Josh Childress

Drafted #6 in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Hawks
RCSI: 19 (2001)
Height: 6'7" (201 cm)
Weight: 196 lbs (89 kg)
Position: SF
High School: Mayfair High School (California)
Hometown: Harbor City, IL
College: Stanford
Current Team: Adelaide
Win - Loss: 12 - 16


Blogging Through the Euroleague Final Four

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
May 02, 2009, 12:42 pm
The most high profile American player in Europe, Josh Childress, fared pretty well in his first ever Euroleague Final Four, posting 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 turnovers in 28 minutes. He was hampered somewhat by foul trouble, which he was very visibly frustrated by, both during the game and afterwards in the locker room:

“I feel like a rookie sometimes here, or a freshman in college,” Childress told us. “I never get any calls. It is what it is. I can’t be mad about it. I guess it could be more even.”

Despite the foul trouble, Childress was a major contributor in this contest, doing an excellent job being aggressive with the ball both in the half-court and in transition, notably standing out with his excellent athleticism, but clearly playing within himself and looking very intelligent and unselfish. Defensively, he guarded multiple positions, and did an especially good job on combo guard Vassilis Spanoulis, helping slow him down after a very hot start. He had one especially impressive putback slam off an offensive rebound with about four minutes to go, and managed to get a hand on a last-second desperation tip-back that would have sent the game to overtime, but unfortunately rimmed out. “I hit it a little too hard” Childress lamented.

Childress knew exactly what question was coming next, and was ready to answer it by the time the third word came out of my mouth.

“I don’t know what I will be doing this summer. It’s too early to decide.”

When asked what factors will play into his decision regarding whether or not to opt out of his contract and return to the NBA, a very solemn looking Childress offered few specifics.

“It will come down to personal feel. How I feel at the time.”

Regarding how much financial considerations will help decide that, Childress didn’t think they would be the main one:

“Money isn’t everything. I’m going to make a good living regardless. It will come down to personal preference. Money is money—it’s cool, but it’s not why I live my life.”

Blogging Through Europe 2008 (Part Two: France)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Nov 28, 2008, 05:20 pm
The Childress experiment has been fascinating to say the least so far. Can an important NBA player adjust himself to European basketball and justify a ridiculous salary, and will additional NBA players follow him over in the future?

So far, it seems way too early to judge still.

Olimpiacos’ head coach Giannakis was not kidding he said “we did not bring Josh here to score 40, 30 or 50 points,” as he told ESPN after he landed. In fact, Childress is not even scoring 20, or even 10 points per game in the Euroleague—he’s at 9.8 points in 27 minutes per game, which is the lowest scoring output he’s produced since his freshman year at Stanford. His field goal percentage is also at a career low thus far (since college at least), and he’s shooting an incredibly poor percentage from the free throw line (53%) and 3-point range (14%) as well.

Needless to say, high-level European basketball requires quite a bit of adjusting to, even for an incredibly smart and versatile talent like Childress.

Need more evidence? Childress is so far turning the ball over on 1/4th of his possessions, far more than he’s ever averaged in his career (last season 16%, the year before 14%). Clearly he’s having a hard time with the incredibly crowded paint that European basketball is known for, and possibly his role on the team or the expectations, and he’s getting very few calls from stingy refs to help him with that transition.

Olympiacos’ style of play probably isn’t helping him, as they play a slow and ugly grind it out style based around pounding the ball inside incessantly to their bigs, high/low lobs between their power forwards and centers, and running pick and roll after pick and roll with the rapidly declining Theodoros Papaloukas (about a step and a half slower than he was two years ago) trying to create mismatches leading to drop-offs to their stable of mammoth big men.

It’s hard to fault them, as they have arguably the best combination of centers in European basketball between Nikola Vujcic, Boroussis and Schortsanitis, and are capable of fouling out an entire frontcourt with the heavy artillery they bring. The problem is that they become pretty predictable eventually and very susceptible to getting beat in transition. This is probably the slowest pace Childress has played at in his career, and it obviously doesn’t suit his strengths, particularly playing next to Papaloukas, a poor perimeter shooter as well, which allows defenses to sag in even more than usual. Where would they be without scoring machine and lightning in a bottle Lynn Greer (simply outstanding as a shooter/scorer) is anyone’s guess.

Offensively, most of Childress’ production comes in transition and off quick left-handed drives off isolation plays in the half-court, as well as some garbage baskets thanks to his hustle and smarts. His athleticism stands out in an incredible way at this level, resulting in highlight-reel caliber finishes every time he steps out on the court. Despite his poor assist to turnover ratio, Childress is clearly not a selfish player, doing his absolute best to fit in with his teammates, who seem to really enjoy playing with him based off what we could see in person and in the extensive game-film we took in.

