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Puzzling NBA – long two point shots edition part 1

06 May

Let’s start with the simple premise: what’s the least effective shot in the NBA?

Instinctively you probably know the answer but thanks to http://www.hoopdata.com/shotstats.aspx it doesn’t have to be speculative anymore because there are cold facts about it. So let’s dive right into them. Here’s the league-wide breakdown in terms of shots locations in the last 5 seasons (format = FGM / FGA [FG%]):

Shots Location 2010-11 2009-10 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07
At the Rim 37963 / 59254 [64,07%] 39799 / 65261 [60,98%] 38386 / 63506 [60,44%] 37498 / 61628 [60,85%] 37312 / 61119 [61,05%]
3-9 Feet 10899 / 27960 [38,98%] 9891 / 22455 [44,05%] 8942 / 20941 [42,70%] 8872 / 20986 [42,28%] 8946 / 21284 [42,03%]
10-15 Feet 7061 / 17968 [39,29%] 7284 / 18311 [39,78%] 7040 / 18011 [39,09%] 7049 / 18300 [38,52%] 6693 / 17141 [39,05%]
16-23 Feet 19599 / 49769 [39,38%] 19801 / 50005 [39,59%] 20531 / 51171 [40,12%] 21479 / 53052 [40,49%] 20717 / 51748 [40,03%]
Threes [eFG%] 15880 / 44280 [53,79%] 15822 / 44624 [53,18%] 16352 / 44584 [55,02%] 16124 / 44531 [54,31%] 14920 / 41645 [53,74%]

First of all it’s incredible how consistent those percentages are.
The only big difference [last season at the rim vs 3-9 Feet] seems to me like a change in definition of those shots [because of sudden change in attempts in both categories by 5000]

Second of all conclusion of this table couldn’t be more straightforward: in terms of efficiency teams should try shots in that order: at the rim [big gap], three [big gap], short two and long two.

So here’s my question: WHY DO TEAMS ATTEMPT MORE LONG TWOS THAN THREES!?!

I doesn’t make any sense!
Yes, I know defense can affect your plan and you can’t always shot at the rim. Plus not everyone can shoot from outside… but if you are going to miss 60% of time shouldn’t you at least try to increase possible award by taking few steps back? Hell, why wouldn’t a team literally punish players [with fines or playing time] for every long two which couldn’t be explained by “shot clock violation”?

After that rant let’s try to point some fingers… Here’s the league-wide shots locations breakdown in terms of positions in the last 5 seasons (format = FGM / FGA [FG%]):

Shots Location C
[22436 games]
PF
[25393 games]
SF
[24667 games]
SG
[24153 games]
PG
[27678 games]
At the Rim 39323 / 61151 [64,30%] 46595 / 73737 [63,19%] 37775 / 60775 [62,16%] 32529 / 53846 [60,41%] 34736 / 61259 [56,70%]
3-9 Feet 12137 / 28142 [43,13%] 13183 / 30766 [42,85%] 7131 / 17777 [40,11%] 7149 / 17252 [41,44%] 7950 / 19689 [40,38%]
10-15 Feet 5429 / 14086 [38,54%] 8935 / 22509 [39,69%] 5981 / 15961 [37,47%] 6827 / 17589 [38,81%] 7955 / 19586 [40,62%]
16-23 Feet 10383 / 26251 [39,55%] 20986 / 51704 [40,59%] 21136 / 54148 [39,03%] 23780 / 59659 [39,86%] 25842 / 63983 [40,39%]
Threes [eFG%] 1959 / 5801 [50,66%] 7637 / 21828 [52,48%] 20464 / 56600 [54,23%] 25397 / 69375 [54,91%] 23641 / 66060 [53,68%]

If you needed another reason why tall players are valuable in basketball… it’s a good one, no?
Centers and forwards not only attempt way more shots close to the rim but they are also more efficient there.

Although I’m really surprised that “long twos disease” is spread pretty much even among all positions…
But who are the worst offenders? Here’s the league-wide breakdown how often players take long twos at all positions in the last 5 seasons [in comparison to all shots taken]:

% of all shots C
[22436 games]
PF
[25393 games]
SF
[24667 games]
SG
[24153 games]
PG
[27678 games]
10-15 Feet 10,40% 11,22% 7,77% 8,08% 8,49%
16-23 Feet 19,38% 25,78% 26,38% 27,40% 27,75%

So… some big guys don’t know their range or what? And pretty much every player is in love with his long jumper… or are there some exceptions? More on this subject in part 2.

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4 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Unanswered Questions

 

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4 responses to “Puzzling NBA – long two point shots edition part 1

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