Kyle Korver, All-Star.
Who knew this could be a bad thing?
Well, who knows if it was really a bad thing, or no thing at all, but the truth of it is that, since the All-Star game, and really, February in general, Kyle Korver has not been shooting very well, at least by Korver standards.
In the six games since the all-star break, per basketball-reference.com, Korver is in a deep slump, shooting 34 percent from the field overall and 32 percent from long range. In doing so, Korver has dropped below 50 percent for the season in both categories, putting his quest (or the media's quest for Korver) for a 50/50/90 FG/3PT/FT season in double jeopardy.
But the slump started in February, for the total of 11 games since the Hawks undefeated month, his percentages are 39 and 37 percent since the calendar flipped.
For visual aid on how this is occurring, behold his shot charts through January and then for February (Via StatMuse)
Gah! What happened to the corner three? Korver's troubles could be for a couple of reasons. Well, maybe more, but I am going to focus on a couple.
One is that defenses could be focusing more on Korver, making it more difficult for him to make shots. This would likely manifest itself in the number of more contested shots and more shots on the move than before. Another area could be having to shoot later in the shot clock, when desperation sets in and players have to hoist their shots up.
Fortunately, NBA Stats track this sort of thing, so we can look at the numbers before February and after, to see if this could be the reason for the slump.
First, are teams contesting his shot more?
In the games prior to the slump, Korver took 4.3% of his shots in situations classified as very tight, meaning between 0-2 feet of a defender compared to 1.1% since the slump began. Moreover, Korver wide open shots, defined as the closest defender being more than 6 feet away has gone up to 28.4% from 22.5% before. Kyle's FG% on those shots is 44%, compared to 56% before the break.
Also, Kyle has been taking about the same amount of catch and shoot shots, around 77% of his attempts, but he has made only 37% of his three point attempts in this manner, whereas he was knocking down 52% previously. Also, his amount of shots taken with zero dribbles is up since the slump began (~7FGA/game) than before.
So they aren't more contested, and he isn't shooting more on the run, so what about when he's taking the shots? He's actually been taking shots earlier in the shot clock, buy a slim margin, than previously.
With that factor(s) eliminated, what's the other area?
Fatigue, injury or regression -- or all three?
There is no way to know if the rigors of the season are catching up to Kyle but something is going on with him to force such a drastic change in his effectiveness from the outside. To date, nobody has noted anything physically wrong with Kyle, though it could be something the tight-lipped Hawks are keeping to themselves, if it be the case.
Some of it can be simple regression -- after all, nobody was doing what Kyle was doing, as late in the season as he was doing it, ever, so it stands to reason that he would have to come back to the pack a little bit by the end of the campaign.
Still, it would not be a big surprise if the stat-aware Hawks have noticed this as well about Korver and will give him some extra rest coming up, especially with a compressed schedule for March. Thursday's game with the Cavs is likely safe, but Coach Bud will likely see Korver rest for Saturday against the Sixers, giving him an additional day off before they do five games in eight days.