Welcome back to Corner Stats! Today we talk about a player that I particularly like and who is playing a very positive season: Cory Higgins.
When you watch great teams like CSKA or Real there is so much talent that it is difficult to be impressed by one single player. Instead, this year Higgins, at least in my opinion, is standing out more than De Colo, Rodriguez, Clyburn, and all the other talents of the Russian team.
The American player is well known: it is important both in the defensive side thanks to his lateral speed and stealing ability and in the offensive side with his dribble and pull up shot. However this year he elevated his game by a further step, becoming even more concrete and incisive.
By crossing Individual Offensive and Defensive Rating for all players with at least 15 minutes of average use, you notice how Cory’s position is quite good, with an excellent Offensive Rating (13th) and a decent Defensive Rating. Perhaps this is why this year is more noticeable: in the past seasons he let play his teammates during the offense and focused more on the defense. In the current season instead, he is taking more conclusions (in fact, his Usage says that he uses 27% of team possessions, the highest value among CSKA’s players) and averages almost 15 points produced per game (4th in this ranking, behind Shved, James, and Wolters): in a team with many good offensive player is certainly remarkable.
And anyway, the “minor commitment” in defense does not change the fact that he is a very good defender: all this translates into one of the best Net Rating of the entire League.
Net Rating and PER are two stats that confirm Higgins’crazy season: 15th in Net Rating and 7th in PER. Keep in mind that so positive Net Ratings are usually reached only by big men: in fact, Higgins is the fourth best guard in the difference between offensive and defensive efficiency, preceded only by Fernandez, Lucic, and Datome.
Higgins is also a clever player because he has evolved as the game requires: let’s watch his Shot Chart.
Cory’s conclusions are either at the rim or a three-point shot, which are the most valuable conclusions in current basketball. In addition, the percentages (56% from 2 and 53% from beyond the arc) confirm that at this start of the season the American player is quite unstoppable. With even 86% from the free throw line, Higgins achieves a True Shooting Percentage of 72% (17th in general, third if we consider only the guards).
In conclusion, in this season Higgins is standing out among CSKA all-stars: not a small thing and he continues to add a high-level perimeter defense, as he has always done.