"He is learning, and that is part of the growing pains as a coach you have to live with. Someone read a stat about his percentage on stand-still shooting, he ranks high in the league."Cunningham notes (as has been noted in this space previously) that Smith ranks 158th in the league in points per possession as a spot-up shooter. Drew's confusion on this point does nothing to encourage one with regard to the team's use of advanced stats.
"It’s something he has worked on. I can see his stroke has changed. It looks different than the past. I’ve always said if a guy works on his game, works on taking a shot, if he has the ability to make it and shows he can make it, you have got to let him shoot it. With him, his whole thing is when he shoots it. There are times I don’t want that shot, and he knows that. It’s something as a coach I have to keep working on him with it. He wants to know if it’s a good shot. Sometimes we will butt heads and sometimes we won’t."Clearly, at this point, the obligation Drew feels to let Smith demonstrate his improvement as a shooter outweighs any adverse impact that improvement has had on the player and the team.
It's a narrow difference and the possibility surely exists that there are reasonable man-management gains that do not show up specifically in Smith's individual offensive numbers which, again, are down from last year.
Drew on Jeff Teague:
"I want to see more production. I want to see more consistency, and that has not been the case. He has shown flashes of being a consistent player but for whatever reason I haven’t gotten the consistency from him."On this, unless Drew is talking about Teague's practice or off-court performance, I call shenanigans. Teague was tremendous in Boston on December 16th. He scored 18 points on 11 shots, earned 3 assists, and grabbed 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. He wasn't perfect--he committed 4 turnovers--but it was a very, very good performance off the bench, Teague's best of the season.
The next night against Charlotte, Teague scored 5 points, earned 4 assists (against just 2 turnovers), and blocked 2 shots in 15 minutes. Another fine performance. Nowhere near as productive as against the Celtics but perfectly solid.
Two days later, against the Nets, Teague plays seven minutes, scores 2 points and earns no assists. The next night, against Orlando, he gets eight minutes, scores 2 points, earns no assists, and commits two turnovers.
Neither of those are good performances, but they're very, very brief as well. Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford are allowed to play through poor seven or eight minutes stretches (often in fourth quarters, sometimes simultaneously) about once a week.
Next game, in New Orleans, Teague gets a DNP-CD.
Next game, in Milwaukee, Teague plays 18 minutes, gets 7 points on 4 shots and earns 4 assists.
Over the next seven games, he plays 31-and-a-half minutes, never more than 9:20 in a single game.
Teague isn't the only one with consistency issues once the games start.