Shot selection. I have been harping on this for a little while now, and I am going to talk about it some more. It is such an important topic in my opinion, that it deserves being talked about this much. When guys are taking the right type of shots it means they are scoring more, plain and simple.
Surprisingly, it wasn't the Nets' odd shot selection in the past few 4th quarters that got me thinking about this. It was an old article I came across over at Hoopdata.com. If you read this site daily, you know how much I love Hoopdata (we link to their advanced box scores after every game). This article by Tom Haberstroh takes a look at a few players and how their shot locations don't really match up with their position. I thought this would be fun to do with a few New Jersey Nets.
I am going to tell you now, that I was surprised at a few of these. Most surprising to me was Devin Harris' shot location chart compared to the average point guard:
For some reason, I was expecting this chart to tell me that Devin was attempting more three pointers and long 2s than the average point guard, but maybe that is because only his poor threes stick out in my mind (the one from Philly sure does come to mind).
So why is Devin struggling so much even though he is getting to the rim at a better than average rate (his FG @ the rim is 49.3% compared to 56.1% for average PG)? Well, most of Devin's attempts at the rim are shots he throws up while looking for fouls. When he doesn't get a call (which is happening more this year than last), it turns into a missed shot. Also, there has to be some bad luck including in this (plus injuries). The good news was that we were starting to see the old Devin Harris, the one that finishes strong at the hoop. Hopefully that collision doesn't set him back.
Yi's chart compared with the average PF is one that didn't surprise me:
Yi is shooting at the rim 10% less than the average PF. That is pretty crazy, considering that we are talking about the new "aggressive" Yi. Close to 40% of Yi's shots are considered "long twos." Considering that he is shooting below average from that spot (compared to other PFs), that is a bit of a problem. I would like to see Yi get more attempts at the rim, and from the mid-range spot. More shots from each of those spots would bring his "long twos" attempts down, which would make him a more effective player.
Compared to Yi, Kris is the Nets' banger inside. The Nets "true PF." So his shot chart should mirror that of the average PF right?
Well, yes and no. Kris Humphries' shot attempts from at the rim, close in (<10 feet), and from the mid-range do mirror the average PF closely. However, Humphries takes way more long twos than the average power forward, and that is a pretty big problem.
We have all fallen in love with Hump's (is that his nickname? I would like to think so, because I am using it) intensity, but one (and only) thing that bothers me about him is his tendency to settle for long jumpers. If he was able to limit the amount of long twos he takes by 10-15 percent, that would allow for more shot opportunities for him closer to the basket. Just like with Yi, that will make him a more effective offensive player.
The final chart we are going to look at is Brook Lopez's shot locations.
It is no surprise that Brook's shot locations mirrors that of your average center. Something I would like to see more though is less of the long twos (20% of his shots are long twos). This could be the result of his teammates though. A good amount of Brook Lopez's long twos come from when he doesn't get the ball in the post. When Brook doesn't receive the ball after posting up, he tends to fade towards the perimeter, where he does get the ball, and he shoots.