Shabazz Napier is quite the luxury

Shabazz Napier is the 4th lead ball handler on the Nets. Fourth. D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, and Spencer Dinwiddie are all ahead of him. Yet Napier himself is more than capable of being a backup lead guard. As a result, when Brooklyn loses both Dinwiddie and LeVert to injuries, the offense doesn’t suffer a massive drop off.

Among point guards this season, Napier is 25th in PIPM and 35th in RPM.ย That puts him between a low end starting point guard and a high end back up. In fact, you’ll notice an interesting name sitting 36th in RPM among point guards: Spencer Dinwiddie.

Napier is making $1.9 million this season and Brooklyn holds a $1.8 million club option on Napier for next year. If Dinwiddie is an absolute bargain at about an ~$11.3 million annual value, then what in the world is the proper adjective to describe Napier at below $2 million?

So what has Napier been doing this season to provide such a luxury to the Nets?

Outside Shooting

Napier fits right in with Brooklyn’s quest to be Rockets East. The former UConn Husky is taking 50.1% of his shots from beyond the arc this year. That is only a minor uptick on his career 47.4% three-point attempt rate.

The career 35.9% shooter from distance is hitting 34.8% of his three-point attempts this season. However, there is no lacking in terms of volume. Napier is getting up 7.9 attempts from behind the line per 36 minutes.

Perimeter shooting is one of three main pillars making up Napier’s value this season. Per our grading system, he is posting a B grade or better in three categories among all players.

As previously stated, Napier is showing no hesitation in pulling the trigger from distance. He is shooting 37% on 2.4 pull up three-point attempts per game.

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That last one looks an awful lot like something that happens quite frequently down in Houston.

One on One

Napier is lightening quick, and as a result he victimizes defenders. He also has a good feel for creating space against larger defenders.

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He spent a whole game terrorizing the Hornets.

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His quickness shows up in other areas, as he is able to create so much separation on his step back.

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Add in some Kyrie-Lite handles and on a consistent basis Napier will make you say “damn that was nice.”

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Dime Dropper

For his career, Napier has a B grade in our playmaking category. His A grade this year would be his best season yet if it holds. His current 21.1% assist rate would be the second best mark in a season in his career, and the best in years where he logged at least 800 minutes.

In a recent game against Denver, Napier was just showing off.

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That was absolutely nothing new, however, as Napier has been dropping And1 style dimes all year.

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Career Bests

Napier will post multiple career bests this season if his numbers hold. Right now he has the lowest turnover rate of his career (12%) despite his highest usage rate (24.3%). He is improving his previous best in points per 36 minutes (15.3) by 28% (19.6).

Not only is Napier launching threes like a Rocket, he is getting to the line like one as well. His current free throw attempt rate of 35.8% would crush his previous career high of 26.8%.

With Dinwiddie and LeVert under team control for at least two more seasons, Napier’s minuscule $1.8 million team option for next year may allow the Nets to move on from D’Angelo Russell in free agency should Russell command an offer sheet the team is not willing to match.

What a luxury.

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