Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Doc Brown on Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:28 pm

NBA
Shooting Blanks: The Players With the Worst ShotScore
By Kirk Goldsberry on October 10, 2013 3:30 PM ET

GLENN JAMES/NBAE VIA GETTY IMAGES
Yesterday we looked at ShotScore, a new method to identify the NBA’s best scorers. You can read the full piece here, but in a nutshell, the method compares the actual point yield of an individual NBA shooter against an estimated tally of what an average NBA shooter would accrue from that exact same set of shots. This is a useful way to evaluate shooting because unlike field goal percentage, it accounts for where on the floor the shooter is most active and factors that in to the analysis. Midrange shooters are compared against the NBA’s average midrange production, etc.

Players like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Jose Calderon, and Kyle Korver immediately rose to the top; these players consistently outperform league averages from their most active shooting zones. But, it’s also instructive to identify the players who make shots at rates much lower than league averages, the guys that regularly underperform relative to their shooting cohort. Here is the bottom five:

Lowest ShotScore, 2012-13 season
1. Monta Ellis, -159
2. Greg Monroe, -134
3. Ramon Sessions, -130
4. Russell Westbrook, -127
5. Ricky Rubio, -115

These five players are all relatively active shooters, but fail to accrue points from the field at average NBA rates in their most active zones. In other words, each player struggles in his own unique way.

Monta and Jose: The Dallas Odd Couple

You could make a good roommates sitcom about a European perfectionist, forced to work alongside a purely American free spirit who "doesn’t play by the rules." Or you could just watch the Mavs this season. It will be fascinating to see Ellis play on a team led by Dirk Nowitizki. But it might even be more interesting to watch his backcourt interactions with Jose Calderon.

Calderon and Ellis are two of the most noteworthy shooters in the league, but for very different reasons. Basically, Calderon is a great shooter, and Ellis is not. Calderon is particularly lethal in front of the basket.


Jose Calderon
On the other hand, Ellis is a very creative player with a knack for getting a shot pretty much whenever he wants. This is an overlooked skill in most player evaluations. Ellis’s problems begin the moment his shots leave his fingertips. Simply put, he’s a below-average shooter with a volume problem. The combination of his high activity and his terrible efficiency has frustrated fans from Oakland to Oshkosh, and this year he brings his game to Dallas.


Monta Ellis
Ellis shoots below league averages from everywhere, except for one tiny baseline area where he’s hardly active. But that actually might be the key to his improvement. If Rick Carlisle can reduce Ellis’s activity and get him to more effectively pick his spots, Ellis has a tremendous chance of improving. He has never really played in a good system with decent offensive teammates. Playing alongside savvy veteran scorers like Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, and Vince Carter should help. If that team intelligence and Calderon’s shot discretion rub off on Ellis, there’s a very good chance we will witness a drastic upswing in his efficiency.


Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis
Either way, this odd couple in Dallas will make for must-watch League Pass TV this season. Signing him was a risk, but in the same way that Nowitzki and Calderon know about shooting effectiveness, that modern-day Texas tycoon, Mark Cuban, knows a thing or two about investment effectiveness. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a soap opera.



On Rondo, Russell, and Rubio

Even though we love to blast Rajon Rondo because "he can’t shoot," there are a few point guards more deserving of that rep, prominent floor generals who actually fail to create points at above-average rates, from both the inside and the outside. Rondo, believe it or not, can actually makes shots at rates above league averages. In fact, in the last few seasons, he has made his elbow jumper at elite rates, partly because he’s left open and partly because he is an improving shooter.

Russell Westbrook is one of the most polarizing players in the league. Although most of us love him, the jury is still out on just how effective of a teammate he is. He’s obviously a great playmaker, but he has a tendency to shoot a little too frequently, which in some cases takes away more efficient options from his teammates (one in particular). As a scorer, Westbrook could improve his efficiency by learning from one of his biggest rivals.

