Season Review: Kyle Korver
Lucas Armstrong/Atlanta Hawks
Note: We use stats per 36 minutes instead of stats per game on the graphics. The reason behind that is stats per 36 tell a more complete story of how a player did while he was on the court, as opposed to per game stats which averages a player’s stats based on the number of games that player appeared in, regardless of how many minutes he played. The per 36 minutes compares all players equally by taking the minutes played out of the equation to measure the most effective players during their time on the court.
Kyle Korver re-signed with the Hawks in the offseason and before training camp even started expressed his excitement about the opportunity to play in Coach Bud’s system. Korver said at media day in September, “I feel like I’ve been trying to play for San Antonio for 10 years and now that system is coming to me!”
That excitement was warranted, as he thrived in the Hawks’ offense, leading the NBA in three-point percentage at 47.2 percent and in true shooting percentage at 65.3 percent. His exceptional shooting opened up the Hawks’ offense to be as successful as it was, and, going back to last season, he became the most consistent three-point shooter in NBA history as he made one in 127 consecutive regular season games, shattering Dana Barros’ previous record of 89. The streak was the perfect representation of Korver for this past season, as he was the offense’s steady hand that could always be relied on.
Korver set career-highs in points (12.0), rebounds (4.0), assists (2.9), and steals (1.0) per game this season, doing much more than just shooting the ball. His offensive presence was tremendous, as the Hawks were 5.1 points better per 100 possessions on offense when he was on the court than off. On defense, he was also a steadying influence as Atlanta allowed 4.1 fewer points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor. (per NBA.com/Stats)
As he’s shown for the past two seasons in Atlanta, Korver is much more than just a three-point specialist. Defensively, he’s constantly in the right position, makes the proper rotations and digs, and has active hands to get in passing lanes to get steals and deflections. his defensive skills are often overlooked because of his tremendous shooting acumen, but he continues to prove himself as a very solid defender on the wing.
The importance of Korver to the Hawks’ success at both ends of the floor was apparent all season. He opened up the floor for the rest of the team because defenses had to keep one player focused on him at all times in the halfcourt and in transition. His presence behind the three-point line is feared like few others, with defenses choosing to allow layups in transition over offering him the chance for a three. On defense, he has improved as a one-on-one defender, uses his length to bother shooters and get in passing lanes, and is adept at helping down on bigs to get a block from behind or a reach-in steal.
Story by Robby Kalland