Ball Don't Lie - NBA

(I love that picture. You think they're discussing opt-out clauses?)

Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the San Antonio Spurs are the front-runners to obtain Corey Maggette's services, and that he'd take in the full mid-level exception from San Antonio, and there's very little not to like about it.

The 2007 champs can use a dash of athleticism, somebody else to finish on the break, and another competent shooter. Maggette doesn't need another huge payday, and will be taking less money to play big minutes for a championship contender. Good on him. 

There's one major thing that Corey needs to work on, and I say this knowing full well that - as a player who will turn 29 this November - Corey more or less is what he is at this stage. That's why I'm not mentioning is iffy defense. This will make or break the signing, however: In order to seamlessly fit in San Antonio's offense, as likely a third or fourth option most of the time, Maggette is going to have to learn how to shoot from the corners of the court.

Corey can shoot, he's streaky, but the stroke is there and teams have to guard him. But if you're to play the small forward spot in Gregg Popovich's, even in a point-forward capacity as Brent Barry has at times, you're going to have to nail that corner trey. Because that's where Coach Pop sticks you. And Maggette rarely sticks to that spot.

What's odd is that I've long known Maggette as one of the few NBA players that appears to love that "tough-angled" (to quote Marv Albert) shot from the far elbow extended, especially on the left side of the court. Because he's such an adept right-hand driver, and downright miserable with his left, Corey is allowed room to shoot 25 feet from the basket, he seems to take that pull up three-pointer more than any other player in the league from that spot, and he knocks in a ton of them.

Luckily, I have NBA.com's Hot Spots data to re-assure me that I'm not crazy. Maggette went 32-60 (53 percent) from that spot on the left side of the court last year, as opposed to hitting 33 percent from the straight away three-pointer, and 30.8 percent from the right elbow extended.

Damning for Spurs fans, however, is his marks from the shorter and easier spot in the corner. Maggette hit 6-16 (37.5 percent) from the left corner (which technically includes part of the 23' 9" inch location according to NBA.com, which accounts for his solid mark), but shot just five three-pointers from the right corner last year, making one.

Now, part of this has a lot to do with Mike Dunleavy's offense, which loves to stick an athletic wing in the left corner and have him either attempt a long shot or drive baseline, but that shouldn't warm the hearts of Spurs fans. As we've seen with Sean Elliott, Bruce Bowen, and Brent Barry for years, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich loves to employ the same ideals, while sticking his small forward in the same spot and not having him drive much from it.

Bruce Bowen, it should be said, shot 83-195 combined from both corners last year, a killer 42.6 mark. Bowen may have been an offensive zero everywhere else, but that's an incredible potent thing to be able to boast at a position that is sometimes an offensive afterthought.

We're not saying this a bum signing or something that will hurt San Antonio. Far from it. Picking up a player like Corey for the average salary, even if it is an uneasy fit at times, is a fantastic move for San Antonio. And if he doesn't pan out, then his MLE salary will be easy to move. We'd rather not see that, however. Still, Maggette's 7-21 mark from the corners in 2007-08 has to improve. Has to.

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