If you feel like Norman Powell hits a shot every time Marc Gasol finds him with a picture-perfect pass, you're not alone. I felt that way too, which is why I went stat hunting to see if it's true.
Lo and behold, the numbers back up what our eyes have been telling us.
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According to NBA Stats, Gasol has thrown over 1,800 passes to his teammates this season and no one has benefitted from them more than Powell.
Powell has received over 200 passes from Gasol, with over 40 percent of those passes resulting in a shot attempt. On those shot attempts, Powell is shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from 3-point range.
Only Patrick McCaw, Matt Thomas and Chris Boucher have shot as well from the field off a Gasol pass, but theirs are on a much smaller sample size than Powell's numbers.
Powell's efficiency off a Gasol pass could lead you to believe that that's the reason for his uptick in production when he starts as opposed to coming off the bench, but when you look at his numbers off a pass from the other regular starters, you begin to scratch your head.
Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are top three in touches on the team. The offence, for the most part, will run through them. And while Powell has still shown the ability to score off their looks, the drop off from his efficiency on a Gasol pass to one from either of the three high usage Raptors is steep.
|Pass From||Total Passes||FGM||FGA||FG%|
Now that the Raptors are fully healthy, it appears that Powell has struggled to find a way in Orlando. Through the first five games of the bubble, he was averaging 11.2 points on 38.0 percent shooting from the field. He might have gotten out of that shooting slump with a big night against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Again, the questions around whether he's better off as a starter came up following his performance against Milwaukee, but maybe it should be less about whether he starts and more about who he plays with.
So far this season, Powell has played alongside five other Raptors more than he has with Gasol. The immediate thought would be that that has to do with the injuries both of them have suffered this season, but Powell has been in the lineup for every game Gasol has played in. And yet, Powell has logged more minutes on the court with Lowry, VanVleet and Serge Ibaka despite playing in fewer games with each of them than he has with Gasol.
|On the floor with...||Games Played||Total minutes|
If the best version of Powell comes playing with Gasol, maybe we need to see more of the two of them together going forward.
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