The Worst Shot in Basketball
The playoffs are a skip and a jump away, so naturally it’s almost time to put in the official playoff prediction. If you’re like me, chances are you’re still undecided. There’s a lot of information out there, an awful lot of reasoning to support several teams, and their chances to host the Larry O’Brien come this June. The debate between analytic lovers and eye test advocates rages on, what you base your opinion and predictions on is up to you. I’m not trying to sway anyone with this research, rather I’ve strived to provide just one small piece of information that may or may not influence your opinion.
A lot has been made the last few years about how important the three point shot has become. With that knowledge, also comes the understanding that shooting just inside the three point line is the worst statistical shot in basketball. The measure of difficulty is on par with a three pointer, and yet hitting a 22 footer does not yield the 150% point bonus stepping one foot back does.
Daryl Morey and the Rockets are clearly firm believers of this as they take six more three pointers per game than any other team. They also take the least 19-22 foot shots across the league by a large margin. But does it correlate to winning? Does avoiding, shooting just inside the three point line really effect wins and losses? That’s a debate that will rage on, for example the infamous triangle offense allows for an awful lot of 19-22 foot attempts. The 2008 – 2009 Lakers who won a Championship took 581 attempts at the discussed range. That would be the fifth most attempts currently this season. However, when you look at the chart below you’ll note that the Knicks and Timberwolves have taken the most attempts from that range, and also have the league’s two worst records. The Rockets, Cavaliers, Spurs, Hawks, and Warriors are all in the bottom 11 for attempts. Coincidence or not, that’s up to you.
Chart note: All statistics via basketball-reference.com as of March 31, 2015.
|Conference W/L Rank|