Back in the 2002-03 season, a young Tony Parker attempted 243 3-point shots; a decade later, during the 2012-13 season, Parker only shot 68 3s. Parker and the Spurs recognized that not only were these shots not very effective (31.3 percent for his career), they also introduced a huge opportunity cost. Every time Parker shot a 3, it meant he wasn’t attacking or playmaking. The new and improved Tony Parker doesn’t take those 3s himself, he helps create them for guys like Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and Matt Bonner.

There’s no doubt that defenses secretly love when Westbrook shoots from long range; he’s not very efficient, and it means he is not shredding through defenders, attacking, and dishing to open teammates. The fact that Westbrook attempted 300 3s last season is troubling — this was up from 196 the year before, plus he only made 32 percent of them. It’s really hard to justify this level of activity. Westbrook is much better suited on the basket side of the 3-point line, pulling up from the elbow, driving to the hoop, drawing fouls, and distributing the ball.

Russell Westbrook
The good news is that in the same way that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady can be great without being great runners, it is possible to be a great NBA point guard without being a great shooter. In fact, Westbrook and Derrick Rose, two of the world’s best point guards, prove this on a regular basis. Still, Westbrook’s game, as great as it already is, could improve if he just stopped shooting all those 3s. Unfortunately, this season may not be the best time for him to stop. The loss of Kevin Martin has left the Thunder in dire need of replacement production from beyond the arc. We need to get Westbrook a Matt Bonner for Christmas.

Another point guard with limited perimeter passing options is Charlotte’s Ramon Sessions. He is a wannabe attack guard who has the speed and skill to maneuver through NBA defenses, but has trouble finishing at the basket.


Ramon Sessions
Although he gets a lot of opportunities at the rim, Sessions converts less than half of them. He also struggles as a jump shooter, but to his credit, if his relative inactivity out there is any kind of clue, he seems aware of this limitation.

In a way, Sessions is really similar to Ricky Rubio. Like Sessions, Rubio’s troubles are most extreme closest to the basket. He made a dismal 41 percent of his shots inside 7.5 feet last season, which was tied for worst in the NBA (with Austin Rivers and Randy Foye).


Ricky Rubio ShotScore
Saying that Rubio has trouble finishing at the rim is kind of like saying that Toonces the cat has trouble driving on mountain roads. But Rubio’s troubles extend outward from the hoop. As it turns out, not all Spanish point guards are freakishly good shooters. When it comes to shooting efficiency, Rubio is no Calderon. Rubio's pretty lousy in those exact same elbow areas where Calderon thrives, and Rondo has greatly improved. So, to the people that continue to make those “Rondo can’t shoot” proclamations, I propose you take your sneers elsewhere, perhaps to Oklahoma, North Carolina, or Minnesota.

Speaking of troubles near the basket, the Pistons' Greg Monroe presents another interesting example. Monroe was by far the NBA’s most active shooter near the basket last year. That’s good, except that he struggled to convert his shots down there. He has never met a close-range shot he doesn’t like. This is compounded by his immature midrange game. Although Monroe’s interior numbers weren’t terrible, his slightly below-average production combined with his extreme volume resulted in him arriving at the bottom of the ShotScore list.


Greg Monroe ShotScore

Despite his troubles last season, Monroe remains a very strong NBA prospect. With Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Josh Smith the Pistons seem well positioned to dominate the interior for years to come. There is little doubt that Monroe will improve both close to the basket and away from it as his game matures, but as it stands, he is notable for his inefficiency.

None of these players are bad basketball players; in fact most of them are really good even compared to their NBA peers. When it comes to shooting efficiency, however, each of these players has an important issue or two to address.


http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/77702/shooting-blanks-the-players-with-the-worst-shotscore

The link has their shooting percentages mapped out for each area of the court.

I think the bolded part is interesting about Rondo. I bolded it because he will probably be a Laker in 2015. :man1:
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby therealdeal on Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:06 pm

Rondo/Bryant/Carmelo/Love/Gasol in 2015! Viva Los Angeles!

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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby therealdeal on Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:06 pm

Rondo/Bryant/Carmelo/Love/Gasol in 2015! Viva Los Angeles!

:man10:

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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Barnstable on Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:31 pm

Oh, Rondo just looks better and better all the time.

