Nowadays in the NBA, it’s more about how you score rather than efficiently putting the ball in the basket. Everyone wants to see alley-oop dunks or step-back circus-shot three-pointers. If it doesn’t make the Top 10 plays, does anyone even care?
Kyle Korver is the exact opposite. He has perfected all the lost-arts of basketball. Forget a highlight dunk, Korver is just looking to come off a screen and bury a (probably contested) jump shot.
Korver’s surface-level stat line is no where near blowing you away– 13.2 pts, 4.2 rebs, and 2.9 asts. But when you look deeper, you see a pure jump shooter at 51.5 percent from the field this season– an unheard of number for someone who relies solely on long-range shots. He’s also shooting the three-pointer like a layup at 53.6 percent. At the charity stripe, he knocks down 92 percent of his free throws.
The NBA has never, in it’s history, had a player shoot 50-50-90.
This efficient stat-line has resulted in wins for the Atlanta Hawks. They are the huge surprise of the NBA, sitting on a 34-8 record, putting them in first in the East by 5.0 games, they’re also currently on a 13 game win-streak.
Recently, Korver has gotten more recognition than usual as a result of the Hawks dominance. Some have even thrown his name into the All-Star conversation, but his deadly marksmanship is nothing new.
Korver has always been a coveted role player throughout his tenure in the league. This is because of his ability to shoot like no other. Last year his streak of consecutive three-pointers finally came to an end at 127 games. The Hawks’ small forward didn’t go a game without a three-pointer for a season and a half, a stat that makes you check to see if you read the last sentence correctly.
In fact, Korver is such a deadly shooter, he shoots at higher percentage and makes more three’s per 36 minutes than Ray Allen–the all-time leader in three-pointers made. The Creighton Alumnus also holds the record for highest three-point percentage in a season at 53.6 in 2009-2010.
Despite Korver’s immense value, he has bounced around quite frequently throughout his years in the league, originally playing with the 76ers, Jazz, and then the Bulls. Now with the Atlanta Hawks, he has his best chance in his career to go deep into the playoffs and maybe get himself a championship ring.
Just like fine wine, the 33-year old veteran seems to get better with age. As long as the Hawks continue to soar high, and Korver continues to put the ball in the basket with alarming efficiency, the Korver recognition will continue to grow. His ability to knock down three’s in his sleep will always give him a place in the league, giving us the opportunity to watch the not-so-exciting player for years to come. As long as Korver continues to put the “Special” in “Specialist”, the Hawks, and his legacy, will only improve.