The biggest problem Childress has faced is with his shooting stroke, which has looked very poor thus far. His mechanics have always been about as awkward as you’ll find (think of a cross between Shawn Marion and Kevin Martin), but in the NBA he made shots at an outstanding rate both from the field (57% FG in 07-08—outrageous for a swingman) and beyond the arc (a respectable 37% on limited attempts in 07-08).

Even in college he made 1.5 3-pointers per game as both a sophomore and junior, but that just hasn’t been the case at all in Greece, though, which is surprising considering that the European 3-point line is substantially closer than in the NBA. NBA players faced the same exact problem in International play competing with Team USA, so it’s a bit disappointing that the first great export the NBA sends the Euroleague ends up getting tagged with the dreaded “American athlete who can’t shoot” label.

In this particular game, Childress definitely silenced the crowd, pulling up off the dribble for a clutch jumper from 18-feet with 48 seconds left in regulation to put Olympiacos up by two points, which surely will help silence his growing number of critics, for at least another week.

After all, there is a reason why Childress is leading this team in minutes played, and not really by a small margin. He’s clearly their best defender, showing great size for the wing position, outstanding length, and terrific lateral quickness. He’s also exceptionally smart, tough and crafty, doing a great job contesting shots and playing with a very high level of focus and intensity—which Coach Giannakis obviously loves. He’s also rebounding the ball extremely well, actually ranking second besides the super productive Yiannis Bouroussis (who by the way is averaging an ungodly 25.5 points and 17 rebounds per game on 59% shooting per-40 minutes, and is an NBA player all day long like we’ve been screaming from the hills about for years now).

As Childress continues to learn the European game, he’ll very likely become a more productive and efficient player. This is a totally new brand of basketball he’s learning, and for some players it takes years to fully master. There is a reason after all why the “ex-NBA” tag doesn’t hold anywhere near the same appeal it used to in high-level Europe a few years ago—and Childress obviously isn’t helping with that.

The reason Olympiacos can “afford” to let Childress be a role-player, and take his time figuring things out, despite being far and away the highest paid player in Europe, is because of the quality they sport throughout their roster. A look through the distribution of minutes between the two teams’ rotations playing tonight gives us a great deal of insight into the difference between the “haves” and the “have-nots” of European basketball. Olympiacos ended up using 12 players in this game, while Le Mans used 8. On the season, Olympiacos has 10 players who are averaging anywhere from 13 ½ to 27 minutes per game at most, while Le Mans has just 7 key players, averaging between 19.4 and 38.4 minutes.

NBA Scouting Reports, Southeastern Division (Part 1)

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
May 06, 2008, 11:56 pm
Overview: A long, lanky swingman with a solid all-around skill set. Does not excel in any one particular aspect of the game. Possesses solid athleticism, but his great work-ethic and feel for the game makes this less conspicuous. Has put on some weight since coming into the League. Remains very skinny, which makes him a bit injury prone. Owns a huge wingspan. Displays high-character off the floor, something that became very clear during his collegiate career with the Stanford Cardinals. Won the PAC 10 Player of the Year Award in 2004. Inability to add significant bulk has limited his durability and effectiveness around the rim. Versatility, smarts and finesse make him a valuable asset. Is a restricted free agent this offseason, and should find a number of suitors around the League.

Offense: Has a very smooth offensive game, but is the owner of one of the League’s most awkward jump shots. Displays a major hitch in his jumper and releases it with minimal elevation. Knocks it down consistently enough not to not have to fix it. Scores efficiently, which is the result of great shot selection. Shows a deceptive first-step. Is able to attack the rim off the dribble, and sets his man up by moving well off the ball. Isn’t the most efficient finisher due to his lack of vertical explosiveness. Does a good job of using his length and crafty footwork to beat defenders to the rim or get to the line. Doesn’t pull up off the dribble very often, since he connects with those kinds of shots at a pedestrian rate. Shows range out to three-point range, but his form gives him a very small margin for error, which is represented in his three-point percentage. Finds his offense in transition situations and drives off the dribble, both of which embody his desire to run the floor and his capacity to handle the ball well. Has good court vision, passing ability, and decision-making skills. Doesn’t play all that much point-forward since Joe Johnson fills that role. Won’t light up the scoreboard, but is a consistent contributor that gets his baskets in the flow of the offense. Provides a steadying presence on the floor in Atlanta, despite his age, and is a valuable asset in half-court sets.

Defense: Atlanta’s most fundamentally sound defender. Doesn’t have ideal foot-speed, but has tremendous defensive intangibles and a great wingspan. Reads ball-handlers extremely well, and creates turnovers by getting into passing lanes. Length and effort make him a very good perimeter defender. Lacks the bulk to defend strong players in the post, but makes an effort to deny entry passes by working hard to take away angles. Gets beat off the dribble periodically, but doesn’t give up anything easy at the rim. Does a good job of rotating with the ball. Isn’t reckless when closing out his man off of skip passes. Still manages to block a few shots due in large part to his long arms and good timing. Has great timing and knows how to get his team extra possessions.

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