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Spencer Hawes worked out with Shawn Kemp this summer

Jan 10, 2012, 1:36 PM EDT

shawn_kemp Getty Images

Stop laughing. This is not a joke.

There was a time when everybody was a Shawn Kemp fan. Back in the days of his high-top fade he was as ferocious a dunker as the league has ever seen and force in the paint, a guy with the skills to grab the rebound and go coast-to-coast. Watch the highlights. You turned on the Sonics to watch Kemp (and Gary Payton).

Spencer Hawes was one of those who grew up in Seattle a Kemp fan. While we can be guilty of the weight and children jokes that accompanied the demise of his career, Kemp has turned his life around — he is down to his playing weight, he is a respected restaurant owner and sports talk radio host now.

And he worked out with Hawes this summer. Pushed him, really, according to CSNPhilly.com.

“He’s got a lot of upside to his game,” Kemp said. “I’ve been barking at him for a while. I thought it was time to step up and show he could play a little better.”

Hawes said it was more of a mutual decision to get together.

“When I came into the league I had higher expectations than what I produced – especially last year, statistically, individually,” he said, adding that the summer afforded him the opportunity to “really reflect on it and say ‘OK, this year, something’s going to change, and I’ve got to start making myself head in the right direction.’ ”

Kemp’s focus was to get Hawes — all 7’1” of him — off the perimeter and closer to the basket. The result is Hawes is in the post a little more (19.4 percent of his possessions this year compared to 18 percent last year, according to Synergy Sports) but what is gone are the spot up looks from the outside. Last season 19.2 percent of his shots came on spot up jumpers (and he shot 40 percent on them), this season it is down to 17 percent of his shots and he is shooting 56 percent on them. He’s getting more looks on cuts, moving toward the basket (23.7 percent of his chances this year.

The bottom line — Hawes is shooting 62.7 percent this year, up from 46.5 percent last year. He’s scoring five more points per game while using less of the offense.

Kemp probably shouldn’t get all the credit for that, there have been a number of changes with the Sixers offense. But we’re giving the lion’s share to Kemp anyway. He deserves something other than a joke.

  1. b7p19 - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    I suspected Kemp all along…

  2. p1nch3dloaf - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Anyone remember his stint as a Blazer? He made Kevin Duckworth look skinny.

  3. ss3walkman - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I seen them working out all summer. Hawes was up at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club every Tuesday and Thursday along with Nate, B-Roy, Crawford, Terrence Williams, Will Conroy, Kemp, Webster and others. Hawes was always active, focusing on his game. All that practice paid off.

  4. goforthanddie - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    As long as they aren’t working out at the local Golden Corral…

  5. jckid21 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    At Krispy Cremes?

  6. mtepe1985 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    “The result is Hawes is in the post a little more (19.4 percent of his possessions this year compared to 18 percent last year, according to Synergy Sports) but what is gone are the spot up looks from the outside. Last season 19.2 percent of his shots came on spot up jumpers (and he shot 40 percent on them), this season it is down to 17 percent of his shots and he is shooting 56 percent on them.”

    All right Kurt, maybe math isn’t your strong point, but this is downright ignorant. Hawes has taken a total of 75 shots this season. Therefore, this 2.2% decrease you are talking about doesn’t even amount to a 2 shot difference. So Hawes has taken one less spot up jumper this year so far and all of a sudden you say that shot is gone. It is obvious to anyone with a operating brain that he is just making a higher percentage.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      We are talking small sample sizes, granted. But I didn’t say his shot is gone, I was saying he seems to be more selective about when to go to the spot up and that he is getting more looks in the post and cutting to the basket, and his shooting percentage reflects the better looks. He is in part shooting a higher percentage because he’s getting better looks, which is a factor of his shot selection and the Sixers offense running better in the half court. Those percentages likely will bear out over the course of the season.

    • Josh Perez - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      That happens when you try too hard to prove someone wrong before making sure the person is actually wrong.

      • mtepe1985 - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        What is wrong with what I said Josh?

  7. mtepe1985 - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I agree with you in that he is getting better looks this year as a result of expanding his game, but he is not shooting any less from the outside. I don’t know if I misunderstood this sentence, but it sure sounds like you are saying his spot up looks are gone.

    “The result is Hawes is in the post a little more (19.4 percent of his possessions this year compared to 18 percent last year, according to Synergy Sports) but what is gone are the spot up looks from the outside.”

  8. 808raiderinparadise - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    The Rainman.

    Pure classic. Best in-game dunker ever.

  9. Josh Perez - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Spencer Hawes is a very nature young big with a very high ceiling. If he works on getting more athletic we could see him doing great things, maybe even a prime center according to modern standards. He is also getting better for a small market team, which could be encouraging to others.

  10. farvefromover - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Who really cares

    • dirtydavis - Jan 10, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      That’s what I’m talking about

  11. kvanhorn87 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Small market team? How is Philadelphia a small market? Few years ago they were an elite team. Historically, 3rd most wins in nba. The city is something like 6th-8th largest market in the country. You act like Hawes is playing in Milwaukee.

    • willardj - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      It’s a small market. No one goes to the games anymore. Lowest attendance in the NBA by a decent amount.

  12. westcoastredbird - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Isn’t Kemp the dude that has 11 kids with 9 different women. I don’t think Spencer Hawes needs to see those moves. I’m sure the child support is still kicking his ass.

  13. lakerluver - Jan 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Kemp was doing things back in the day Blake G is doing now. Freakish athlete and very underrated. The year Seattle played Chicago in the Finals Kemp was outstanding.

  14. kvanhorn87 - Jan 11, 2012 at 5:59 AM

    And their tv ratings are higher than most. A market is defined as those following and buying a product. That includes tv ratings. So if someone has higher attendance but lower tv ratings does that mean it is a bigger market? That is ridiculous.

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