The Orlando Magic are probably pretty pleased with the performance of rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson, but the St. Bonaventure product certainly has some work to do if he is to improve as his first professional season progresses. ESPN analyst David Thorpe, who has worked with several NBA players, including Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Martin, points out that Nicholson shoots too early once he catches a pass on the perimeter.
"[T]o help his team now," Thorpe writes, "he does not have to keep shooting those jumpers with 15 seconds or so on the clock." Thorpe points out that Nicholson's shooting early in the shot-clock may make sense for some teams, but that his approach runs counter to Orlando's philosophy; the Magic aren't trying to play at a fast pace.
Some data support Thorpe's assertion about Nicholson's quick trigger finger: the 23-year-old has taken 31 percent of his shots in the first 10 seconds of the clock, according to 82games.com.
So how can Nicholson change his approach to best suit his team's? Thorpe has a simple suggestion:
So Nicholson would be better served, as would his team, if he made a quick swing pass on catching the ball in space with over 10 seconds on the clock, then perhaps followed his pass to get into some ball-screen action.
Another option for Nicholson after making a swing pass, says Thorpe, is to head to the post, where he can back his man down, as he's shown a polished back-to-basket game in the first 27 appearances of his NBA career.