Busy day today, so not much blogging. Sorry.
A solid debut article from new Truth About It contributor docfunk argues that Caron Butler needs to shoot more shots in order for the Wizards to have a better chance at victory. He tracks the team's won-loss record for the past three years when Caron shoots more than 20 shots and finds the team has been very successful when that happens. He does the same for Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison and finds the relationship isn't quite as positive.
The title of the article is "Why Butler Should Shoot As Much as Arenas," but we have to be careful to not read that as meaning "Butler should steal Arenas' shots only." Arenas is the best player on the team and tends to be more efficient when he shoots more, so stealing too many of Arenas' shots isn't a good idea. My takeaway instead is that Butler should be taking more shots away from other guys, namely, Antawn Jamison. As docfunk writes.
Antawn Jamison, despite being the leading scorer in Arenas’ absence, doesn’t have quite as beneficial of an impact with a higher volume as Tuff Juice. Specifically in the 2006-07 season (with Arenas), Jamison’s shot volume has no bearing on wins and losses.
This, combined with bwoods' latest research which suggests Jamison's efficiency goes down when he takes more shots, indicates that if Butler is going to take shots from anyone it should be Antawn.
But of course, the real interesting question to ask in light of docfunk's post is how to get Butler to take 20 shots a game. Longtime readers here have probably been aware of my past frustrations with Butler's inability to use as many possessions as he could. Here's a post I wrote about Butler's usage early in 2008 that in particular drives home this frustration of sorts. There was also that absolutely frustrating game in Detroit earlier last year when Butler took four shots despite nobody else being able to score on the Pistons.
We also have to keep in mind that Butler isn't shooting a ton of free throws for somebody that we'd want to get 20 shots. In 2007/08, without Arenas, Butler shot just 4.1 FT/36 minutes, and last year, while his average was up to 5.6/36, Butler's turnover rate rose to 14.3%. 20 shots is great, but as we all know, the making of an elite scorer is how often he gets to the free throw line and gets cheap points there. 20 mid-range jump shots isn't all that efficient.
The point is, while getting Butler 20 shots should be a goal, we have to keep in mind that he has limitations that prevent him from just shooting 20 times so easily. The Wizards need to get creative instead of just relying on Butler to take 20 shots on his own. Docfunk writes that the 2006/07 shot distribution was not optimal, but that was the last time Butler had as much freedom to work off another major offensive threat. He needs other good players around him to get to 20 shots.
This might be the best test of the "new and improved Arenas." He doesn't need to sacrifice shots necessarily, but he needs to take advantage of the attention he hopefully receives (like he did in 2006/07) and allow Butler to prosper and use enough possessions more easily. It would also help if Jamison did the same.