Player Capsules 2012, #316-318: Brendan Haywood, Klay Thompson, Landry Fields

As our summer mainstay, Aaron was writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. As the summer dies down and the leaves turn, this quixotic quest of a series has happily reached the last third. But it's certainly not done yet! Today we continue with Brendan Haywood, Klay Thompson, and Landry Fields.

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Follow Brendan Haywood on the road to ChampCats glory.

Of all the pickups the Bobcats made this summer, there were few I liked more than the acquisition of Brendan Haywood. It's not very complicated to see why. The Bobcats managed to ink Haywood -- a league average center -- for just $7.6 million over four years. Read that again. Four years, $7.6 million. Scarce few players in the league are inked to deals that pay as little as that for more than one or two years -- in Haywood's case, the Bobcats picked up an aging body with decent fundamentals for the NBA equivalent of packing peanuts over the remaining duration of his career. The nice thing about a contract like that is that it fits into the books of virtually any contender, which makes Haywood a good bet to be moved around a bit during the duration of the deal. And indeed, that's the main benefit -- Haywood helps the Bobcats in the short-term for reasons I'll get to in a second, but so long as his game stays at replacement level, he's ALSO going to be an important trade chip that could net the Bobcats a pick and a prospect down the line from a team looking to shed a dead-weight salary center but needing to take back a replacement level guy to do it. Haywood's price makes him a perfect trade asset for that sort of a situation, and it demonstrates as well as anything the myriad ways Rich Cho has been playing the long game in his tenure as Bobcats GM to-date.

As for his game? The Bobcats have been surprisingly tolerable this year, and it's not a stretch to give Haywood a great deal of credit for their revival. No, Haywood isn't some great superstar. He's not going to be setting any franchise records or making the Mavericks wish they'd kept him -- he's not worth what he was getting paid in Dallas in any way whatsoever, and he never was going to be. But Haywood isn't below average either. While his offensive game (or more accurately stated, his complete nonexistence thereof) leaves much to be desired, as a general rule, Haywood doesn't go too far over his limits. He takes over 60% of his shots at the rim, "shooting" a roughly-big-man-average 67% from that range. It's good that he takes that much offense from outside that range, because from every other area of the court, Haywood is absurdly bad at scoring -- watching Haywood shoot a jump shot is funny if you don't like his team, but akin to flaying your own flesh if you're not. The man shot 22% on jump shots in 2012, and trust me, it looked worse. He also shot 35% on his awkward-looking poorly balanced hook shots, and perhaps most glaringly, showed a complete lack of an ability to convert tip-in at-rim plays (finishing just 7 of 26 on tip-in shots -- 26%).

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