Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shot Location and Success

Here's the stuff I mentioned earlier in the week. Shot volume and field goal percentage by location, broken down by quality of opponent. First, the percentage of field goal attempts from each of the five locations provided by Hoopdata:

Opponentat rim3-9 feet10-15 feet16-23 feet3PTA
under .50028.8%11.8%5.8%29.7%23.9%
over .50030.2%12.1%5.6%30.6%21.4%

The main item of note is that the Hawks take far fewer three-point shots against teams above .500. Since the Hawks are 4th in the league in three-point shooting but just 13th in offensive efficiency, not getting those shots up is a big deal. Not for the first time, Michael Cunningham is onto something.

Fewer three-point attempts doesn't entirely explain* the Hawks scoring 15.6 fewer points per 100 possessions against opponents with winning records. The slight upticks in shot attempts from the two lowest percentage areas (3-9 and 16-23 feet) are exaggerated by how rarely the Hawks have been making those low-percentage shots. Here's the teams eFG% from each location:

Opponentat rim3-9 feet10-15 feet16-23 feet3PTA
under .50060.9%45.1%40.8%39%60.6%
over .50059.8%32.7%47.1%32.6%55.6%

The inability to make the high-percentage shots (at the rim and beyond the arc) is also an obvious hindrance to scoring efficiently against better opponents. Don't let that 47% shooting from 10-15 feet against opponents over .500 get you too excited. That's a sample of just 68 shots over 15 games.

*Nor does their shooting numbers. As shown previously, the Hawks rebound far fewer of their misses against better opponents.


Unknown said...

These stats are definitely interesting. It would help to provide some context about how other top playoff contenders are doing vs over .500 teams compared to under .500. That would help tell us if this is a Hawks problem or just a generic "everybody plays worse vs better teams" problem.

Bret LaGree said...

Excellent point. Given the time it took to put these together, I invite anyone else to complete a similar breakdown of other teams.

I'm also curious if the terrible, terrible, terrible bottom-third of the Eastern Conference is exaggerating the effect by making the Hawks look good compared to teams that aren't trying very hard.