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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Rooscooter on Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:33 pm

I see more and more are coming over to the dark side of wanting Rondo..... :man9:
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:08 am

i'm not sure it's fair to westbrook and ellis, in particular. both of those guys were the only real shot creators on their respective teams. and the idea that any shot they didn't take would have been taken by a better shooter in a better position to score is silly. we saw what Durant looked like without westbrook on the floor in the playoffs...less Durant-ish. he was forced to take some of those shots, because sometimes just waiting for an open kevin martin corner three means you've run out of shot clock.

I saw someone (nate silver, I think) saying he planned on tackling this issue, which is giant glaring hole in all shooting quality statistics.

right now, most "advanced" stats favor guys who either a) aren't primary options, b) have the luxury of being able to choose their spots or c) get to the line a lot (justified or not, *cough*harden*cough*). the fact is that if monta ellis were as bad as all stat guys say he is, he wouldn't be in the league right now, and every single team that's had him wouldn't have utilized him so much in their offense. as the article states, shot creation is a skill, and the idea that anyone can do this is ridiculous. laker fans should understand, as all of these stats will always tell you that there are ten better perimeter scorers than kobe Bryant, which has never, ever been true, even for a minute.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby wcsoldier81 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:02 am

Yeah these stats lack context ....

It's like every "analyst' believes Lebron is a better midrange shooter than Kobe because the stats say so ( and will laugh at you if you disagree) ... well both aren't defended the same way ... one player is given the midrange J.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:15 am

right, the fact that rondo now hits a respectable percentage while unguarded from 14ft means that the other team gets to sag way off and prevent easier buckets for other players. hence boston's offense being pretty bad last year, iirc.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Rooscooter on Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:40 am

abeer3 wrote:right, the fact that rondo now hits a respectable percentage while unguarded from 14ft means that the other team gets to sag way off and prevent easier buckets for other players. hence boston's offense being pretty bad last year, iirc.


You might be missing something as well. If they are sagging off of him so much why did he lead the league in assists up until his injury?

He shoots well because he doesn't take shots he knows he can't make. Westbrook is the complete opposite.... he thinks he can make anything. One is smart and the other is talented.

Rondo creates very easy looks for his team.... even when he can't shoot from the outside. That shows even more IMHO... not less.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:12 pm

A Toonces the Cat reference!!
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:49 pm

Rooscooter wrote:
abeer3 wrote:right, the fact that rondo now hits a respectable percentage while unguarded from 14ft means that the other team gets to sag way off and prevent easier buckets for other players. hence boston's offense being pretty bad last year, iirc.


You might be missing something as well. If they are sagging off of him so much why did he lead the league in assists up until his injury?

He shoots well because he doesn't take shots he knows he can't make. Westbrook is the complete opposite.... he thinks he can make anything. One is smart and the other is talented.

Rondo creates very easy looks for his team.... even when he can't shoot from the outside. That shows even more IMHO... not less.


i don't believe i'm missing anything. when rondo's team's offense benefits from his skills, i'll buy that his shot selection matters. aren't you the guy that is constantly bashing paul? at least his team is good on offense. and don't try to tell me that it's about his weapons, because those guys aren't talented offensive players. the fact is that rondo's jumper (lack thereof) allows defenses to play his team in a way that makes it hard for them to score. shooting 45% on wide stinking open 14 footers isn't impressive. shooting well enough to make teams adjust their schemes to prevent you attempting such shots is more impressive and impactful.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Rooscooter on Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:29 pm

^^^
Paul's teams are not good on offense in the playoffs.... That's what I bash.

Ok.... Paul makes Crawford hit 3's and biff Dunk, and Caron hit jumpers, and Bledsoe blow past everyone for lay ups and Barnes make shots... He's also the cure for bad breath and erectile dysfunction.

