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NBA / Jan 4, 2011 / 2:30 pm

Give Me The Damn Ball: 5 NBA Players Who Need More Shots

Pau Gasol

As much as the Denizens of Kobe Bryant‘s Crawl Space would like to believe their hero won his last two NBA championships “on his own,” the fact is that Pau Gasol was as important to Kobe’s fourth and fifth rings as Shaquille O’Neal was to Kobe’s first three pieces of championship jewelry.

As the Lakers have struggled recently in their quest for another three-peat, Gasol’s value is finally being realized. In a Dec. 28 loss to San Antonio, Gasol had only eight field goal attempts and scored nine points while Kobe jacked 27 shots. The next night against New Orleans, Gasol only took five shots, although the Lakers won that game. And in a Jan. 2 blowout loss to Memphis, Gasol took nine shots while Kobe took 22, and L.A. coach Phil Jackson criticized Kobe after the game for playing too much one-on-one.

Just about every NBA player wants the ball more often and wants more shots. As Shawn Marion told me in Dime #57, “I don’t care how talented you are. Any player in the League who’s averaging big numbers, they ain’t averaging 20 points if they ain’t getting 20 shots … If you get shots, you can put up numbers in any system. If you get touches, you can put up shots in any system.”

But not every player need more shots. Here are a few who do:

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PAU GASOL, Lakers — He ranks 27th in the League in scoring while taking 14.1 field goals per game. The only players in the Top 30 who take fewer shots are Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili, Paul Pierce, Dwight Howard. And yet Gasol is considered the most skilled offensive big man in basketball.

DWIGHT HOWARD, Magic — You want to see an exercise in frustration? Listen to Hubie Brown call an Orlando game. The fact that Dwight goes several possessions in a row without getting so much as a decent entry pass drives Hubie up the wall. You can’t blame him: Hubie won an ABA championship coaching a team that featured Artis Gilmore and Dan Issel. He was Patrick Ewing’s first NBA coach. He took a Memphis Grizzlies team headlined by Pau Gasol to the playoffs. He knows you have to get the rock to the big guy.

RONNIE BREWER, Bulls — Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng will get their looks, but Chicago needs another wing aside from Kyle Korver who can spread the floor and make it so Rose doesn’t have to take 20 shots a night as a point guard. In a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Boozer said about former Utah teammate Brewer (4.9 FGA per game), “He comes off the bench and gives us points, rebounds and steals. He scores the ball, steals the ball and defends the ball. He’s one of our better players.” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau described Brewer’s mid-range game as “excellent,” and said he wants Brewer to take more corner threes.

DeMARCUS COUSINS, Kings — As Tyreke Evans has been inconsistent due to a lingering foot injury, the Kings need to lean on Cousins more often. He is their best interior scorer and a future building block for the franchise. Cousins (12.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) started the season slow, in part because he couldn’t stay out of foul trouble, but lately he’s played like a guy who would be in the Rookie of the Year discussion if Blake Griffin wasn’t playing like the Incredible Hulk: Cousins has averaged 21.6 points on 56 percent shooting in his last three games.

WESLEY JOHNSON, Wolves — On a young team, the rookie Johnson is actually one of the more mature guys: At 23, he is older than Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington. In Minnesota’s nine wins this season, Johnson has averaged 8.4 shots and 12.3 points per game. In their 26 losses, he’s averaged 7.7 shots and 8.4 points. The Wolves need a third scorer to step up alongside Love and Beasley, and Johnson is as talented offensively as any of the realistic candidates.

Who do you think needs the ball more?

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  • Showtime

    I agree with Gasol, Dwight and Cousins. I don’t see too many Wolves games so I’ll pass on Wes Johnson but Brewer? I agree they desperately need a wing who can shoot (you can’t really play Korver as he gives up twice as much as he scores) but Brewer?

    Dude gets the Rondo treatment. He can’t shoot. At all. I don’t care how good Rose is … come playoff time it will get ugly for Chicago cuz you can’t play 3 on 5 as no one will guard Noah or Brewer.

