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The Doppelgänger Machine takes aim on Corey Kispert

Houston Rockets v Washington Wizards
Wizards wing Corey Kispert
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Corey Kispert can shoot. Like, really shoot.

Here’s the complete list last season of NBA players to shoot at least 60% on twos, 40% on threes, and 80% from the free throw line: Kevin Durant, Trey Murphy, and Kispert. That’s it. That’s the list.

Before you go and start booking travel to see Kispert in the All-Star game, it’s worth mentioning some differences between him and the other two. Durant, of course, is one of the game’s elite producers. His greatest strength is shooting, but he’s also a skilled playmaker who defends at a high level and rebounds.

Murphy is an outstanding shooter and a high level defender, and a good enough athlete to be a credible entrant in the annual dunk contest.

When it comes to athleticism, rebounding, playmaking, ball handling, defense...Kispert’s a helluva shooter. He’s also a decent cutter and finisher (though not nearly as good at those things as Chief Wizards Propagandist Chris Miller would have you believe). Per NBA tracking data, Kispert was sixth on the team in cuts, and 39th percentile in cut efficiency.

How best to use him? Spot ups (duh) — 89th percentile in efficiency, run him off screens (65th percentile), handoffs (73rd percentile), and transition (92nd percentile). He was also 93rd percentile in very few possessions as pick-and-roll ball handler, and 55th percentile as the pick-and-roll roll man.

Among my favorite Kispert-involved sets last season were empty side pick and rolls where he screened for Bradley Beal. The play sent defenders into paroxysms because the vacated corner meant two defenders had to choose between trying to keep Beal out of the lane and leaving Kispert open at the three-point line, or staying with Kispert and leaving a defender one-on-one against Beal. In the NBA, this inspires nightmares for those who can get to sleep.

Naturally, the Wizards ran it maybe 15 times all season. Maybe the coaches will notice it in their offseason film study and try it with Kispert and Jordan Poole.

So let’s talk doppelgängers. My Statistical Doppelgänger Machine factors age and an array of pace-neutral statistical categories like minutes played, usage, preferred shot types, offensive and defensive rebounding, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, fouls, scoring, and an overall measure of the player’s production relative to era.

The Machine does not include variables for size, position, or athleticism, but even so individuals tend to get “doppelgängers” who are relatively close in each of those categories.

With Kispert, there is most definitely a type.

  1. Jodie Meeks, 2010-11, Philadelphia 76ers — Good shooter, though probably not at Kispert’s level, who didn’t do much else on the floor. Meeks lasted 10 seasons, including one eminently forgettable year with the Wizards). This was one of his two above average seasons.
  2. Landry Shamet, 2018-19, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers — I promise, not all Kispert’s comps played for Philly. Shamet has been a fine shooter with (say it with me) not much else to his game. Five seasons in, and he has yet to approach average as a player overall, except in the category of involvement in massive trades (see below).
  3. Jodie Meeks, 2011-12, Philadelphia 76ers — Meeks followed up his first above average season (see #1 above) by shooting a little worse from three. He headed west to the Lakers as a free agent in the offseason.
  4. Allen Crabbe, 2016-17, Portland Trail Blazers — Here’s Crabbe’s career progression: He was unplayable as a rookie, replacement level in year two, and downright bad in year three. So naturally before his fourth season, the Trail Blazers gave him a four-year, $74.1 million contract. It didn’t go well. Portland traded him to the Nets for Andrew Nicholson (yes, the same Nicholson who benefited from Ernie Grunfeld’s generosity and poor ability to judge talent). The Nets dealt him to Minnesota, where he finished his career.
  5. Martell Webster, 2013-14, Washington Wizards — Don’t get too excited, this is the year after The Year. Webster was a talented player (and good shooter) whose career was ravaged by injuries. He arrived in Washington on a small one-year contract, stayed healthy and had by far the best season of his career. This was the season after, when he’d signed a multiyear contract, got hurt, tried to play through it, and struggled. He made it through part of one more season before he had to retire.
  6. Reggie Bullock, 2017-18, Detroit Pistons — Best shooting season of Bullock’s career — 44.5% from three-point range.
  7. Bryn Forbes, 2018-19, San Antonio Spurs — Excellent shooter who does little else. Still, in his seven seasons, he’s shot 40% or better from deep three times. In two other seasons, he shot 39.0% and 38.8%. This was the first time he topped 40%.
  8. Kevin Huerter, 2021-22, Atlanta Hawks — Very good shooter who has some playmaking chops. His overall performance hovered close to average with Atlanta. His shooting took off after getting traded to the Sacramento Kings (60.4% on twos and 40.2% on threes, both career bests).
  9. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 2020-21, Los Angeles Lakers — A classic 3&D prototype, this was KCP’s last (and worst) season with the Lakers. He came to Washington with Kyle Kuzma in the Russell Westbrook deal, and bounced back to average. Then the Wizards sent him to Denver for Monte Morris and Will Barton, and KCP’s stellar defense and excellent shooting were perfect complements to Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
  10. Kyle Korver, 2005-06, Philadelphia 76ers — The inevitable comp. This was young Korver, before he’d figured out how to defend or do much of anything aside from shoot. Truly one of the weirdest careers around. In my PPA metric, he cracked average in the second season of his career, which he followed up with six consecutive below average years. Then, at age 30, he got better — reduced his usage, learned to use screens to free himself, shot better, rebounded a little more, passed a little better, and became an adequate defender. He improved steadily and peaked at age 33. Then he crashed hard...and still lasted another six injury-riddled and below average seasons. The NBA loves its shooters.

Back to Shamet and his trades. Here are the big ones:

  • In 2012, he got traded (in the form of a future first round pick) as part of a four-team deal that got Nikola Vucevic to the Magic, Andrew Bynum to the 76ers, Dwight Howard to the Lakers, and Andre Iguoudala to the Nuggets.
  • In 2014, he got traded (in the form of a future first round pick) in a deal that sent Elfrid Payton to the Magic. Philly finally picked him in the 2018 draft.
  • In 2019 — during his rookie year — Philly sent him to the Los Angeles Clippers (along with Wilson Chandler and current Wizard Mike Muscala, as well as the draft picks that became Saddiq Bey, Tre Mann, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl) for Tobias Harris.
  • In 2020, he was part of a three-team trade with the Pistons and Nets that included Reggie Perry, Saddiq Bey, Jaylen Hands, Dzanan Musa, JT Thor, Jay Scrubb, Bruce Brown, Luke Kennard, Justin Patton, Rodney McGruder and multiple draft picks.
  • And finally this summer, he was part of the three-team deal that sent Beal to the Suns and netted the Wizards Bilal Coulibaly, a passel of draft picks, and a bunch of first round pick swaps.

Here’s hoping Will Dawkins can concoct a five-team trade involving Shamet.


Who’s next through the Doppelgänger Machine?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Kyle Kuzma
    (30 votes)
  • 50%
    Daniel Gafford
    (44 votes)
  • 15%
    Delon Wright
    (14 votes)
88 votes total Vote Now