Now that the NBA All-Star break is officially upon us, our friends at Point After took a deep long look back at the week leading up to All-Star festivities and found three players (guard, wing and forward/center) in the midst of their worst shooting slumps. Perhaps some much-needed rest will end their cold streaks, but one player is set to play in the All-Star Game. See which three literally skittered into the All-Star weekend leaving bricks in their wake.
With the 2016 NBA All-Star break now officially upon us, fans can reflect on pre-All-Star play, look forward to what will (or won’t) happen at the trade deadline and mull whether the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs will win the title.
Interestingly, one of the three is poised to suit up in the All-Star game (deservedly or not).
Note: Statistics in this article cover games between Feb. 5-11.
Guard: Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets
Patrick Beverley hobbled into the All-Star break after tweaking his left ankle during a 116-103 loss at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. After the game head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of his Rockets, “We’re broken. It’s that simple.”
Now that he’s nursing a sore ankle, Beverley won’t be able to defend his title in the All-Star Skills Challenge. Instead, Denver Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will replace him.
Beverley’s rough week was a microcosm of Houston’s disastrous season. The former second-round pick suited up in three games (all losses) and finished 7-of-24 shooting (29.2 percent).
The bulk of Beverley’s woes occurred beyond the arc, as he missed 12 consecutive threes over Houston’s last three contests. The only three he made was a useless triple with 21 seconds left against Portland, which gave the Rockets 103 points rather than 100 in a 13-point loss.
Wing: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
In addition to lamenting that his Los Angeles Lakers “suck” during his farewell tour, Kobe Bryant said after Wednesday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, “The best I can do is to go out and play even though physically I feel like crap.”
Despite feeling “like crap” physically, the 37-year-old still managed to jack up 69 shots in three Laker losses this week. He converted just 29 percent of them.
After playing 33 minutes in each of those three losses, Bryant is set to suit up for the final All-Star game of his career. Don’t be surprised if the veteran keeps chucking in pursuit of All-Star Game MVP honors — even though his field goal percentage this season sits comfortably at a career low.
Forward/Center: Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings
Omri Casspi’s in the midst of a breakout season with the floundering Sacramento Kings. He was scorching hot through November and December, and solid in January, but the 27-year-old Israeli has lost his shooting touch in February.
Dating back to Feb. 5 (four games), the veteran small forward shot just 15-of-41 from the floor (36.6 percent).
Though Casspi has cashed a career-best 42.2 percent of his three-pointers overall this season (No. 9 out of all qualified players), he couldn’t buy a bucket from beyond the arc this week. As the visualization above shows, the 6-foot-9 swingman made just 18.8 percent of his triples above the break.
All told, the former first-round pick went 4-of-18 shooting from distance — 22.2 percent, well below his season average.
Casspi has made a case for the league’s Most Improved Player award, but if his February cold streak extends beyond the All-Star break, he’ll have no shot against Will Barton or C.J. McCollum.