Archives For Josh Howard

JoshHoward

It turns out that Josh Howard’s knee is worse than originally expected and reported. We all thought he had a hyperextended knee from his injury against the New Orleans Hornets. He actually has a torn ACL and because his deal is non-guaranteed, the Wolves have waived him from the roster to open up space to bring someone else in.

What’s weird about this is there were thoughts Howard would play Tuesday against the Miami Heat. Maybe it was a partial tear or it tore during his warmups the other day, but it seems odd that he could have a torn ACL and think he was capable of possibly playing on that knee. The Wolves did tests on his knee this morning and discovered the ACL tear.

The roster stands at 14 and it’s likely the Wolves will try to sign a wing player to give Andrei Kirilenko some rest and give them some decent minutes at both the small forward and shooting guard positions. Some available free agents include Michael Redd, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Ime Udoka. Personally, I’m hoping for a Ricky Davis comeback tour that begins at the Target Center.

Other options could come from the D-League. Travis Leslie is an athletic wing player that was waived by the Clippers before the season started. He jumps out of the gym and has been scoring well with the Santa Cruz Warriors. From the Wolves’ D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Andrew Goudelock is a combo guard leading the team in scoring and Demetris Nichols is the second leading scorer on the team and a 6’6″ wing player.

James Anderson was also recently waived by the San Antonio Spurs to make room for Kawhi Leonard (H/T: @yowhatupT). He’s the best of the lot.

Regardless of where the player comes from, Wolves could use some depth there really soon.

The NBA 3-point line has been around since the 1979-80 NBA season. Even the rule change was supposed to help usher in a new era of basketball from the 1970s to the 1980s, it wasn’t exactly an accepted practice to start chucking 3-pointers like we see teams doing today. Instead, it was a seldom-used arrow in the quiver for most NBA teams.

Because it wasn’t a widely practiced action in the NBA and used more for shooting games after practice than anything else, we saw some hilariously low 3-point production from NBA teams during the first 13 seasons of the 3-point arc. The 1982-83 Los Angeles Lakers have the lowest 3-point percentage in NBA history. They shot just 10.4% from the 3-point line that season. Sounds absurdly low, right? Well, they only took 96 attempts that season and made 10 of them. They also went on to win the Western Conference Finals because they had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

From the 79-80 season through the 2011-12 season, there have been 171 teams in NBA history who have shot less than 29% from 3-point range in a season. But the problem with this statistic is the 3-pointer wasn’t really a thing until the 1992-93 season. In the first 13 years of the NBA 3-point line, only three teams (88-89 New York Knicks, 90-91 Denver Nuggets, 91-92 Milwaukee Bucks) took more than 1,000 3-point attempts in an NBA season. That total doubled after the Suns, Hawks, and Rockets all attempted over 1,000 3-pointers in the 92-93 season.

In the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, only seven teams DIDN’T attempt at least 1,000 3-pointers.

Why this little bit of 3-point history?  Continue Reading…

The Josh Howard Era Begins

Steve McPherson —  November 15, 2012 — 5 Comments
HOWARD

You rang?

What can the Timberwolves expect from Josh Howard?

Well, first of all, the Josh Howard the Wolves signed on Thursday to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum is not the Howard who was an All-Star for the Dallas Mavericks in 2007. And this 32-year-old Howard is not the ACC Player of the Year that the Wolves passed over in the 2003 draft for Ndudi Ebi. But with Timberwolf bodies hitting the floor more often than they do for a Drowning Pool cover band, the hope is only that Howard can fill a need for scoring and experience on a team that went from deep and experienced to considerably thinner and greener.

Howard played last year for the Utah Jazz and had a respectable season. Coming off the bench for most of the 43 games he played, his per 36 minute numbers look mostly good: 13.5 pts, 5.7 rebs, 1.8 asts, 40% from the field, 77% from the line. His 24% shooting from distance is troubling, though, on a team already starved for 3-point shooting. Asked last night before the game about who has the green light from long range, Adelman winced and said, “The way we’re shooting 3s? Luke? Maybe?” So Howard won’t be much help there.

So where could he succeed on offense for a Wolves team that doesn’t have many options? With an overall .8 points per possession last season according to MySynergy Sports, Howard is not an offensive machine, but he did manage to notch 1.23 ppp on cuts, 1.01 in transition, and .95 off screens. The good news is that these types of plays are what the Timberwolves are largely relying upon right now, with Kirilenko doing great work both cutting and finding cutters and Shved pushing the ball in transition.

On the downside, he scored only .67 points per possession on spot-ups, .73 as the ball handler in pick-and-rolls, and .79 on isolations. Although Adelman’s system has managed to hold together in places so far, we saw last night against the Bobcats what happens when it breaks down. In his postgame conference, Adelman admitted, “Down the stretch, it was like, ‘What are we going to run? Who are we going to go to?’” When plays aren’t getting executed crisply, teams often break down into drive-and-kicks, pick-and-rolls, or isos, and in those situations Howard is not efficient.

Some of it comes down to size for him, both on offense and defense. At 6’7”, he’s undersized for the small forward position and although he was once quick, at 32, it’s doubtful whether he can keep up with smaller, quicker guards at the 2. Watching video of him, he seems to have trouble shaking his man on pick-and-rolls, regardless of whether or not he gets the switch. And on defense, he allowed almost a point-per-possession on 61% shooting last year when defending the ball handler in pick-and-rolls.

The Wolves will almost certainly announce this move by saying they’ve signed “former All-Star” Josh Howard, but make no mistake: that’s not who they’re getting. But of course, with so many players out of pocket and the end of the bench coming into play, there was every reason to make some kind of move. If Howard can do what he does best and minimize his weaknesses, there’s reason to hope he can be an effective stopgap solution for now and a help off the bench later in the season.