If Kevin Martin is the Adam Dunn of the NBA, Ben Gordon is the Pat Burrell

A primer for this post: true shooting percentage accounts for free throws and 3-pointers.

For example, if a player makes 3-of-6 2-pointers, he scored his team six points. If another player makes 2-of-6 3-pointers, he scored his team six points. Why should his field goal percentage be lower if he scored the same number points on the same number of shots. Their true shooting percentage is equal.

For more on true shooting percentage and other stats, check out Basketball Reference’s glossary page.

John Krolik writes for Slam (Hat tip: TrueHoop):

With his wonky game and his pedestrian 42% field goal percentage, it’s easy to miss just how amazingly good of a scorer Martin is …

it’s Martin’s True Shooting, the best indicator of scoring efficiency available, that’s really incredible- his 60% TS last season is almost unprecedented for someone who scores as much as he does. Even more amazingly, that mark was Martin’s lowest TS since his rookie season, and a big step down from his last two seasons, when he recorded marks of 61.4% and 61.8%. Overall, Martin has the 2nd-highest career TS among all active players, trailing only Brent Barry.

To be completely clear: 60% TS for a #1 option is INSANE. LeBron’s never cracked 60%. Neither has Kobe, whose career high is 58% and average is 56%. Wade’s never done it. The last season MJ did it was the 1990-91 campaign.
Martin is a great scorer not because of superior skills but through a carefully crafted strategy to get points in the most efficient way possible. In a lot of ways, the best comparison for Martin isn’t a basketball player at all, but baseball’s Adam Dunn. Dunn is an athletically unexciting player with some serious holes in his game, but he’s a stat geek darling because of his ability to focus his hitting approach on hitting home runs and drawing walks — he’s long been one of the most statistically effective hitters in baseball despite his career batting average of .250.

Like Dunn, you’ve heard a lot about what Ben Gordon can’t do:

  • Defend
  • Rebound
  • Pass

Basically, everything except score. But, like Martin, boy can he put the ball in the hoop.

Martin scored more than Gordon last year (24.6 to 20.7 points per game) and had had a higher true shooting percentage (.601 to .573).

That’s where Pat Burrell comes in. He doesn’t have quite the power or ability to get on base that Dunn has. But he still produces much more than his .255 career batting average would suggest.

As note previously, just eight players scored more with a higher true shooting percentage than Gordon:

  • Dwyane Wade
  • LeBron James
  • Danny Granger
  • Kevin Durant
  • Kevin Martin
  • Chris Paul
  • Brandon Roy
  • Amar’e Stoudemire

Although there’s no Kobe, that lists pretty pretty much identifies the NBA’s top scorers.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy and Amar’e Stoudemire are the NBA’s Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Prince Fielder, Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera – universally recognized as superstars.

But that still leaves Granger, Martin and Gordon. Not considered elite, but they’re scoring ability shouldn’t be doubted.

So, I’ll jump on the Kevin Martin bandwagon, too. It just opens the door for Ben Gordon to get the credit he deserves.

Tags: Ben Gordon

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