Looking At Shooting Trends Using Motion Charts

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you already know about the fantastic site HoopData.com (and seriously if you have never been there, you need to go…now).  In addition to all of the stats that they provide, they also have a really cool feature called Motion Charts.  These motion charts take all of the information they provide, and they display it in a way that makes it really easy to spot trends.  They display three areas of statistics using motion charts; they are player stats, four factors, and what we are looking at today, shot locations.

Brook Lopez

Brook is a fantastic player, and his improvement this year over last year is fantastic.  The main reason why is his improvement inside 10 feet:

Brook Inside 10

This motion chart tells us that Brook Lopez is not only getting more attempts inside 10 feet, but he is shooting even better from this location.  Last year, Brook was shooting 40% from this spot while shooting 2 shots per game.  This year, Brook is taking 2.62 shots/game inside 10 feet while making 49% of his shots.

That’s the good.  Here is the bad:

Brook 16 to 23

For his size and position, Brook Lopez is considered a pretty good shooter.  Last year while shooting 1.63 shots/game Brook was shooting a solid (for centers) 41%.  This year, Brook is only shooting 32% on 2.73 shots/game.  This is pretty indicative of what is really frustrating about the Nets’ offense.  They don’t really seem to have a direction or a dedication to get Brook the ball inside (where he shoots very well).  Instead, he seems to float outside so much more this year, and while a good shooter, if he takes too many (which he is this year), his shooting percentage goes down considerably, almost negating the positive increase <10 feet.  Next year, I am hoping to see this motion chart return to 2009 levels, with Brook shooing about 1 outside shot a game, and concentrating more on the inside.


Yi Inside 10

Yi was pretty solid inside 10 feet last year (54% on on .39 shots/game), but it could be argued that he didn’t attack enough and settled.  This year he is attacking much more.  Sounds like a good thing right?  Well, with his increased attempts (now shooting 1.42 shots/game), his shooting percentage has dropped to 31%.  After watching Yi take a number of running hooks and crazy lay-ups all year, yeah this makes sense.  So what does this tell us?  Last year there was hope, because Nets’ fans were thinking, “hey, if he can attack more, he will become a better player.”  This year?  We have seen him attack more and not improve.

Devin Harris

In the eyes of most fans, Devin Harris has gone from an All-Star point guard and the future PG of the Nets last year, to being a pretty big disappointment, and almost expendable this year.  While most of his shooting numbers look the same, his shooting from inside 10 feet took a big hit this year, and it can almost explain his poor play:

Devin Harris Inside 10

With Vince Carter not there to take away attention from Devin, he has not only had to take more shots inside 10 feet (0.87 shots/game to 1.4 shots/game), but it has caused his shooting percentage to dip considerably (from 58% to 34%).  Another factor is Devin not getting to the line as much.  Last year, Devin was able to draw a ton of fouls (.58 FTR), but this year not so much (.44 FTR).  Devin was really good at drawing contact by throwing his body into guys while shooting, almost not worrying about making the shot, just about getting hit.  Last year when the fouls were getting called, those missed attempts would get wiped off in the statbook.  This year, the refs seem to be “onto” Devin’s antics, and he isn’t getting as many calls.  So these attempts where he just flings the ball at the rim are getting recorded as misses rather than resulting in foul shots.