Juan Carlos Navarro’s health is always a topic of discussion but Barcelona’s captain managed to log 1,612 minutes over 68 appearances in his age-34 season. Perhaps more impressive is how effective a player on offense he remains at this point of his career.
Navarro is still mostly a gunner, with three-pointers accounting for 56.3% of his shots last season, and a damn good one. He hit his 340 attempts at a 34.7% clip but while averaging three makes per 40 minutes. His shooting motion is unusual in the sense he prefers elevating off balance, without his body angled straight towards the basket, but Navarro is tremendous on catch-and-shoots, thanks to his natural stroke and quick trigger, and remains a legit threat off the bounce if given space, hitting 40.6% of his 64 mid-range attempts in 580 Euroleague minutes. His patented floater is no longer an automatic money maker but he still flashes it with sporadic efficiency.
The speed to create separation sprinting around baseline and staggered screens is still there, as is a decent first step to attack closeouts against the average competition. The quickness to get to the rim consistently isn’t, especially if he is forced left. Navarro took fewer than 15% of his attempts at the basket in the Euroleague and struggled to score there due to his thin frame, finishing at a below average 58.1% clip. He has always been a player who looked for the contact to try drawing fouls but the reliance on his flopping has increased over the last few years. That was a successful strategy thanks to his reputation with European referees and Navarro averaged 4.8 free throws pr 40 minutes.
Navarro was still a very effective player on the pick-and-roll, not just for his pull-up shooting and foul drawing but also because of his instincts passing out of dribble penetration, assisting on 21.3% of Barcelona’s baskets when he was on the floor. He has a tight handle, uses his body to protect the ball in traffic and rarely makes erratic passes. Navarro’s turnover rate (1.5 giveaways per 28 minutes) is average to below-average in the context of his 24% usage rate. Barcelona scored 114 points per 100 possessions with him in the lineup in the Euroleague and 118.3 in the Spanish league, way above average offensive ratings in each league.
His decline in athleticism is more evident on the other end. Navarro still has the speed to chase shooters around the same baseline screens he utilizes on offense but has pretty much no lateral quickness to keep pace with elite opponents off the bounce at this point. His navigation through screens is very problematic for Barcelona’s defense, as it triggers a number of rotations. He is not really a factor playing the passing lanes to manufacture turnovers and recorded a charge every six games in the Euroleague. Barcelona allowed nine points per 100 possessions more in his 640 minutes on the floor in the Spanish league in comparison to when he hit the bench.
Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.