Player Capsules 2012, #229-231: Quincy Pondexter, Kurt Thomas, Paul Millsap

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Quincy Pondexter, Kurt Thomas, and Paul Millsap.

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Follow Quincy Pondexter on Twitter at @QuincyPondexter.

Quincy Pondexter isn't a terrible player, or even a particularly bad one. His stats aren't great, but he had a definite use for last year's Grizzlies team, and his statistics underrate the fact that he's a very decent wing defender. Off-ball, on-ball, whatever -- Pondexter has solid defensive fundamentals, with a good handle on creatively slipping out of screens and a relatively solid sense of space. Doesn't foul a ton for a wing, too, which means he can stay on the court in pressure situations without giving an inch. Very reasonable talent. Offensively, his three is a bit broken (as I'll discuss in a second), but he does have a decent rate of rim-conversion (and an above-average talent at getting to the rim, as well!) and a decent long two that would tend to imply that he may shoot better later in his career. His usage is relatively low and he isn't very heavily utilized on offense, but he has some upside value as a 3-and-D player in his future. If he can learn to shoot threes, that is.

The issue with Pondexter is less what he is and more what he isn't, much like the general problem with the last few years of Grizzlies. For years, the Grizzlies have needed better three point shooters. NEED them. Their offense -- as is -- has the potential to be a fantastic top-10 unit, if only they'd properly fill it out and get a few players who can knock down a consistent three around their two bruising low-post threats. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies have continued to pick up 3-and-D players ad infinitum that produce the D, but can't really make threes. At least not outside of extremely situational roles. In the case of Pondexter, his 30% three point shooting has less upside than you'd perhaps think. Pondexter understands that he isn't a fantastic shooter, and as such, he takes virtually all of his three pointers from the corners. That means he's taking, essentially, the easiest three point shots he can. Last season, exactly 70% of his three point shots came from the corners, the closest and easiest three point shot.

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