Young Pups Volume 2: Greivis Vasquez

Published: February 1, 2012

Is Greivis Vasquez all flash? Or is there some substance to his game on the court?

I’ll be honest, I want to like Vasquez so, so much. I really want him to be my favorite player. I also really want to learn another language; In the future it might happen, but right now I’m not quite there yet. Let’s break it down in this week’s edition of the Young Pups.

Fighting Inconsistency

Inconsistent is the word that seems to sum up Vasquez. There is no denying his talent but right now it seems to be more flash than substance. He has a variety of no-look and behind the back passes in his repertoire. When they work it is an awesome, highlight reel type material. When they don’t it’s a turnover and two points the other way. It also makes me want to pull my hair out. This inconsistent style of play was one of the big knocks on him coming into the draft. He currently has a 2.18 assist to turnover ratio which is about average for point guard, but Hornets fans have been spoiled by point guard play these last few years and merely average just won’t do.

The good thing is that many of those turnovers can be cut down if Vasquez just focuses on making the simple play in front of him. One of Vasquez’s biggest strengths has actually hinders his overall game. Vasquez has tremendous court vision and that causes him to make passes into lanes and spots which his teammates don’t see. Chris Paul was a master of getting the ball to players in spots they liked. Right now, Vasquez is putting the ball into the right spots, there just doesn’t happen to be a player there. As he plays and practices more with his teammates, the Hornets will understand each other’s tendencies which will cut down on these types of turnovers.

Flashes of Brilliance

Vasquez brings a large amount of energy to the team. He is insanely competitive and might be the most irrationally confident person in the NBA. In the crucial game six of Grizzlies’ first round series against the Spurs, he hit the game tying 3-pointer with a man draped all over him. It was an ugly shot (I’ll get to this in a moment) and he was trying to draw a foul, but, regardless, it is still a big time shot. That type of energy can spark a team to a comeback and fire up a squad seemingly in a daze. Vasquez is constantly making hustle plays, grabbing for loose balls and trying his best to harass his man on defense.

On defense, Vasquez isn’t great, but he’s fairly solid. He doesn’t have the athletic ability to shut down anyone, but his height makes up for that with tenacity. Vasquez is holding opposing point guards to 12.68 points, 8.7 assists and 4.73 turnovers per 36 minutes. The average PER against him 12.7 which is below average. So while he will get beat once in a while, Vasquez isn’t a defensive liability.

Statistical Analysis Provided by James Grayson

One of the things that Greivis Vasquez needs to work on is his consistency. However, one thing is clear, even before we head to the statistics, his ball distribution is quite good. The eye test is usually for those not bothered by the numbers, but as we take a closer look we can see that Greivis makes a valiant attempt to run the second unit.

This first graph illustrates where in the pecking order Vasquez is with other backup-point guards. While he doesn’t produce a lot of points, Greivis distributes the ball well, with a somewhat average turnover rate for backup point guards.

What’s also pleasing is that he’s playing excellent defense. Rodrigue Beaubois is an excellent defensive point-guard and to be near his productivity in steals is very promising.

What’s the point of producing though, if we don’t do it efficiently. Taking a closer look, Vasquez has a smaller usage rate than other point-guards, but assists on quite a lot of his team-mates baskets (29.4% Assist rate is good for a backup point guard).

His total PER is actually on the rise, particularly over the last few games. We also want to see players above a PER of 15 and Greivis is just under that at 13.

These statistics reaffirm our thoughts of the player and his style. His ability to get the ball to his team-mates is there, but his scoring is not. Developing a jumpshot is paramount, because Vasquez isn’t that prolific a player to be creating his own shot all the time.

Developing for the future

One of the big things Vasquez needs to work on is a solid jump shot. I spent an hour on My Synery Sports watching Vasquez shoot. His form seems inconsistent (there’s that word again) from play to play. This is especially true when his man guards him closely. Once he develops that consistent form, his career 40% shooting should increase.

In the slow paced offense that Monty likes to run, having someone to create shots by attacking the rim is very important. While I think Vasquez would really like to get out and run, he will eventually have a lot of success in a slow, half-court offense. Having a point guard who can attack the rim and finish or kick the ball out the open man will help space the floor for Eric Gordon when he comes back.

Having a full offseason to work with his teammates and master the Hornets’ offense will make a tremendous difference. Turnovers will go down and offensive efficiency will increase. Vasquez currently has an offensive rating of 93 which is terrible. A lot of that is due to his turnover rate of 19.2% and his poor 3-point shooting (he is currently shooting 23.7%). Once the team gels together and Vasquez understand his teammates more, Hornets fan’s might even get to see some exciting and creative offense.

And then maybe he’ll become my favorite player and I’ll learn Spanish in his honor.

Young Pups is a weekly series that can be seen every Wednesday only on For past articles, click here.


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