Anymore hyperbole you want to add in place of rational debate?
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:04 am

well, since I added none of that to begin with, I guess...no? I made a point about rondo that has apparently upset you, but is supported by data (his team was bad on offense). you claimed he creates easy looks for his team, I begged to differ. there are more ways to create easy looks for teammates than passing to them just prior to them scoring. drawing multiple defenders' attention can do it without the player ever touching the ball. tim Duncan and dirk nowtizki have made life easy for teammates for over a decade without topping 3apg. and part of why caron butler hits jumpers is because nobody's near him, same reason biff ever dunks in the halfcourt.


I will claim specifically that westbrook creates easier looks for Durant and ibaka simply because he's such a scoring threat (and i'm guessing his on/off numbers will support this claim, too, if simply watching the playoffs without him wasn't enough for you).

to bring this back to the original point: I don't like shooting percentage (of any sort) as a measure of shooting ability or offensive impact. too much noise in there. it captures some of shooting ability, but probably more of shot selection, teammate quality, and defensive attention to that player. those with better teammates, who take easier shots, and are ignored by defenses due to other, better options (see Jordan, deandre, for the triefecta) are going to convert at high rates. the method presented in the article is only slightly better than regular ol' fg% because it fails to capture context in any way other than distance from the basket and average conversion rates.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Rooscooter on Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:12 am

abeer3 wrote:well, since I added none of that to begin with, I guess...no?


No?...

aren't you the guy that is constantly bashing paul? at least his team is good on offense. and don't try to tell me that it's about his weapons, because those guys aren't talented offensive players.


:man10:

btw.... Rondo played 38 games last year. You left that little bit out didn't you? Other injuries to Boston's roster kept that team in constant flux last year.

Typically you won't get much argument out of me that stats are a poor way to evaluate players, but then again that is why I think Rondo is undervalued by so many. His ability to elevate his game is just about the best in the league at this point. There is no stat for that.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:06 pm

Rooscooter wrote:
aren't you the guy that is constantly bashing paul? at least his team is good on offense. and don't try to tell me that it's about his weapons, because those guys aren't talented offensive players.


:man10:


perhaps i misunderstood. you're arguing that the clippers that most often shared the floor with paul were better offensive players than the celtics that most often shared the floor with rondo? or are you arguing that any decent pg could create a top 4 offense when surrounded by jordan/griffin/butler/willie green? or are you arguing that chris paul plus kg/pierce/jeff green/courtney lee would be be a bottom-10 offense?

btw.... Rondo played 38 games last year. You left that little bit out didn't you? Other injuries to Boston's roster kept that team in constant flux last year.


when he did play, there's not a ton of evidence that things went that well. and the season before, they were even worse in terms of team offensive efficiency.

Typically you won't get much argument out of me that stats are a poor way to evaluate players, but then again that is why I think Rondo is undervalued by so many. His ability to elevate his game is just about the best in the league at this point. There is no stat for that.


wouldn't there be a very clear set of stats for that? and given your general issues with paul (he doesn't win), wouldn't the inverse relation between rondo's productivity and his team's playoff success be a bit alarming? meaning-when boston won the title, he was a bit player, and since he's emerged as a star, they've gotten worse. of course there are many other ways to explain this, but the same types of explanations (his team got worse) can be applied to other players (including paul).

all this said, i actually like rondo and hope the lakers can get him in the future. but the original point as presented in the article: that his shooting is no longer a problem because he hits a higher percentage now is just way off. he doesn't hit a high enough percentage of them to make teams change the way they play him, and i believe this is part of why his teams aren't as good on offense as you'd expect given his reputation as a floor general.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Rooscooter on Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:08 pm

^^The article is a childish attempt at creating views as the season nears. Rondo's FG% was lower last year than most of his career.

As for the set of specific stats..... if you think stats determine a players worth... then yes. His playoff averages and triple doubles speak for themselves if you're in a fantasy league. His leadership, drive and overall effort in the playoffs have no associated stat. It's the intangibles that separate good from great. Not saying he's great but to compare him with Paul who tends to fade in the playoffs and there is a significant difference you can see with the eye that doesn't show up in the box score.

