Missed Lay-Ups Are Really Hurting The Nets

Missed Lay-Ups Are Really Hurting The Nets

According to HoopData.com, the Nets attempt 30.3 lay-ups per game, a number that ranks as 4th most in the NBA.  You look at just that number and you think, wow, that is pretty good, and it is.  However, when you couple that with the fact that the Nets are one of the worst teams in the league at converting these lay-ups, you are just left shaking your head at all of the missed opportunities.

The Nets are second worst (tied) team in the NBA when it comes to making lay-ups.  Their field goal percentage on lay-ups, as tracked by Hoopdata, is 55.4%.  The league average is 60.4 percent.  Looking at the Nets’ number attempts again, if they would be at just the league average, they would be instantly 3 points better (I took their attempts and determined how many they would make at the league average – it was about 17.3 – 1.5 more – or 3 points more).  We have talked about how the Nets aren’t really playing good defense anymore and how they just try to outscore teams.  If they are going to do that successfully, they can’t leave points on the table, especially when they are coming from lay-ups.

When looking at the individual numbers, you start to see why the team has such a low FG% at the rim.  The Nets only have 4 players on their roster shooting lay-ups at a percentage over the league average.  Two of them are Eduardo Najera and Sean Williams, so really the Nets only have two regulars shooting lay-ups better than league average (Yi and Trenton Hassell).

I was shocked to see Brook Lopez (58%) and Terrence Williams (48%) with such low percentages, but I am willing to dismiss both of these because one, Brook Lopez has been doing this while facing double/triple teams early in the year, and I can see this number going up.  As for Terrence, most of his missed lay-ups came early in the season when he was out of control taking a large number of attempts at the rim (a lot of floaters and fade-aways).  His shot selection is much better now, so you can (or at least I can) expect to see his percentage to go up.  So you take those guys out, there are 4 guys you can blame for this low FG% at the rim, and they are guys you can expect to keep this number low:

Chris Douglas-Roberts

I am as shocked as you are to see his name here.  CDR is second on the team in lay-ups attempted per game with 6.7 attempts per game.  He only makes 4.2 per game.  It’s strange though, because you don’t see him missing a lot of lay-ups.  That is because most of his registered misses come from blocked shots.  In case you didn’t know, the NBA considers a block shot a missed attempt.  From the NBA rulebook:

Section XI-Field Goal Attempt
…The term is also used to include the flight of the ball until it becomes dead or is touched by a player. A tap during a jump ball or rebound is not considered a field goal attempt…

CDR’s gets 11.1% (5th highest out of all SFs in the NBA) of his of his shot attempts blocked.  Most of them happen inside the paint, as he tries to take it to the hole against bigger (both in terms of height and weight) players.

Another reason for his low FG% at the rim is the fact that he doesn’t seem to be getting the benefit of calls as a young guy.  CDR’s hurky-jerky game creates a lot of body contact from his opponents, but his FTR is a very small .24.  So when he is getting body contact and putting up lay-up attempts hoping for the call, when he doesn’t get the call, that leads to misses (I must admit this is purely speculation.  Haven’t really noticed any awful calls this year.  Some borderline ones though).

Rafer Alston

Rafer Alston is shooting lay-ups at a much worse clip than CDR (in fact his FG% at the rim is lowest on the team).  Rafer is only making 44% of his lay-ups despite attempting over two lay-ups per game.  Rafer has a tendency to over dribble when getting in the lane.  This either gets him too close to the opposition’s big man, or he ends up getting stuck under the basket.  When he gets put in this situation, he doesn’t pass it out, he just tends to throw it up at the rim.  Just like in this video:

Josh Boone

My biggest problem with Josh Boone his whole career as a Net is that he plays below the rim.  I have never really understood this either, because there are flashes where he just skies for a big dunk or two, then the next time down the court, he tries to hit a lay-up without jumping or something.  This is what leads to most of his missed lay-ups, especially this year.  Boone’s 55% shooting at the rim is the worst of his career, and it isn’t surprising when he is playing more PF than he has ever as a Net.  Power Forwards tend to be more athletic than centers, so when Boone plays below the rim, he is either getting his shot blocked (7.7% of his shots are blocked), or he is missing them due to guys bothering the shot.  As seen here:

Also, look at this play-by-play from the Indiana game (couldn’t get the video pulled):

5:46 Josh Boone misses two point shot 38-48
5:46 Josh Boone offensive rebound 38-48
5:43 Josh Boone misses layup 38-48
5:43 Josh Boone offensive rebound 38-48
5:43 Josh Boone offensive rebound 38-48
5:41 Josh Boone misses tip shot 38-48
5:41 Josh Boone offensive rebound 38-

If my memory serves me correctly, it was as hilarious as it reads.

Devin Harris

It doesn’t surprise me that Devin’s FG% at the rim is lower this year than last year (56% last year vs. 52% this year).  You would think that because he is now the primary focus, he is attempting more, and as his attempts go up, his FG% should go down.  That isn’t the case though (his lay-up attempts are down 1 per game), and this is what makes it somewhat perplexing.  Thinking harder, it does sort of make sense, with Vince Carter gone, all of the attention is now on Devin Harris, that means less lay-ups and less open lay-ups.  The bulk of Devin Harris’ missed lay-ups come from him trying to get to the foul line, which is something he does very well (his FTR is .49).  Sometimes it seems like Devin’s primary focus is getting to the line, while making the lay-up seems to be an afterthought.  The result is a wild attempt that he throws up just before he lands.  Like so:

If the Nets can start making more lay-ups, then they can take advantage of all of their attempts at the rim.  This will lead to more points, and hopefully more wins.