OKC’s big man maintains the block figure (3 per game) that we’ve come to expect of him. But he’s become an even bigger factor on the offensive side of things this year.
Ibaka sits on averages of 14.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg, both career highs. He’s improved noticeably on his previous season averaging 9.1 and 7.3. Had it not been for guys like a certain bearded ballaholic in Houston, Ibaka would be a strong candidate for most improved player of the year.
His improvement should be more concerning to coaches across the league, as it hasn’t been a one dimensional shift. With Ibaka’s athleticism and great hands, one couldn’t be faulted for assuming his touches near the basket are responsible for his increased efficiency.
On the contrary, Ibaka is gaining notoriety for his improved shooting touch from 10-15 feet and the added, green-lit three pointer.
From the mid range of 10-15 feet, Ibaka’s previous season saw him shoot an unimpressive 25.6%. This year, as we approach the mid way point of the season, he’s knocking down 55.6% of those attempts.
Head coach Scott Brooks is also expecting Ibaka to find his touch from three. he’s already taken 15 more three pointers than he shot all of last season. Indicative of his confidence in Ibaka’s development, Brooks seems content with letting Ibaka put it up from three.
His current figure from deep stands at just 31.6%. Much like his offensive leap this season, Ibaka is expected to improve on that range, making him another dangerous part of OKC’s offensive maelstrom.
H/T to Jeff Caplan
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also an editor at Hoops Nation and contributes to Les Snobs. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim