Don’t Underestimate The Kyle Korver Effect

For all of the Atlanta Hawks team successes, one man — nay, one effect — stands out. On his current pace, Kyle Korver stands to go down as the greatest single-season shooter of all time with a 51.5/53.6/92.2 split and a True Shooting Percentage of 73.9. And he also happens to be the gravitational pull that has the Hawks ranked first in the NBA.

For starters, he ranks second in Real Plus-Minus (RPM) among shooting guards with 4.37. RPM, as ESPN makes it out, is a: “Player’s estimated on-court impact on team performance, measured in net point differential per 100 offensive and defensive possessions. RPM takes into account teammates, opponents and additional factors.” His sky-high contributions are also seen with Wins Above Replacement (WAR), or, the estimated team wins attributable to an individual player. In terms of WAR, he’s third among shooting guards – above guys like Klay Thompson, Danny Green, and Monta Ellis.

And his effect translates to other facets.

Though his teammate Jeff Teague is lauded as the Hawks’ most important piece, there’s a negligible difference between them when it comes to Win Shares. Teague stands at 5.3 while Korver shows a just-as-respectable 5.0. If Win Shares isn’t your advanced metrics cup of tea, Korver stands at 7.5 Wins Produced, or, just about where surefire All-Star Damian Lillard produces.

Much of what the Hawks do depends on the constant presence of danger Korver presents for teams around the perimeter. As Korver’s performance improves, so does that of the Hawks.

In the month of January, when the Hawks have cemented a thirteen-game winning streak, Korver has shot an inhuman 57.8 percent from three-land at a pace of 6.4 attempts per game, or .6 more attempts than his season average.

To dig deeper, let’s look at his oncourt numbers.

When Korver is active for Atlanta, the team is posting 108.5 points per game (good for second-most in the league). When resting, however, their PPG falls to 90.7 (good for 29th in the league). In terms of point differentials, Korver leads his team at a lofty plus-13.6, which means that he’s helping his unit outscore all opponents by a considerable margin whenever playing.

It begs comment that much of Korver’s own success is largely reliant on the quality of shooters, post-game presences, and drive-and-kick wizards like Teague making up a very cohesive unit. But, given his historic pace, Korver appears to be a force onto himself.

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