SF Prospect: Kyle Korver

Published: June 29, 2013

With the New Orleans Pelicans still without an obvious option at the small forward position, we continue to update you on the possibilities. Let’s take a look at Kyle Korver.

The Basics
Age: 32
Height: 6’7
Wingspan: 6’9
Weight: 212
Experience: 9 years
Teams: 76ers, Jazz, Bulls, Hawks

Quick Hits
Deadly perimeter shooter
Not a good one-on-one defender, but solid within a system

Offensive Game
If you look up three-point specialist in the basketball dictionary (which totally exists), you’ll find a picture of Kyle Korver. In the past four seasons his lowest shooting percentage from downtown was 41.5, which is what the Hornets leader, Roger Mason Jr, shot this season. It’s also higher than resident three-point specialist Ryan Anderson has ever logged over the course of a season.

Korver rarely goes to the basket, taking just 33 of his 601 shot attempts (5.5%) from the painted area last season. Contrast that to the 414 three-pointers he hoisted, and well…

Here’s are some pictures if you don’t get it–

korver 2 korver shot chard

As well as being able to make it rain from downtown, Korver is also a pretty good passer from the perimeter. When his man closes out he does a fine job of locating another open player and almost always makes the proper decision. His better than two to one assist to turnover ratio last season isn’t out of the ordinary, and is an area where he’s shown marked improvement from when he entered the league. As a result of quality passing and rarely dribbling anywhere, Korver turns the ball over infrequently.

Defensive Game

Korver proved in Chicago two years ago that he could be part of a solid defensive system. The Synergy numbers backed him up, as the Bulls were roughly the same with him on the court as opposed to off. That said, he’s not the type of guy that you’d leave in ISO against LeBron with the game on the line. He has fast hands and is large enough to bang with the larger small forwards inside, but defense is an afterthought when talking about his basketball skills.


Kyle is a poor rebounder of the basketball for his size and position, pulling down  just under 4.7 rebounds per 40 throughout his career. He rarely grabs an offensive board, probably because he’s almost never in the paint on that side of the ball. Defensively he’s a bit better, but still underwhelming.

How He Fits
With the Pelicans backcourt currently consisting of two guards who both excel at getting into the paint, they should add a small forward who can stretch the floor to provide spacing. While Korver’s offensive game is relatively one dimensional, he still must be accounted for at all times while on the floor. If given just a few feet to operate from the outside, he’ll make you pay.

As I mentioned before, he proved capable of operating in an effective defense in Chicago. However, one complicating factor may exist in New Orleans– Ryan Anderson. It’s not at all clear that the two could coexist on the floor for extended periods of time. It just seems that the Pelicans would have a rough time stopping an athletic offense with multiple scoring threats. In a system that intends to pride itself on defense, Korver isn’t exactly the ideal addition to instill fear in the hearts of the LeBron’s and Carmelo’s of the world.

Overall I think Korver is a pretty poor fit as the starting small forward, and he’s going to cost way too much to bring on as a role player. Ryan Anderson simply plays too many minutes and does an adequate job filling a similar, albeit bigger, role.

While it would be excellent to watch Holiday-Gordon-Davis play the three man game while daring a defender to leave Korver or Anderson open on the outside, I just don’t think that it’s the way the Pelicans will go as a result of the defensive limitations.

Expected Contract

4 years 20 million

There’s no doubt that Korver will find a suitor willing to pay well for his fine tuned three-point ability. He’s expressed interest in getting one last long term deal to round out his career, and with three point shooting always in high demand, he’ll find the deal he’s looking for.


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