I keep hearing this narrative used when defending why investing big bucks in a center like Ayton is a bad idea, and that what we really need is yet another shooter instead to bolster the squad...
"It's just the modern game.."
"The center position is over man"
"We need to generate more 3's, not feed the post!"
You get the idea...
It all seems to hinge on the flawed analytic that 3 point baskets are worth more than 2. Let's talk about that.
In a perfect world, where no one ever misses, of course 3 pointers are worth more than 2's. 10 made shots from 3 = 30 points, 10 made shots from 2 is only 20. That's the argument. Sounds like simple math right? Well, the truth is, it's not that simple... No team or player is EVER going to go 10/10 every.single.game. We can all agree on that right?
So let's be realistic about this..
Let's assume again, that 10 shots of each are taken. But this time, with actual realistic numbers.. lets say 35% on 3's and a respectable 55% on 2's... cool? Well...
35% of 10 x 3's (30pts) = 10.5pts...whereas...
55% of 10 x 2's (20pts) = 11pts.
See how this theory actually holds up with actual realistic shooting data? 10 2's on 55% shooting, get more points than 10 3's on 35%. It's close, barely 0.5% in it, but nevertheless, math don't lie..
Let's get even more realistic. Let's bring in last season's numbers...
Our team 3pt percentage 36.4%, vs DA's 2pt percentage of 64%.
36.4% of 10 x 3 = 10.9pts... whereas...
64% of 10 x 2 = 12.8pts...
That's almost 2 points better for every 10 shots, based on legit numbers from last season. Simply put, DA's 2pt game, was a better, more productive weapon, than our entire 3pt game last season. Let that sink in a minute...
Infact, to even get close to DA's 2pt efficiency, we'd have to shoot 43% from 3, as a team, over the course of an entire season...
In context, the Miami Heat had the best three-point percentage by any team this very season, at 37.9 percent.
The highest EVER 3 point percentage by any team in a season, is 42% by the Hornets, way back in 1996.
So basically, just to equal DA's offensive efficiency output this year, we'd have to break all time NBA records and shoot the best 3pt percentage in the history of the league.
Let's let that sink in a little too.
To deny he is one of, if not THE best weapon we have, at this point, is just crazy. And he's not even hit his prime yet.
I should be clear... This isn't meant to suggest we stop shooting 3's and give DA every single shot. That would be silly to suggest. What it is meant to outline, is that DA's value is VASTLY more than many seem to be giving him credit for, and certainly presents a case for him being more included in a system that often ignores his true worth. As quite clearly, he's our best, and most efficient, offensive producer. The numbers don't lie.
And this is just that.. the numbers... I'm not even taking into account all the other variables that come with a tighter focus on developing the big guy... like 2pts being a more consistent and reliable scoring method.. leading into the unquantifiable stat that more made baskets = more energy and better team moral... or also, not falling into the trap of throwing up a 3pt prayer when fighting to get back in games... or also, having more chance to rebound and put back shots which are closer to the rim.. I'm not mentioning ANY of that.. I'm merely exposing a critical flaw in our use of analytics, and suggesting our system needs to evolve.
Hoping someone sees this who can use the information to implement the correct changes... so we don't rush headlong into a poorly researched decision which could set the franchise back decades, by doubling down on a perimeter based offence and letting Ayton depart for another team... a system which hinges on less chance of success, can set up for total meltdowns, and has been exploited multiple times now. The system itself is a good foundation, but certainly has room to improve, and no doubt needs to evolve in order for us to enjoy the success our talent is capable of bringing us, namely making more of arguably our best weapon.
And I won't lie, it baffles me that instead, we're actually considering giving it away. You do not succeed if you do not cater to your true strengths.
Monty.. needs to use him. Book.. needs to embrace him. And Jones.. needs to pay him.
Let's end this negative cloud lingering over the franchise right now the right way, by locking down that weapon and showing him what he really means to us. And then we can spend the rest of the offseason figuring out how to utilise him more, to redeem our collective asses next season and make another push while we still can.