with:

Point guard, Russell Westbrook, Thunder:

An obvious choice for Insider readers, as I pointed out the other day in the Gems that he has an incredibly high usage rate -- only Tony Parker's is higher among point guards -- even though he's shooting 31.3 percent and has one of the highest turnover ratios at his position. It's nice that he can create shots at such a young age, but he needs to dial it way back until he has a better idea of what he's doing and a more accurate stroke.

Shooting guard, Flip Murray, Hawks:

Murray ranked ninth in the league in usage rate last season while posting a lowly 48.2 true shooting percentage (TS%). The eight players who used more possessions were All-Stars; Murray was waived at midseason. This season he's making more of his shots in the early going, but using possessions at nearly the same clip; the only difference is that on an Atlanta bench devoid of scoring punch, it might not be such a bad idea to have him chuck up as many shots as he can.

Small forward, Yakhouba Diawara, Heat:

Few players have shot as readily with as little encouragement in the form of results. A career 30 percent 3-point shooter, Diawara has already hoisted 24 of them in just 98 minutes for the Heat this season, converting eight. Highlighting his iffy outside stroke appears to be a conscious choice -- he's only taken four shots from inside the arc. It's not like he's a work in progress either: At 26 years old, this is about as good as it gets for him.

Power forward, Charlie Villanueva, Bucks:

A decent shooter who seems convinced he's Reggie Miller, Villanueva keeps launching away from outside despite middling-at-best accuracy. This season he's only redoubled his efforts, ranking third among power forwards in usage rate while shooting just 37.9 percent. For his career he takes 2.4 3-pointers a game, accounting for nearly a quarter of his shot attempts, but makes only 31.8 percent.

Center, Jermaine O'Neal, Raptors:

O'Neal continues to put up shots as though he's the player he was in 2002, rather than the player he is today. Last season he ranked fourth among centers in usage rate despite a poor TS% and a high turnover ratio; this season he's on pace for virtually identical numbers, even though his shooting has bottomed out at 41.4 percent.

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.