Saturday, April 4, 2009

Season Post-Mortem III: Shot Selection

In Part II of my masochistic rehashing of the season, we looked at the Hoyas' three point shooting and how it all but completely collapsed this season. But ability to make shots is not only affected by shooting ability, it is also affected by what type of shots you take.

How has the Hoyas' shot selection changed over the last three years and what effect has it had?

The Hoyas' offense has declined over the last two years, and its True Shooting % has declined in course. True Shooting % incorporates the added point for three pointers as well as FT shooting.

In 2006-07, the team had a 60.7% TS%. The next year, with Jeff Green gone, it slid to 58.9%. Last year, it slid again, though not nearly as much, to 58.0%.

Thanks to CO's tireless work, we can see the distribution of the Hoyas' shots between dunks, layups, two-point jumpers, threes and free throws. So was this drop because the Hoyas were taking different kinds of shots, or were they taking the same kinds of shots and just not making them?

The reality is, the Hoyas' shooting choices really haven't changed that much, at least by the details that a box scores afford us.

The 2009 shot selection went as follows: 3% on dunks, 32% on layups, 19% on two-point jumpers, 31% on threes and 15% on free throws.

In neither of the previous two years did any of these percentages differ by more than 4% (The Hoyas shot 35% of our shots from three last year). In the Final Four year, the Hoyas had more dunks and less layups, and a few more two point jumpers, but none of these percentages differed by more than 3%.

What's left is simply the ability to make these shots. Compared to last year, the Hoyas were much less effective on dunks and layups, and also significantly less effective on threes.

Compare to 2006-2007, the Hoyas were less effective in both those areas and two point jumpers.

Of course, it's important to note that that one percent drop from last year is equivalent to about twenty points over the course of the season; the three point drop is just sixty points.

Some thoughts:
  • One to two points per game is more significant than you think, but this also speaks to the importance of getting more shots (offensive rebounds, turnovers) and defense.

  • The reduced shooting percentage doesn't mean shot selection isn't an issue. The team still may be taking worse threes and worse layups. But the team isn't settling for too many jumpers, at least compared to the past.

  • In all three years, two point jumpers scored at least at a 20% less points per shot rate than the next worst choice. People trumpet the mid-range game, and there's certainly a place for it. That said, there's a big gap to make up in taking better two point shots before it is really an effective weapon rather than something you settle for.

  • The offense probably looks better than it was because it was a good offense for half the season. When I get a chance, I'll look at Big East numbers.

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