Hanga must go back to the drawing board

AHSan Antonio Spurs’ draftee Adam Hanga and Hungary recently went 0-4 in the additional qualifying rounds for the FIBA EuroBasket 2011. They lost both of their matches to Portugal and Finland.

As those games progressed, Hanga’s production began to decline in each one. Hanga is Hungary’s number one option and most gifted athlete. He logged 33.75 minutes per game for the Hungarians but his shooting percentages and point production all took a downward slope effect.

Here were Hanga’s averages in the additional qualifying tournament: 4 games, 9.5 points per game, 5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 turnovers, and 2 steals.

Now, the plus to Hanga’s game in those games was his improved defense. In one game he had four steals against Portugal, he doesn’t have fouling issues either as the most fouls he recorded in a game were three.

Hanga is an athlete in the open court, if you watched his highlight video that our own Jeff Garcia posted last month, you can see the type of raw talent Hanga possesses.

In the future, he’s going to be a plus for the Spurs out on the wing as either a two or a three. The problem that I observed from Hanga through these four games was that he “loves” his three point shot. I mean, he absolutely loves his three point shot.

Check out his shooting percentages:

  • Field goals: 13/39 -> 33%
  • Two point field goals: 8/20 -> 40%
  • Three point field goals: 5/19 -> 26%
  • Free throws: 7/16 -> 44%

As you can tell from his numbers, he only took one more two-point jumper or drive to the basket than he did three pointers.

Hanga is a player who gets fouled, and gets fouled often. When he drives to the basket it usually results in an and-one opportunity or a trip to the line for two free throws. The problem is that Hanga leaves a lot of those points on the table because he’s actually not a great free throw shooter.

Could it be in the back of his mind that he psyches himself out by saying, “I don’t want to drive to the basket because if I get fouled, I’m going to miss the free throws.”

I went a little further in my analysis to see how Hanga’s point production came about in a quarter-by-quarter investigation. I was curious to see if Hanga was a player that came out scoring, aggressive, and full of energy – or if Hanga was player who closed out the game in the fourth quarter.

Here’s his quarter-by-quarter breakdown from each game and brief summary of his shooting choices:

  • Vs. Portugal: 1Q: 6 points, 2Q: 3 points, 3Q: 2 points, 4Q: 0 points. Hanga made three of his three’s in the first half, he missed the next three in the second half.
  • Vs. Finland: 1Q: 1Q: 7 points, 2Q: 0 points, 3Q: 3 points, 4Q: 0 points. Hanga drove early and got to the foul line very aggressively, he settled for three’s in the second half.
  • Vs. Portugal: 1Q: 1 point, 2Q: 2 points, 3Q: 6 points, 4Q: 0 points. Hanga fell in love with his three point shot again and for the third consecutive game, he didn’t score in the fourth quarter.
  • Vs. Finland: 1Q: 4 points, 2Q: 2 points, 3Q: 2 points, 4Q: 0 points. In this game, Hanga struggled by missing layups and again, three point shots. He went scoreless for the fourth time in the fourth quarter.

Now I know this is only a small sample after just four games of play. But if you remember, this was for an opportunity to play against some of Europe’s best teams such as Tony Parker and France, The Serge-Gasol brothers of Spain, and even NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki of Germany.

Had Hanga and Hungary made the Eurobasket, we could have seen what kind of production he could produce against players at the next level.

For now, Hanga will have to go back to his internal drawing board and find a way to work on his free throw shooting because driving to the basket and getting fouled is one of his greatest strengths, but making those free shots is one of his biggest weaknesses.

(Photo: Fiba.com) 

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX and the 2013 NBA Finals.

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