Portland Trail Blazers guard Shabazz Napier is drawing attention outside of the Rose City with his high-percentage offensive attack and double-digit scoring average. Zach Lowe of ESPN features Napier as the #2 item in his weekly NBA column, “10 Things I Like and Don’t Like”.
Like Kemba Walker, Napier has discovered that his most obvious limitation -- his height -- can be an advantage. He scrunches through double-teams on the pick-and-roll, hunching so low as he skitters through traffic that he almost vanishes.
After demonstrating Napier’s technique via video, Lowe continues:
The craft has translated to his shooting. Napier has hit 63 percent of shots within the restricted area after failing to crack even 46 percent -- hideous for a player of any size -- in any prior season.
Napier’s leap has unlocked some fun new lineups for Terry Stotts. The Blazers have outscored opponents by 22 points per 100 possessions in 140 with C.J. McCollum, Damian Lillard, and Napier on the floor, 30th among almost 1,900 trios who have logged at least 100 minutes together, per NBA.com.
Lowe’s list also includes former Trail Blazers point guard Patty Mills, Chris Paul’s advanced passing ability, and a horrible 2018 NBA All-Star campaign from the New York Knicks.