    In the offseason Chicago should go after Shannon Brown. Dude has developed a pretty solid jumper, I believe he is from Chicago and we probably won’t be able to afford him next season.

  • john

    Did you just say that Shaq was important to the first 3 chips of Kobe career ???

    Damn , I hope not.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Lucas Shapiro

    Thaddeus Young?

  • This_Will_Hurt

    Andrew Bynum would like for you to “give him the f**king ball”

  • SayItAintSo

    Totally unrelated but this piece highlights how delicately LBJ is handled as compared to other stars: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college/2011/01/orange-bowl-officials-ban-stanford-band.html

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    How about Favors and ET when AI2 plays alongside him.

    @SayItAintSo

    WOOOOOW, banned them based on the POSSIBILITY that they MIGHT say something bad about LeBron. Wow. No wonder he is a prick, the media protect him like hes a 6 year old heir to a throne.

  • karizmatic

    Ehhh I don’t know if Gasol was AS important as Shaq…the first 3 of Kobe’s rings were Shaq’s. Shaq was the number one option on those teams…the last two of Kobe’s rings were Kobe’s he was the first option over Gasol…part of the reason they might be having issues is because the gap between Kobe and Gasol may actually be closing to a point where Kobe may need to give up the ball a little more than he is comfortable with.

  • Like A Bosh

    It’s not the media protecting LeBron in this case, it’s the Orange Bowl officials.

    I don’t have a problem with this. Stanford’s band is a bunch of dickheads anyway, from the O.J. thing mentioned in the article to going onto the field early (and not leaving) to almost ruin Cal’s kickoff return in their famous game.

  • DVS

    BEN GORDON!!!

  • http://www.conradburry.com Conrad

    How about “Give Me Some Damn Minutes!” from the mouth of Mr. Tyrus Thomas? It’s a damn shame to have a Top-20 efficient player playing no more than 25 min…

  • Let’s Go Hawks

    Al Horford. The hawks best Player. Could average 22 if we ran more through him.

  • JEAR18

    ohhh no!! … did u just mention the words SHAQ and three rings … in the same sentence with KOBE in it!! … if u listen closely … u can here all the kobe fans .. typing a comment all at once .. about to go off on here …

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    Tracy McGrady needs more shots. andrew Bogut needs more shots, and Nene Hilario needs more shots.

    Ronnie Brewer needs more PLAYING TIME, not more shots. There is nothing wrong with Rose shooting 20 times a game because they are usually good shots within the offense or when the clock is winding down and those idiots throw him the ball.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Andrew Bogut. In almost every game this season he’s shot over 50% while the Bucks as a team will shoot under 40%.

  • sh!tfaced

    Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Yao Ming, Evan Turner, Rashard Lewis, Baron Davis, and Hasheem Thabeet.

    These guys need more SHOTS – as in alcohol – because they are either too disappointing, too injured and/or just couldn’t live up to the hype…

  • top_gun

    FYI, Martell Webster is the third scorer on the Wolves.

  • stomping tom

    How about Blake Griffin. The Clips are the most exciting team to watch but also the most frustrating. I swear Eric Gordon is one of the most selfish players in the league and completely avoids passing to Griffin unless he absolutely has no other options. EG only looks for his own offense no matter how open Griffin is, or how important it is to score on a possession. I don’t care what his scoring numbers are, they need to ship him out for an unselfish SG, or package him and BD for a quality PG like cp3

    The Clips have lost large leads and many games for the sole reason that they won’t pass Griffin the ball. If he was taking 20-25 shots a game their record would be much better than it is right now.

  • SoCalGal

    Gasol needs to shoot when he has the ball as opposed to passing out. He gets plenty of touches, but gives up the ball or misses easy ones he should make. And really, “Denizens of Kobe Bryant’s Crawl Space”?

  • bookkwormmaster

    Marvin Williams! The Hawks would be that much better if he were more of a consistent contributor to the offense. He has arguably the best jumpshoot on our team. He’s a former 2nd overall pick but he’s like the 4th or 5th option on offense. They also relegate him to a defensive stopper/catch and shoot 3s kind of role player like Bruce Bowen when his talent clearly shows he’s much more capable than that.