Blazer Shot Selection, By the Numbers

In the recent conversations regarding the Blazer offense, it seems that there is a consensus amongst B'edgers that our offense is at its best when we are getting open looks/close shots/3s and worst when we are taking contested midrange Js off the dribble. Using information from I decided to take a look at how our offense is generated and the success we hae attacking in different ways, including how we compare to the rest of the league. First, we'll start with total shooting stats (Sorry if these seem scattered, hopefully the reason I chose the categories I did will make sense as you read on):

FG% (Rank)   3PT%          TS%          Assist %      FGA/gm       FT/FGA

45.4 (16th)     35.5 (12th)   55.1 (9th)  60.52 (4th)   76.1 (30th)   .347 (3rd)

Hoopdata sorts field goal attempts into 5 basic categories- at the rim, inside of 10 feet, 10-15 feet, 15-23 feet, and 3-pointers.


Attempts/gm        FG%                     Ast%              % Total FGA

22.4 (28th)           62.8 (10th)           54.7 (8th)        29.5


<10 FEET

Attempts/gm        FG%                     Ast%              %FGA

7.0 (24th)             41.4% (22nd)       38.2 (14th)       9.2


10-15 FEET

Attempts/gm        FG%                     Ast%              %FGA

7.3 (11th)             38.8 (19th)           35.2 (18th)      9.6


15-23 FEET

Attempts/gm        FG%                   Ast%                %FGA

19.8 (18th)          40.3 (9th)            62.5 (6th)          26.0



Attempts/gm       FG%                 Ast%                  %FGA             eFG%

18.8 (13th)          35.5 (12th)       90.6 (5th)            24.8 (10th)     53.2 (12th)


While this data is incomplete at best, I'm hoping to look at our offensive production from a different standpoint than previous fanposts. A few trends:

We have an exceptionally high assist percentage on all our outside jumpers, which is a good sign. There are other, less positive indicators as well. First off, over 50% of our shots come outside of 15 feet despite our efficient inside scoring. The 2nd is that we take more long 2s than 3s, something that would frustrate a coach at any level. We assist at a high rate on both, meaning our shooters need to position better before the catch or extend their range, depending on the player. The only exception is LaMarcus, who needs to take some of those open 18-20 footers to the rim for dunks/free throws. By comparison, the Orlando Magic, the league's most successful inside-out team, take a similar number of outside jumpers with a wildly different distribution. While 51% of their shots come from the outside, 34% of their shots are 3s and 17.5% are long 2s. While I would like to see us take fewer outside shots in general, I would settle for taking a few more 3s proportionally. I included eFG% under 3 pointers to show the stark contrast in scoring efficiency when we step behind the line.

Another positive I took away from these numbers was our proficiency at scoring close to the basket. Not only do we shoot over 60%, but we draw free throws at the 3rd-highest rate in the league. Our high assist rate shows our team's willingness to hit open cutters for point-blank shots, probably the easiest way to score in the NBA.

While there are signs of smart, team-oriented basketball in these numbers, there are also some things that highlight our occasional scoring difficulties. Our eFG% on 3s and close shots is 15-20 points higher than 2 point jump shots from any distance, and yet only 54% of our shots come from those areas. We take more long 2s than any other kind of shot away from the basket, which is something teams like the Bulls do. Also, most of our shots from 3-15 feet come off the dribble, which is probably why we don't shoot appreciably better than we do from 15-23 feet. 10-15 feet seems to be our team's "no man's land" where we take and make the lowest percentage of our shots.

Our team's unwillingness to play to its strengths for long stretches has been the most frustrating part of watching our offense this year. I think this burden falls equally on the coaches and players, despite BRoy's statements to the contrary. While coaches are responsible for drawing up the game plan, players are responsible for executing and adjusting. Andre Miller has showed us the recipe for some beautiful team offense, and most of my our prettiest stretches come when he infects our team with the unselfishness bug. Certain players are looking to make passes I haven't seen them try and make in years past with the goal of creating the best possible shot for the team, and this should only become more prevalent as we become more familiar with one another. The only obstacle seems to be that a few players want to stop the ball and control the game, a malaise that can also spread to the rest of the team. I'm not trying to point fingers as this has happened to almost every Blazer already this season. It's my hope that our players get shown, through statistics or video, the gaping chasm between our current and ideal shot selection. If Josh Smith can do it, so can the Blazers.

Thanks for sticking with me, this is my 1st fanpost and I'm worried I went a bit too long... Hope this information was worth your time.

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