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Luke Babbitt is exactly as advertised, ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’

August 7th, 2017 at 8:30 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday evening, reports surfaced that the Atlanta Hawks had agreed to sign forward Luke Babbitt on a one year deal.

Babbitt is a seven year NBA veteran (drafted in 2010) and Atlanta is his fourth NBA stop, having spent time with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans and the Miami Heat.

Spending the 2016-17 season with the Heat, Babbitt averaged 4.8 points per game on 40% shooting from the field and 41% from behind the arc in an average of 15 minutes a game.

Babbitt is known amongst NBA fans for one reason: shooting.

Over his seven year career, Babbitt is a 40% three-point shooter. That’s his skill, why he has stuck in the NBA for as long as he has, and will continue to stick around for the foreseeable future.

While Babbitt may have only one distinguishable, high-end NBA skill, he’s one of the best in the league at what he does. Over the past few seasons, there aren’t many players who have shot better from three-point range than Babbitt in the entire league.

No shooter is identical in this league. Each have their own quirks and tendencies, and we’re going to look at some of Babbitt’s. We’ll also look at other aspects of Babbitt’s game and how he’ll fit in Atlanta.

On-ball offense/shooting

We will start with his shooting, however, since it’s the main reason why he’s in Atlanta and the main scoring aspect of Babbitt’s offensive game.

It’s obvious that Babbitt has range (you only need to look at the stats to understand that) but he also shows extended range and is able to make shots from a foot or so behind the three-point line.

Babbitt is also more than capable of knocking down tough, contested shots.

Neither the length/contest of Kevin Durant

…nor Jabari Parker phase Babbitt as he swishes from outside:

One thing that played to Babbitt’s strengths in Miami was that the Heat had two guards â?? in the form of Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters â?? who could penetrate and collapse the defense which led to open three-point opportunities.

Babbitt was one such beneficiary:

Not the greatest defense played by Michael Beasley there but a nice shot-fake used by Babbitt to eliminate the already scrambling Beasley from this possession.

Penetration creates opportunities, and this time it’s Dragic finding his way inside the paint and Babbitt, again, benefits:

Though the Hawks only really have the one consistent penetrator in the form of Dennis Schröder, the young German should be able to create some opportunities for Babbitt as Dragic and Waiters did using his blistering speed.

Unlike his former teammate Dion Waiters, Babbitt is smart when it comes to deciding when to shoot the basketball â?? he makes the right play. He’s not going force a shot that isn’t there or shoot for the sake of shooting.

He’ll either get rid of the ball or, if the offense allows, pump-fake and step inside the arc to create a better shot:

Because he possesses a legitimate threat from outside which defenses have to respect, the pump-fake opens up more scoring opportunities for Babbitt, and every little helps if you’re seeing limited court time as Babbitt surely will.

Another thing Babbitt likes to do on offense is pick-and-pop, i.e. setting a screen and fading behind the three-point line:

We already looked at this play when we were looking at how Babbitt can hit contested shots, but this time we want to look at the action before he hits the three â?? he sets the screen and fades away behind the arc:

Nothing revolutionary, but just something that he seems to like to do and finds effective.

And, finally (at least in terms of Babbitt’s own on-ball offense), Luke is capable of taking it inside but it’s not something he does too often…

Again, he can do …

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks, August 4, 2017, Bucks, David Lee, Dion Waiters, Domantas Sabonis, Draymond Green, Enes Kanter, Ersan Ilyasova, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Goran Dragic, Jabari Parker, James Johnson, John Collins, John Henson, Josh Richardson, Kent Bazemore, Kevin Durant, Luke Babbitt, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Morris, Miami Heat, Michael Beasley, Mike Budenholzer, Mike Muscala, New Orleans Pelicans, Pau Gasol, Portland Trail Blazers, Rodney McGruder, Russell Westbrook, Spending the 2016-17 season with the Heat, Spurs, Taurean Prince, Thunder, Tim Hardaway Jr., Tony Snell, Victor Oladipo

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