It’s hard to tell where to start with Kevin Seraphin. The bulky yet nimble big man whom we had such high hopes for just 365 days ago now seems to be overpaid at only $2.8m a season. A silky jump hook and surprisingly effective mid-range jumper leads one to believe we’re talking about a fantastic player. But somehow, we’re not. Somehow, we’re talking about a player who is an offensive and defensive disaster. Somehow, we’re talking about the 34th worst offensive season by a player who played 1500 or more minutes of all time. I do wonder how this is possible, given his natural skill set, and would like to blame it on the coaches, but I just can’t. This year, it’s all Seraphin, and this is what we need to see:
Pick your spots and be patient
As I mentioned in the intro, Kevin Seraphin has the best hook shot in the NBA. Of players who took 50 or more a game, only (wait for it) EMEKA OKAFOR was better. The list of guys unstoppably effective with the hook is basically Seraphin, Lamarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert, and everyone else. So why is Seraphin such an awful offensive player? The answer is two-fold: He doesn’t pick his spots wisely and he often either takes a decent shot or completely ruins the offense. Remember, the Kevin Seraphin Decision Tree does NOT include “make good pass”. There is such thing as a re-post, although I’m not sure how well that translate to French, so maybe Seraphin just doesn’t understand.
And now, to the jump shot. Seraphin hits the mid-range ‘J’ with surprising accuracy, 43% last year on over a 100 attempts, but certainly rushes it. While 43% from 16 feet out might color a Kirk Goldsberry graphic red, that doesn’t make it good offense. 43% is strong enough that it should attract some sort of defensive attention, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Perhaps teams know that Seraphin’s mid-range jump shot is a better shot to give up than a Martell Webster or Bradley Beal three? Who am I kidding? Of course they know.
Seraphin finds himself wide open from mid-range quite often and fires it up or hesitates and then fires it up. It doesn’t seem like he is hesitating to see if the defense collapses on him, but rather hesitating because he is scared to shoot the ball (cue Randy Wittman face/screaming). If he is going to shoot it, he needs to shoot it. If not, he needs to read the defense and make the correct play. There should be no in between. This will greatly improve the entire offense’s efficiency, as the play will not always end when he touches the ball. With so many shooters around, ball movement will be key to an improved offense in 2014.
Use that big frame!
Kevin Seraphin offensively rebounds the ball about as often as Eric Bledsoe. Eric Bledsoe is roughly six feet tall. Seraphin is a 6’9 post player. This is not acceptable. However, there is a simple explanation for why this is the case – Seraphin ends a lot of possessions with a shot and rarely uses his large frame to bully his way into the paint. His entire post game is predicated on a pretty hook that takes him out of rebounding position. If he isn’t shooting the hook, he’s popping out for a J, also taking himself out of rebounding position. A serious attempt to park himself in the paint is necessary. It’s tough to transform a relative finesse player into a bruiser, but that might be what Seraphin needs to save his career.
Kevin Seraphin isn’t too far away from exiting the NBA. With fourth year options declined for Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely, the path to max cap room in the summer of 2014 is materializing. There are a few more contracts standing in the way of that cap room, Seraphin’s cap hold being one of them. It’s time to show big-time improvement or prepare to be a free agent with few suitors.