Outside of Quincy Pondexter (his play and his attitude toward Dave Jorger), Jerryd Bayless comes in second on my "most disappointing play of the season" list. After what could be considered his career-best season in 2012-13, Bayless' has followed that up with poor play to start this year off.
And it all begins with his shooting numbers. Defensively he's never been a stall-wart, though he gives effort, and we all know he'll never be the offensive playmaker some want him to be. But he'll always be able to score. Well at least that's his niche in the league.
In 15 games played, J-Bay is shooting 34 percent from the field (career-low), 25 percent from three (career-low) and 38 percent on two-pointers (another career-low).
So I decided to look at every field goal Bayless has taken this season and a bevy of shooting stats to see where the troubles stem from.
Comparing To Last Year
First and foremost, to see the fall in production with a bit of perspective, here are Bayless' shooting numbers from this season compared to last year:
|This Season||Last Season|
|In the Paint (Non-RA)||25.0%||27.3%|
The biggest drop-off has been his production around the paint. For an NBA player, 46 percent in the restricted area really isn't a good thing. Last season the league average at the rim according to Hoop Data was 64.6 percent. His three-point shooting has dropped also which is a blow to the team due to having few capable shooters on the team. Early it is, and it'll take a larger sample size for me to accept fifteen games of data as concrete evidence on who Bayless will be for the rest of the season. But improvement is needed going forward, at least until Marc Gasol returns, bringing stability to an already league-average offense.
Pre- and Post-Injury
Another important factor in Bayless' season is how he's responded to the sprained knee injury suffered against the New Orleans Pelicans.
This is what you'd usually expect from a player coming off an injury. But even prior to the Pelicans game, Bayless wasn't providing much for the Grizzlies. The proper question is when does Bayless return to the pre-injury form. We don't know his body nor how serious the knee was, but ten games in somethings gotta shake.
Boston vs. the World
I don't know what Danny Ainge or Larry Bird or Bill Russell did to Jerryd Bayless, but he loves to show up against them in games. Last season Bayless hit four threes en route to 30 points, his second highest scoring output in his career. This season the high-scoring output has continued against gang green.
Against Boston: 2 games, 12-21 FG (57%), 2-6 3P (33%), 37 points
Against Everyone Else: 13 games, 22-79 FG (27%), 7-29 (24%), 67 points
Unless Bayless has a clause in his contract that only allows him to perform against the Celtics, he needs to improve versus the other 29 teams.
The Patented Pull-Up
During the victory over the Phoenix Suns, Griz commentator Brevin Knight spoke on how Bayless is most effective as a scorer.
"Off the right hand he is a decidedly different player going to his right hand than going to his left and they can run more plays for him doing that. See can they get him in that rhythm to score the ball at home."
That made me wonder if 1) this statement was true and 2) how effective Jerryd was in that pull-up, so I checked the film and this is what I came up with:
|Pull-Up Left Hand||5/17||29%|
|Pull-Up Right Hand||10/24||42%|
Well, Brevin was right. Not only does Bayless take more dribble pull-ups on the right hand, but he's converting the shots at a higher clip. I wonder if the Griz video scout team knows this. It could be what helps Bayless get out of this funk as he'll be taking the higher percentage shot.
Here is how he performed in other situations outside of the dribble-pull up:
I'm not sure how Bayless comes out of this slump. There wasn't enough evidence within the tape to conclude that the problem was mechanical or if David Joerger's offense was putting him in poor situations to excel.
To simply put it, he's just off. But he needs to be better. For his sake as he's playing in a contract year and for the teams sake to help cover for the loss of Marc Gasol. Six of the next seven games are at home, so that should help him break out of the slump. We'll see.
All Stats pulled from Basketball-Reference and NBA Stats