The Kurz of Cleveland and Other Stuff Too

August 17th, 2009 by John Krolik

Before we go any further: you should really read this excellent post by Eddy Rivera of Third Quarter Collapse. It’s on whether or not the Magic should retire Shaq’s jersey, and it’s an interesting look at what Shaq can bring to a basketball franchise in both the short and long term. The comments and poll results are worth a look as well.

The big news of the weekend over in Cavsland is that the one and only Rob “dangerous” Kurz has been signed to a non-guaranteed contract and will try to secure a roster spot at Cavs training camp this year.

All I can really think of by way of commentary at the moment is making puns (“I’m trying to Kurz my enthusiasm for this signing!”), so I’ll let commenter “Chris” lead us off:

“I think you should comment on how Ferry is basically saying we need someone on our team just like……….. Danny Ferry! Both long white dudes with no inside game that love to shoot the three ball. Ican totally picture F erry looming in his office dwelling on what’s missing on our team….. “HEY! they don’t have anyone like ME yet!”

striking resemblance:
kurz: 6-9 / 232 lbs. 3pt%: .395
ferry: 6-10 / 235 lbs. 3pt%: .393″

Okay, that’s freakishly similar. Top-notch work, Chris. You win nothing.

Kurz is good at two things: having a head that’s far away from the ground and making three-pointers. Past that, he’s not giving you a whole lot to get excited about. Kurz is obviously an excellent three-point shooter, and with a 53.6% mark on “inside” shots, he’s actually a decent finisher around the rim for a sniper.

The main issue with Kurz is that three-point specialists are expected to do nothing other than score efficiently, and Kurz didn’t score efficiently last season. His 51.3% TS was below the league average, and Kurz only shot 38.9% from the field. (A reminder: Kurz shot 39.3% from deep.)

The culprit here is that Kurz seems to love taking assisted mid-range jumpers, and sucks at them. 93% of his jumpers were assisted last season, and he only had an eFG% of 42.2% on jumpers. When you consider his eFG% on three-pointers was right at 60%, that’s a pretty inexcuseable figure. To be effective in the NBA, Kurz has to learn that inside the three-point line is no-man’s land, and just sit in the corner and wait for the ball.

As Kevin Arnovitz noted in his Las Vegas Twitter feed, it’s hard to judge Kurz’s contributions to the Warriors last year, seeing as to how he was mainly used when Don Nelson wanted to punish somebody. His +/- and opponent PER numbers are pretty terrible, but the Warriors are such a wonky context it’s impossible to draw any real conclusions from that situational data-it’s like trying to find the best actors in Southland Tales.

Arnovitz also noted on TrueHoop today that Kurz is “a better defender than advertised.” Saying a sweet-shooting 6-9 white guy who’s only played for Don Nelson is better than advertised defensively is kinda like saying Marlboro reds are healthier than advertised, but I’ll take what I can get.

The most heartening thing I can really say about Kurz right now is that Steve Novak took a while to find a groove in the NBA, and now he’s the most lights-out frontcourt shooting specialist in the league today…or he will be, when somebody signs him. So get excited, I think!

Overall, Kurz is a guy Brown can plug in every few games when seeing power forwards get left alone and brick mid-range shots drives him crazy, and he needs his curiosity sated for 7 minutes or so. Kurz gives some lineups some flexibility, puts a little more pressure on JJ Hickson, but will likely not see significant minutes. Until tomorrow, folks.