Name: Travis Outlaw
Weight: 207 lbs
Birth Date: September 18, 1984 (Age: 26)
Birthplace: Starksville, MS
Drafted: 23rd Pick of 1st Round in 2003
Experience: 7 years
Contract: $7 million
Travis Outlaw likes to shoot. A lot. And typically, that’s a good thing, but that wasn’t the case last year when he was coming back from a foot injury with the Los Angeles Clippers. According to 82games, 85 percent of Outlaw’s shot attempts were jumpers, registering an effective field goal percentage of 46 percent on them. Breaking down Outlaw’s shooting tendencies further, HoopData shows 5.8 of Outlaw’s 7.8 field goal attempts were from 16-feet and out. For someone with Outlaw’s athleticism and length, that’s criminal. To his credit, Outlaw has always been very good at protecting the ball and getting off his shot. His turnover ratio of 8.6 is pretty solid for a SF and placed him at 16th at the position last season, according to ESPN.
The other thing to note about Outlaw’s career is this is the first time he’s been thrust into a starting role. A career 6th man/instant offense player, Outlaw was solid in bench player from 2006-07 to 2008-09, averaging a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of more than 15 (league average) in those minutes. With more minutes and more shots, it’ll be interesting to see how Outlaw responds. Outlaw has developed a reputation for hitting “big shots” during his time with Portland. He’ll need to do that a few times with the Nets to justify both his contract and his playing time this season.
Again, given Outlaw’s length and agility, you’d like to see some better defensive numbers, but alas, that’s just not the case. He averaged .7 blocks and .6 steals last year and you have to go back to 06-07 to see a season where he averaged at least a block per game (1.1), which you would think he should be able to do guarding other small forwards. Despite spending so much time around the perimeter, he is a decent rebounder for his position. His rebound rate of 9.8 ranks 20th among all SFs last year.
There has been some debate amongst fans about using Outlaw as a PF, given the team’s current deficiency at that position. With Troy Murphy out, you might get a little more offense with that kind of a line-up (he averaged more than 35 points per 48 minutes in a very small scale of PF time last season). However, he’s also a defensive liability (opposing PFs had a PER of 26.8 when he was on the floor).
Travis Outlaw’s current mohawk hairdo was a recent enough development that it was sadly not included in NBA 2K11, something Outlaw noted on his Twitter account.
I thought Outlaw was a solid pick-up for the Nets, though many fans out there still seem hung up on the contract he received ($35 million over 5 years). I think at the end of the day, the length is more of a liability than the actual amount he got (Bobby Simmons got about 1/3 of just last year only to rot on the bench). However, he’s another import that should help the Nets in an area where they so horribly failed last year – which shooting prowess that in turn provides more spacing around the interior for Brook Lopez, Devin Harris and Terrence Williams. Whether he’s doing that as a starter or eventually off the bench, remains to be seen.
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