Friday, January 21, 2011

Josh Smith, Jump Shooter? 2011 Update

Josh Smith continues to take and make three-point field goals at a far higher rate than his career norms:

Josh Smith3PTA/FGA

Smith's hot season (31-84) from beyond the arc has lifted his career 3PTFG% to 28.1%.

Smith is also making a significantly higher percentage of his long two-point jump shots so far this season:

Josh SmitheFG% (16-23')

The league average from 16-23 feet this season is 39.5% on 1.7 (per player) field goal attempts per game so Smith has clearly been an above average shooter from that range so far this season.

He's both taking and making a greater percentage of his long jump shots so far this season.

Josh Smith%FGA (16+')eFG% (16+')

This season, Smith peaked as a jump shooter after the loss in Detroit. On December 14th, he was making 45.3% of his long two-point shots and shooting 52.6 eFG% outside of 16 feet with 40.1% of his field goal attempts coming from that range. Since then, Smith has made 30.6% of his long two-point shots (62 attempts) and is shooting 35.2 eFG% outside 16 feet (105 attempts) with 46.1% of his field goal attempts coming from that range.

Smith has continued to take a lower percentage of his shot attempts at the rim than in previous seasons. Some of that may be due to a data collection change at Hoopdata. Last season, 32.5% of shots in the NBA were categorized as at the rim. This season, 27.4% of shots in the NBA have been so categorized.

Josh Smith%FGA (at rim)eFG% (at rim)

Because Smith's shot attempts have gravitated* toward the lower-efficiency options, his eFG% is far lower than either of the last two seasons. Because Smith is on pace to set a career high from the free throw line (72.7%), he's managed to keep his True Shooting Percentage stable, at 53.3% (league average: 54%).

*Despite amping up the three-point attempts from seven over the entirety of last season to almost two a game this season, Smith has also managed to add two extra long two-point jumpers for every three games he's played this season. Those shots remain the killers of Josh Smith's scoring efficiency and further underline the red herring that was Josh Smith briefly renouncing the three-point shot.

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