I guess it's technically a report card if you only got graded in your worst class.
As frequent readers of Bright Side of the Sun have come to know, the three point shooting adventures of Ish Smith were a bit of an obsession of mine in the late stages of the Suns season.
Those of you who have been around this site long enough may also be aware that both Suns history and awful shooting performances from members of the Phoenix Suns are two of my more significant basketball interests. Those two were first married together back in December of 2010 following the incredible 12 game reign of Sir Earl (of) Barron. I'd strongly suggest taking a quick flip through that slice of heaven, but if you have a life I can effectively boil it down to three points for you:
Three and a half years later those bullets haven't changed.
So with those points in mind, when assignments for Suns player report cards were being doled out I was the natural fit for Ish. Now a lot of people are going to go into a deep analysis of the key contributions for the player they are covering.
This will not be that.
Anyway - I watched every single Ish Smith three pointer this season (the NBA Stats website is truly incredible) so you didn't have to. I've even got a full log of his attempts, including the game situation, play development, and exactly how he missed it (in what critics are calling the worst word document ever produced).
So here's a look at Ish Smith's three point shooting in the 2013-14 season in a nutshell:
Now you're probably all like - "That seems really bad, writer guy with an obvious pseudonym, but give me some context." Well like I did for Earl Barron, let's compare to the history of the Suns franchise:
Of those 557 individual seasons - 232 times a Suns player has attempted 20 or more three pointers in a season. This includes Suns legends like Michael Beasley, Zarko Cabarkapa, Ronnie Price, Joe Crispin, Jalen Rose, the horrible rookie version of Goran Dragic, Josh Childress, and even Ed Nealy.
Which of those 232 players shot less than 10% from three on their 20+ attempts?
Kevin Johnson (1988-89) - 2/22, 9.1%
Johnny High (1980-81) - 2/24, 8.3%
Ish Smith (2013-14) - 1/23, 4.3%
Just those three.
Meaning Ish Smith is the only Phoenix Suns player to ever shoot less than 8% from three point range on a minimum of 20 attempts. He's also the only Suns player to shoot less than 6.3% on a minimum of 10 attempts (Josh Childress in 2010-11 had previously set the bar when he went 1/16).
Once you drop below 10 you find some comfort in that Cedric Ceballos missed each of his 9 attempts in the 1993-94 campaign.
Basically Ish has the worst three point shooting Phoenix Suns season ever from someone who thought it was a good idea to shoot threes other than by accident or because it was required.
So how about league wide? That's certainly sure to give Ish some company, right?
Well it does!
In the 35 years since the NBA adopted the three point stripe, 20 different players have shot more than 20 three pointers in a season and shot less than 5%. That list includes Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Calvin Murphy, and Dennis Johnson - along with slam dunk champion Spud Webb and noted ironman/Casanova AC Green.
But when you lower the bar a little further you see just how special Ish's three point shooting was this season. Of any player to attempt 23 or more three pointers in a season, a mere 9 brave souls have shot less than 4.4%. They are:
Randy Smith (1980-81 Cleveland Cavaliers) - 1/28, 3.6%
Calvin Murphy (1979-80 Houston Rockets) - 1/25, 4.0%
Hedo Turkoglu (2012-13 Orlando Magic) - 1/24, 4.2%
Sedale Threatt (1985-86 Philadelphia 76ers) - 1/24, 4.2%
Dennis Johnson (1989-90 Boston Celtics) - 1/24, 4.2%
Ish Smith (2013-14 Phoenix Suns) - 1/23, 4.3%
Terrell Brandon (1991-92 Cleveland Cavaliers) - 1/23, 4.3%
Calbert Cheaney (1993-94 Washington Bullets) - 1/23, 4.3%
Jerome Kersey (1986-87 Portland Trail Blazers) 1/23, 4.3%
To drastically oversimplifiy, Ish had one of the worst 3 point shooting seasons by any NBA guard in the last 20 plus seasons of NBA basketball. For that he will now take his place atop the Suns terrible shooting Mount Rushmore with Earl Barron.
Bonus fun fact - if you go to Basketball Reference right now and run a filter for the above stats they will show that Smith attempted 24 three pointers on the season. If you're an avid reader of the Bright Side comments section (and why wouldn't you be) you'll note my quixotic campaign to get the third shot here changed from an incorrectly listed three pointer (as it currently is here) to the appropriate 5 foot runner that it was.
See, I'm not totally mean, nobody probably ever would have noticed that shot being listed as a three pointer if some blogging weirdo hadn't pointed it out (h/t to Suns Digital Manager Greg Esposito who emailed the NBA to get it fixed. Here's a Twitter recap).
*As a side note, Archie Goodwin threw his hat in the ring for Mount TerribleShooter as he's one of just 22 players in NBA history to attempt 36 three pointers in a season and hit less than 14%. Here are all his rowdy friends - which include Michael Jordan. So pretty much Archie = MJ.
Fully realizing that was about 1,000 words about 1 bad aspect of Ish Smith, I figure I should throw in a few hundred words on good things. So here are some nice things about Ish:
Ish Smith is a journeyman who won't crack a PG rotation already overloaded with Dragic, Bledsoe, Marshall and even Diante Garrett.
The Suns also are unlikely to blink an eye if they need to release any or all of Malcolm Lee (884K), Kravtsov (1.5 mil) or Ish Smith (900K) to get down to 15 players by the regular season.
Jeff Hornacek is not the NBA's coach of the year this season, but that is OK.
The NBA announced today that Gregg Popovich was voted as the 2013-14 Coach of the Year, the third time he has taken home the Red Auerbach Trophy in his career and the second time in the last three years.
Popovich, who wins his second NBA Coach of the Year award in the past three seasons and third of his career, joins Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only coaches to receive the honor three times. He totaled 380 points, including 59 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
The Spurs finished the regular season with the best record in the league at 62-20 and they also had the best point differential at +7.8. Under Popovich, the Spurs have been and continue to be a machine, pumping out 50-plus wins like nothing.
The Spurs are still led by three Hall of Famers in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but as has become Popovich's style he rested those players as much or more than he ever has, yet they won anyway regardless of who suited up.
Popovich presided over a balanced roster which featured no player who averaged 20-plus points, nor 30-plus minutes, with Tony Parker's 16.7 ppg and 29.4 mpg leading both categories. He ended the 2013-14 campaign with 967 regular season wins, good for ninth on the all-time list.
Popovich is the best coach in the NBA, and this award is well-deserved.
(Click to enlarge to see final voting totals)
Popovich won on the strength of his 59 first-place votes, but Hornacek wasn't too far behind with 37 (compared to the 12 of third-place Tom Thibodeau) and he finished with the most total votes with 102 to Popovich's 98.
Jeff Hornacek did a fantastic job turning the Suns around in his first season in the Valley of the Sun, and the national media has taken note. Hornacek's career is only beginning, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing his name in this discussion for years to come.
Also, now we don't have to worry about him getting fired any time soon. The Coach of the Year curse has been avoided.
On a related note: Joakim Noah was named Defensive Player of the Year yesterday, running away with the vote with 100 first-place votes and 555 points. Suns forward P.J. Tucker finished 12th with two votes and six points. Who voted for him? Al McCoy (first place) and Tim Kempton (third place).