Your original assertion that my evaluation should not include his teammates is the part I thought interesting. Paul's a great player in the regular season that has been game planned out of the playoffs just about every year. I can tell from your opinion of his "supporting cast" that you think he plays with subpar players and that you may believe that is the reason his teams get bounced so easily. I disagree based on the fact that his minutes expand and his dominance of the ball similarly expands and that teams are beating him because he dominates the ball and has little worth without it at the Playoff level. PG's that play that style never win deep into the playoffs. Nash and Stockton are over good examples of that. As for his teammates... they are hand picked to be nothing more than catch and shoot offensive weapons for the most part. No need to have others that create and need the ball on his teams. He has been surrounded by that type of player for his entire career just as Nash was.

This is precisely why I like Rondo and a few others over him. Playing both ends, setting screens, locking up other players when your teammates are in foul trouble etc. is what it takes to win in the Playoffs and it's also what Paul lacks. On the personal side I think he is has the least respect for the game. The YouTubes of his flops and blatant cheating are re-mixed on a yearly basis. He does lead by example in that case as the Clippers are a team of cry babies constantly looking to the Refs for their advantage rather than creating one by out "efforting" their opponents. This year will be a "Rinse and Repeat" as long as everyone stays healthy in SA and OKC.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby dj vitus on Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:55 am

No stat is the end-all be-all, but it's still a good indicator of who knows when to shoot and when not to shoot.

Obviously, Westbrook helps you win games, but if he shot a tad better and made better decisions with the ball, he would probably be on par with Dwyane Wade and arguably a Hall of Famer.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:23 am

imo, westbrook's been better than wade for at least a couple years. then again, I think wade's one of the more overrated players in my lifetime.

and to the previous point, my whole issue is that the stat doesn't really capture who "knows" when to shoot. it captures who gets the opportunity to pick his spots. I think guys like westbrook and ellis probably know that not all of the shots they get are good. because they are the ones given the ball at the end of the shot clock and on broken possessions, they just figure getting a bad shot is better than getting no shot. if any of these guys were truly just breaking off and taking bad shots, their coaches wouldn't play them/rely on them so much.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby charvin on Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:38 pm

I think Westbrook is Wade playing the PG position. Both are poor shooters from anywhere outside the paint, both love to drive and draw fouls, and that's about it. Make them chuckers and they can single handedly shoot you out of games.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby wcsoldier81 on Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:19 am

^^^^ Westbrook can shoot from midrange ... his shot selection is just horrible ... he's a poor version of Kobe playing out of position .

I think he has poor fundamentals when attacking the rim too ... there is no excuse to finish at an average rate for someone so fast and athletic as he is ... poor body control/jumping off the wrong foot ... it's like he's too fast for his own good
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Doc Brown on Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:02 am

^^^Last season I remember BBallBreakdown always talking about how Westbrook jumps off the wrong foot when finishing all the time and how his % would be higher if he jumped off the other foot.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Rooscooter on Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:27 am

Westbrook's problems aren't necessarily his shooting %.... it's shot selection and choking. If we are going to just evaluate players worth based on Fantasy rating he's pretty high but if its on doing the right thing at the right time I'd take Wade over him everyday. Wade's contributions in last year's finals on one leg were more than Westbrook's ever given in the playoffs. If you look at his stats it wouldn't look that way but what he did at key points in the deciding possessions of those games it would be clear. Wade's BBIQ and ability to differ and concentrate on the other aspects of the game are what separates him from Westbrook who cannot figure out how to play in the playoffs..... at least not yet.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:59 pm

I think if westbrook had LeBron instead of Durant, he's look hella smart, too.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby Rooscooter on Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:48 pm

abeer3 wrote:I think if westbrook had LeBron instead of Durant, he's look hella smart, too.


Or maybe LeBron doesn't look so good. Wade has a much more diverse game and knows when to do what. Westbrook is all about Westbrook at this point.
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Re: Shooting Blanks: NBA's Worst Shooters

Postby abeer3 on Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:54 am

how exactly is wade's game more diverse? I can't think of a single thing he can do that westbrook can't to better...except give the ball to LeBron and get out of the way. is the latter what you're talking about? because as I've said already, I don't think okc can do that (give to Durant and get out of the way), as we saw in the playoffs last year.
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