Biedrins forces Lee right, Lee makes the tip anyway

The pointy Biedrins elbow

I have a theory on why Andris Biedrins and David Lee aren’t shooting with their usual efficiency, though–as you’ll see in the quotes below–the two bigs aren’t backing it. My thesis: Lefties Lee and Biedrins are colliding on tip-ins from the same basket side, causing bunnies to go netless. Both players are accomplished offensive rebounders who grew up in systems where they were singular in that aptitude, singular in that role. Media often focuses on how scorers like Ellis and Curry must adapt to each other, while rebounding overlap tragically goes begging for attention. But, I intend to over-focus on how the bigs untangle their wiring as the season progresses. I spoke to them after a Jazz game that reminded me of World War I:

ESS: “Do you think, you and Andris going for the same rebounds is impacting the shooting percentage on the tip-ins?”

David Lee: “I don’t know, all I know is, if he takes another one of my rebounds (his voice quivers with mock anger, he shakes his head)… Just kidding. No, no, that’s my boy! If there’s anybody I’m giving a rebound up to, it’s him. And he did a great job going after them. The problem isn’t when two guys are going after the same rebound, it’s when no one’s going after the rebound, and we’re giving up tip-ins to them.”

(It was then that I repeated my grating concern over how Lee is adjusting to his power forward role. In these spaces, I’ve mentioned how Knickerbocker David used speed to burn opposing centers on slipped screens. This would lead to easy buckets and help pad an already gaudy shooting percentage. These days, Biedrins is clogging the lane, and fleeter men are marking Lee.)

ESS: “Do you miss being able to slip screens against opposing fives like you did with the Knicks?”

David Lee: “It’s fewer easy buckets. But, the flipside of that is that I have Andris helping me on the boards, and getting my back, rotating to bigs, so not playing with big deal”

ESS: “So, harder offensively, easier defensively?”

David Lee: “Yea..not harder offensively. It’s just going to be a different look I gotta get used to.”

(Lee is no longer an undersized center, he’s an averaged-sized power forward. The early returns have hurt his offensive statistics, but I suspect his defensive numbers will improve. Odd how he can score more against taller men, and give up fewer points to shorter men.)

ESS (Talking to Andris Biedrins): “You and Lee are rebounding well, but your shooting percentage on tip-ins is not at where it usually is. Do you think that’s because you’re often colliding, trying to go for the same rebounds?”

Andris Biedrins: “Today was not our day. Maybe next game we will tip eight out of ten in. It’s just kind of a game of luck.”

ESS: “So you think it’s more random chance as opposed to you and Lee going for the same ball?”

Andris Biedrins: “Yes. Totally random.”

Germane to nothing, at Shootaround, I asked Biedrins about whether he has a better hook shot than Brandan Wright. Biedrins jokingly replied: “Of coure mine’s better! But what kind of question is that!”

Randolph Regret Index: +17

Twitter: @SherwoodStrauss