Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Some Shotmaking Particulars

(HT: Jason Walker's must-read response to the Mike Prada piece linked below.)

The Atlanta Hawks take a lot of long two-point jump shots. The Atlanta Hawks typically make those shots at a better rate than other teams. This didn't create a good offense for the Hawks in the regular season because those aren't very efficient shots. On the other hand,
making those inefficient shots at a slightly worse rate in the playoffs isn't necessarily going to cripple an offense* because of that very same built-in inefficiency. Especially when said offense counters its decreased efficiency on an inefficient shot with a greatly increased efficiency on a really efficient shot.

*And acknowledging that, outside of the two Game 1s, the Atlanta offense hasn't been very efficient in the playoffs, either.

Quite simply: the Atlanta Hawks didn't make a high percentage of three-point shots during the regular season but they're making a very high percentage of three-point shots through seven playoff games. As a team, the Hawks are shooting 38.6% in the playoffs (up from 35.2% during the regular season). The Hawks are shooting 38.6% in the playoffs despite Josh Smith making just 3 of 16 three-pointers and Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Damien Wilkins combining to miss all five of their attempts from beyond the arc.

The Atlanta guards, though, have been dynamite from beyond the arc. Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, and Kirk Hinrich have collectively made 38 three-pointers at a 46.8% rate. Hinrich shot the three well in his brief time in Atlanta, but the Hawks' offense suffered all season from poor three-point shooting from Johnson (29.7% on 300 attempts) and Crawford (34.1% on 349 attempts) and it's their hot shooting from beyond the arc (a combined 30 of 64 through seven playoff games), more than anything happening in the team's trademark 16-23' sliver of shot selection, that has made the Hawks a profoundly tougher out than their regular season results suggested.


obiXXL said...

"greatly increased inefficiency on a really efficient shot"

Trying to wrap my head around that sentence... should that read "increased efficiency" or "decreased inefficiency"?

Bret LaGree said...

The former. Now corrected.