When an NBL fan thinks of Daniel Kickert, their first instinct would have them visualising that sweet outside stroke that is so rare in a player of his size. The part of his game that does however go somewhat unnoticed is how nifty he is at scoring and creating shots for himself inside the arc, despite not possessing a distinct athleticism or power advantage.
Per spatialjam.com, just 12.3% of Kickert’s two point baskets have been assisted this season, which is a number reserved for some of the best shot creating and ball dominant guards in the NBL. For comparison, either side of him in this statistic are Jerome Randle, Markel Starks, Mitch Norton, Stephen Holt, Jordair Jett, Josh Childress, Kevin Lisch and Chris Goulding (Jarrad Weeks actually edges out Randle in this category with a league low 4.2%!).
A lot of his inside game does of course start with his outside shot. Kickert routinely catches the ball on the perimeter and uses the threat of the three to get his defender either in the air or moving in the wrong direction. This then allows him to find a driving lane and get a layup or establish strong post position on a potential mismatch.
He’s certainly not going to overwhelm you at the rim (he has just 5 combined dunks, alley-oops and tip-ins) but his work in the post is impressive due to his ability to create just enough via a dribble, spin or fake, and then shoot either a left or right handed hook. He does of course have the threat of the mid-range jumper out of the post as well (he’s an above average shooter from each major area of the floor).
Speaking with nbl.com.au earlier this season, Kickert talked about the inside-outside balance in his game:
“My ideal style of game involves a little bit of everything. If you want to be a really good player you can’t just have one threat. If you’re just shooting threes, not only are you more easily scouted but the game’s just not as enjoyable.”
His scintillating 47.8% three point shooting is a large part of Melbourne’s offensive identity with him being a perfect fit on this end next to the offensively limited Majok Majok and the athletic rim rocking Hakim Warrick.
With Melbourne’s love of the three ball, the inside play of Kickert and Warrick is a nice avenue to balance out the offense. Warrick’s play has been surging in the second half of the season (after some injury concerns) whilst Kickert has actually shot a little more inside and also got to the line more in his last 11 games compared with his previous 13.
Kickert has his limitations, notably rebounding and how he fits defensively, but there is no questioning that he has put together another phenomenal offensive season as a scorer in one of the best offensive teams in the league.
Stats via spatialjam.com