I think we'd all be thrilled if Martell Webster turned in a carbon copy of his 2012-13 season next year. If Webster can continue to be one of the league's elite spot-up shooters, a competent defender, an excellent transition scorer and a locker-room leader, he'll live up to the fat new contract he received this summer.
But the Summer Checklist series is about exploring ways for players to grow. If there's one thing I'd like to see Webster improve on, it's his pick and roll play.
As a classic "3/D" small forward (we really need a new acronym for this), Webster didn't get a lot of opportunities to run pick and roll. MySynergySports.com only logged 69 plays where Webster finished a pick and roll with a made shot or a turnover, and I counted only 20 of his 143 assists on the season coming when he was the ball-handler that received a screen. But Webster will likely log more minutes at shooting guard this season, especially if Otto Porter emerges as a contributor. If so, he'll have to improve as a pick and roll ball-handler.
One thing Webster must watch out for is his tendency to take mid-range pull-up jumpers. He didn't shoot a ton of mid-range jumpers this year, but the ones he did frequently came when he saw a sliver of daylight on a pick and roll and got impatient. This is one of those problems that can be solved outside of the gym with more discretion.
The other issue can be solved with practice, though. I noticed that Webster has a tendency to dribble in a wide semi-circle when receiving a pick, which isn't always a great habit because it means he's not taking the shortest path towards the rim. It's also bad because it allows his primary defender to jump over the screen and disrupt a play's timing. Here's an example of what I'm talking about from a game against the Hawks.
It's often better to attack in more of a straight line instead of giving the defense a way to recover. Nobody's expecting Webster to channel his inner Chris Paul in the pick and roll, but a small tweak could at least make him passable as a ball-moving shooting guard.
What would you like to see Webster improve on next season?
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