Wizenheimer wrote:there are some factors in those assist numbers. Portland is 25th in 3pt% and 23rd in FG%. They are also about 28th in points in the paint. Portland just doesn't get many easy opportunity or fast break baskets and that's where a lot of PG's fatten-up their assist numbers
another factor is that Batum has been taking over a bigger role in initiating the offense. He's averaging 4.5 assist for the season but in December and January is averaging 5.6 assists.
and finally, opposing teams have made Lillard the focus of their defensive game plan since about 12-15 games into the season. This is no exaggeration. Lillard is aggressively defended for about 3/4 of the court, constantly. He's doubled more times then not, and almost always doubled in a pick-and-roll situation. Last season, Aldridge was the defensive focus, thei season it's Lillard. I can't remember a rookie getting quite so much attention from the other team's game plan. I seriously doubt that either Davis or Drummond are ever subject to that kind of defensive focus and attention. And for sure, neither of the bigs have anything close to the responsibility that Lillard has.
That's good stuff Wiz, I appreciate the numbers. Obviously it's easy to just see Mathews, Batum, Aldridge and Hickson and think that assists wouldn't be hard to come by.
One of the reasons I bring it up is because Lillard's ability to lead an offense and distribute was so questioned and I just never bought it. The kid has great handles, great speed, and is such a true basketball player. He's mature beyond his years. I think he should be a 9 assist a game type of player. And like I said, I think he will get there. Might take the guys around him to step it up, I'm sure a better bench wouldn't hurt too.
I don't particularly buy into the "teams are game planning him more" argument. As if teams aren't game planning Anthony Davis, etc. They certainly don't focus on Aminu and Robin Lopez. Teams run Davis off the blocks, they sag on the pick and roll, they try to get physical with him. That's the NBA. They find what you do best and they try to take it away from you. Obviously Lillard has still found a way to be productive.
Each player has their own advantages statistically. Davis and Drummond can literally take the basketball and place it in the goal. They are just so physically gifted with height and length. Lillard has the basketball in his hand every play. That's going to be a great advantage with racking up numbers. Comparing a PG from one team vs a big from another team is not ever going to be a true comparison. Which makes it so fun to discuss.