One of the surprises of the Warriors 2010-2011 season has, surprisingly, not been the losing but ridiculously poor shooting percentages from the field and from the free-throw line. Much has been written about Stephen Curry and Reggie Williams sophomore slump (of sorts) and general shooting inconsistencies. Aside from Monta Ellis' relatively more productive, efficient, and consistent scoring, the Warriors deep-shooters, which also include Dorell Wright (39% from the field), have not been very good this season.
Surprisingly, the Warriors are second in the league in 3-point shooting percentage at 39% (8-20 per game), but are ranked 20th in field goal percentage (45%) and 26th in free throw shooting (71.5%). So what gives? The Warriors probably have the most reliable shooters they've ever had at the wings. And with Ellis' steady improvement from the perimeter, there's no reason why they should be shooting this poorly...right? Well, all signs could point to one of the newest additions to the squad. With this guys' credentials, it will make your jaw drop as to (possibly) why the Warriors are such bad shooters this year.
The Warriors have been taking some bad shots, but is it possible that new shooting coach Mark Price, the former All-Star a career 90% free throw shooter and nearly 50% from the field until injuries slowed him down in his late twenties, is the culprit for the Warriors ridiculous shooting this season? I happened to come across a blog called Chris Cohan: [Libelous Slander] (CC for short) for the first time and they had an incredible breakdown of the Mark Price effect on the Warriors. Here are some facts and quotables that will shock you:
To review, the Warriors ranked 8th in PPS, 5th in FT%, 4th in 3PT%, and 8th in FG% last season. They still lost a [expletive] ton of games but MY GOD.... that's an unprecedented shooting dropoff, even for a Mark Price coached team.
And no here is some interesting tidbits about his previous shooting coach history that will NOT wow you:
Price was the shooting coach for the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2007-08 season.
In 2006-07, the Grizzlies shot .465 overall, .367 3PT, and .761 FT.
In 2007-08, Price helped them to .454 overall, .349 3PT, and .723 FT, and was let go after the season.
Next, Price worked for the Atlanta Hawks for two seasons.
In 2007-08, the Hawks shot .454 overall, .356 3PT, and .772 FT.
In 2008-09, Price helped them to .458 overall, .366 3PT, and .737 FT. This incredible success was rewarded with his second tour of duty for the Hawks.
In 2009-10, Price helped the team shoot .468 overall, .360 3PT, and .750 FT. The Hawks said "goodbye" after that. At first glance, the floor shooting looks improved.
[me: after firing Price, here are the Hawks current shooting stats] In 2010-11, the Hawks are shooting .472 overall, .366 3PT, and .780 FT.
Price's marginal improvements have sent him packing, but this CC (the blog) makes what I think to be an astute observation about Mark Price's failures as coach versus what Mark Price as the "life coach" provides (helping headcases become better teammates):
I see terrible team shooting overall and the results at the free throw line speak for themselves. This is not solely about the Warriors' strange desire to hire worse shooters but take more jumpshots (so it seems in any given game, at least). Sure, swapping out Anthony Morrow's for Charlie Bell's shooting will lead to major problems, but this incredible dropoff is systemic, not individual. In fairness, Dorell Wright is a [expletive] train wreck when not streaking some 3 pointers in in a loose game. He's killing us overall at under .400 from the field. Vladimir Radmanovic, Louis Amundson, Charlie Bell, and Jeremy Lin are all also under .400 from the floor. AcieLaw is shooting .167 so far for the team. But he was already terrible from the floor. On the other hand, blame the team's scouting division all you like if you so choose to defend Price on all of this. I don't disagree with such criticism. They've signed a bunch of [expletive] players and sent some more useful skillsets packing for no good reason. But there are other warning signs that Mark Price, and those who employ him to counsel or marginalize young "attitude problem" players, are setting this team back considerably.
I think CC got it right on this one. It's unfair to put everything on a coach and to some degree, the Warriors are taking some bad shots. And they're also bricking a bunch of gimmes (can you count how many times Dan Gadzuric, Andris Biedrins, Dorell Wright and the recently returned Louis Amundson have missed put backs?). Maybe working on putbacks would be a good way to improve. Maybe these easy buckets will help the Warriors with their confidence in game and then allow them to step out a bit more. Half the game is confidence...right?
At any rate, I believe Mark Price has got to go. Whether or not this is really Chris Cohan or a strange fan of Chris Cohan (do those exist), it's hard to dispute Mark Price's futility at coaching...in any sense of the word.
Is Mark Price the culprit?