When looking at a few Nets’ shot locations for yesterday’s post, I was surprised to see that Devin’s shot attempts at the rim are higher than the average PG. This is surprising, because you would think that more attempts at the rim would mean easier shots, meaning more points. However, this isn’t the case. Devin’s numbers (both in terms of PPG and APG) have dropped considerably from last year’s all-star season to this year. Why has this drop-off happened? Well, let’s take a look at some numbers that can help explain the drop-off.
Once again, all of these numbers are from the great Hoopdata.com.
% Of FGs Assisted
The above chart shows the percentage of Devin’s shots (by location) that are assisted. As you can see, Devin got more of his shots at the rim and close to the basket (<10 feet). This makes sense. Last year, Vince Carter was able to draw a lot of double teams, and Devin was very good at cutting when those double teams, leading to assisted baskets at the rim. This year, most of Devin’s shots in close and at the rim are a result of him breaking down his defender on his own and getting into the lane. The increase of his assisted baskets (in terms of his jumpers – mid, long, and threes) means that he is doing a lot more catching and shooting from the outside.
FG% By Location
In my opinion, this chart (comparing Devin’s FG% – eFG% when looking at his three pointers – from this year to last) goes hand-in-hand with the first one. As you can see Devin’s FG% at the rim and in close are both down. This jives with the fact that less of those makes are coming off of assists (see the first chart). My opinion is that the more FG attempts you make with an assist attached to it, the better the quality of the shots. This is because if you are taking shots right when you receive a pass, it usually means you are open. The relationship between FG% and % of FGs Assisted continue as you go down the line and look at Devin’s mid-range and long-range jumpers.
The only location where this relationship doesn’t work is from the three point line. Although, if you think about it, it does make sense. Devin is a poor shooter (at least this year from the three point line), so he is only going to shoot threes when he is open (usually). This means he is only going to shoot when he receives a pass making him open (resulting in the high % of Assisted 3 Point FGs).
Devin’s Assists By Location
Along with the decrease in Devin’s PPG and FG%, his assists per game are also on the decline:
Devin Harris’ assist profiles from 2009 and 2010 are pretty similar through the first 4 locations. However, when you look at his assists at the three point line, you see a sharp decline. Before I looked at the actual numbers, I was totally expecting to see this. The Nets are now without Vince Carter, and they have been without Jarvis Hayes (now their best 3 point shooter) and Keyon Dooling (another good shooter from 3) for chunks of the season. Having a good three point shooter on your team is a PG’s dream. It is much easier to rack up assists just by throwing it to the wing and having a teammate drill a three. Without a good three point shooter alongside him on the wings, Devin hasn’t been able to rack up those “easy assists.” I think this is the reason why his assists have dropped off this point in the season.
Returning To Form?
Over the past four games, Devin has been playing pretty good. You could almost say that he returned to last year’s All-Star form. He has averaged 19.25 points per game with 9.25 assists per game (last year, Devin’s numbers were 21.3 and 6.9). So why this sudden return to form? Well first, he was finally at 100%, or as close as he is going to be to 100% this year (I used the word was, because this is all before that collision that happened on Saturday). The numbers also help when trying to explain his return to form:
At the rim and close to the rim, Devin is still struggling a bit (playing at his 2010 level). He is also shooting at his 2010 level from the mid-range (which is better than 2009), and he has been lights out from the “long 2” spot, hitting 70 percent of his shots from that location. His eFG% from the 3 point line is also returning to 2009 form. These results would lead you to believe that earlier in the year his wrist was hurting him a lot more than he was letting on. Because now that it is 100%, he is starting to hit the longer jumpers at the same rate (and in the case of “long 2s” even better) he did when he was an All-Star last year.
Devin’s assist profile is also starting to return to his 2009 level. The increase in Devin’s assists could be the result of his teammates starting to knock down more three pointers.