In the big series sweep of the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, Kyle Korver hit 11 threes and shot 55% from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers rushed to a three game lead, and Korver did a majority of his damage late in the series. In Game 4 at the Air Canada Center the 6'7 shooting guard from the small town of Pella, Iowa scored 18 points, went 4-6 from three, and scored 16 of those 18 points in the second quarter alone. It was a ridiculous show of marksmanship from one of the league's best shooters.
But, I don't have to just tell you what happened, you can watch it for yourself.
As you can see, Korver used all manner of shots to get his 16 points, but his staple is the final shot of the video. Standing in the corner, all alone, with no defender in sight, as he watches Kyrie/LeBron draw the attention of the opposition and then whip a pass his way.
This game had me thinking about a legendary gunslinger that the Cavaliers employed almost a decade ago.
So without further adieu, here is a complete breakdown of both players, including analysis on which player would be a better fit for the 2017 Cavaliers.
- Korver is not the most athletic dude. He rarely dunks. He doesn't want to dribble. The fastest Kyle ever gets moving is sprinting around four or five off-ball screens until he finds a soft spot in the defense. Wally, on the other hand, was a much better dunker. Wally looked quicker too, and of course, Wally looked better with the ball. But those assumptions are just based on my eyes, which aren't very good in the first place. So I took to DraftExpress.com to see exactly what these guys athleticism truly looked like.
(All statistics taken from Draft Combine when both players were at the height of their athletic abilities.)
Height (Without Shoes)
Korver: 6'6 ft.
Wally: 6'7 ft.
Korver: 211 lbs.
Wally: 243 lbs.
I think that Kyle is athletic enough to do what he does best. However, in his career, he has only taken 3,263 2-point shots compared to 5,740 for Wally. But I think the better ball-handling as well as the higher vertical, and the extra height and weight made it easier for Szczerbiak to finish in the paint.
ADVANTAGE: Comfortably Wally Szczerbiak.
Korver. Korver. Korver. Right? My eyes tell me Kyle is a much better shooter. I mean look at that stroke, it's like a hot knife slicing through warm butter.
So what do the statistics say?
My eyes were right in the athletic category, but again what do the numbers say in the shooting department.
- Career: 43%
- Totals: 2049/4754 (3PM/3PA)
- Career: 40%
- Totals: 590/1453
- Career: 88%
- Totals: 1138/1293
From the statistics, I derive that Wally was better at drawing the foul, but not nearly as good of a shooter when he actually went to the line. However, the argument between the two on 3-pt. shooting is not an argument. The only thing that can be said to help Szczerbiak's case would be that there were fewer threes attempted in the NBA during Wally's years compared to Korver's.
ADVANTAGE: Clearly Korver.
Defense (The Category to Decide It All)
I think Korver is a better defender because Kyle works his butt off to be in the right place at the right time. Both Kyle and Wally lack the quickness to compete with NBA guards and not get destroyed defensively, but Kyle works much harder. Wally is much more focused on the offensive end.
Here are a couple quotes from an NBA scout.
Korver - "A well below average defender who makes an effort, but lacks the physical tools to be effective. Doesn't have the lateral quickness to stay in front of most players at his position. Gets beaten to the rim regularly. Will work hard to close out shooters, but isn't quick enough to always contest the shot. Will dig down in the post to try [to] get strips and blow through screens. Tends to work himself out of position by being too aggressive with the way he helps over the course of a play, [which] compounds his problems.Gets an occasional steal because of how hard he works. Doesn't contribute much in the rebounding department."
Szczerbiak - "A mediocre defender who doesn't have the athleticism necessary to make an impact. Will give a decent effort on the defensive end, but tends to be focused on scoring. Doesn't create many turnovers. Not much of a presence on the glass either. Average half court defender due to his lack of lateral quickness. Definitely not playing because of his defensive skills."
- "DraftExpress Scout" Matt Kalmalsky
Korver seems to try harder, and they are both bad.
ADVANTAGE: Barely Korver.
WINNER: Kyle Elliot Korver
At the end of the day, Korver wins because he tries on defense, and is an all-time great three-point shooter. Wally was great, and we all loved him. Hopefully, this pointed out that it wasn't a complete blow-out. Wally is better at getting to the rim and ball-handling, and Korver is better at shooting. At the end of the day, this 2017 Cleveland Cavaliers team desperately needs the floor spacing that #26 provides. In other terms, don't bring a Szczerbiak to a Korver fight.