The New York Knicks invested $16 million over a player-friendly two seasons in shooting guard Arron Afflalo. Afflalo has a player option for 2016-17, which is an illustration of how much faith New York has placed in the former Pac-10 Player of the Year.
The good news for Phil Jackson and the Knicks: Afflalo feels right at home in the role he’s been assigned.
Afflalo has carved out a strong reputation over the course of his eight NBA seasons. The 30-year-old can score from all over the court and defend at a respectable level, which will be the key to his success in 2015-16.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Afflalo is ready to turn his mid-range game into his proverbial layup line in 2015-16.
"The veteran watched plenty of film on the New York Knicks’ offense during his absence.“I felt very informed,” he said.As such, Afflalo knows to expect plenty of opportunities in the post and in the mid-range this season.“Yeah, those have to be layups for me this year,” Afflalo said. “And that’s always been a strength of mine. … The post area, the mid-range area, when I really get my legs under me, I want to take advantage [there].”"
Often recognized for his 3-point shooting ability, Afflalo’s underrated in the sense that he can do a bit of everything as a scorer.
Afflalo’s shooting touch is old school in the sense that he operates from mid-range. In an era where the mid-range jump shot is something of a lost art, Afflalo is one of the players who’s helped keep it alive.
When tasked with stepping beyond the arc, Afflalo is just as dangerous.
2014-15 was something of a down season, but Afflalo’s healthy and one-team 2013-14 campaign was nothing short of impressive. He averaged 18.2 points on a slash line of .459/.427/.815.
That’s close to what New York is expecting of the veteran off-guard.
In catch-and-shoot situations, Afflalo was No. 10 in field goal percentage and No. 16 in total points scored during hte 2013-14 season, per NBA.com. Afflalo also cracked the Top 25 in points via pull-up jumpers, all the while ranking No. 2 in field goal percentage, per NBA.com.
During his 53 games with the Nuggets, Afflalo’s 0.99 points per post-up ranked No. 5 amongst players with at least 100 attempts, per NBA.com. That number declined in Portland, but his role also changed to more of a perimeter-oriented attack.
He’s now playing for a Knicks team that ranked No. 7 in post-ups in 2014-15, per NBA.com.
Whether creating his own offense or coming off of screens, Afflalo thrives in the exact manner the Triangle Offense requires him to. 2014-15 was a rough season for Afflalo, but he was banged up and played for two teams in the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Denver was a mess from beginning to end. In Portland, Afflalo achieved some measure of redemption by shooting 40.0 percent from 3-point range.
If Afflalo is as comfortable as he sounds in the Triangle Offense, he could make 2014-15 a distant memory by bringing back the glory of 2013-14.
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