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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on FG%, shot selection, and why ET and the 2011-12 Sixers were inefficient

    As the tide has turned against ET the last few weeks, I've been seeing the same thing again and again - that he's an awful shooter whose shots just don't drop and that's why he's inefficient offensively. I don't think that's quite true. I think he's inefficient offensively, I just don't think it's simply because he's a bad shooter.

    My argument (and even I have my doubts at times, but bear with me) is that he's actually a good close and midrange shooter, comparable to the best SGs in the league, but that midrange shots are still bad and he relies too much on them instead of making up for his godawful (and largely absent) 3 point shooting by getting to the rim and trying to draw fouls.

    Beyond that, I put forward in FNM's "Confessions" thread that it isn't just ET, it's the entire team: relying on the mid-range instead of getting to the rim and shooting threes seems to be a product of Doug's system (or at least common to all the wings on our team last year), and I think it's a large reason why we were less efficient last year than we should've been. ET's the worst at it, but it isn't just him.

    I don't mean this as a defense of ET - if anything it's a criticism of his infuriating affinity for the midrange, and an attempt to refocus the discussion to something more resembling reality - he's an awful three point shooter, a good shooter other than that, and just doesn't know how to deal with it. "He's just a bad shooter so he's bad" is wrong.

    So here's some data (all from 2011-12 and from hoopdata.com) to back that up and hopefully spur some conversation. Sorry in advance for the excel charts - I didn't have the energy to fire anything else up.

    First, ET's FG% (and eFG% for threes) from each distance that hoopdata tracks, as compared with the league's top SGs. For the average I'm taking SGs with 25+ mpg, so it's only the decent guys, ie the ones we'd like to be able to compare Evan to some day:

    Figure 1.

    In short, ET is a horrendous three point shooter, just a couple of percentage points below average on long twos (but still right within the range of good SGs) and above average (and even above most of the other top-10-ish SGs) from closer midrange and at the rim. Evan's shots, inside the three point line, go down just fine. That's not his problem. (And before you argue he's an SF, his shooting numbers look even better against them).

    As a good example, his FG% line tracks D Wade's almost exactly, inside the three point line. So how is D Wade a so much more efficient shooter than ET (5% higher FG%, 5% higher eFG%, 8% higher TS%), despite shooting much the same?

    Answer: they take different shots.

    Figure 2.

    Both D Wade and ET deal with being bad three point shooters by just not shooting the 3. Problem is, Wade makes up for it by attacking the rim more, getting high percentage shots and getting to the line. ET, on the other hand, shoots more long twos.
    He's above average at the rim and from 3-9 feet, and he desperately needs to go there to make up for the fact he can't get threes, but instead he settles into long twos, where he's merely average (or even below on the longer twos).
    Notice also that his free throw rate (ie FTR = FTA/FGA) is pitiful, largely because he doesn't get to the rim and draw fouls. That's why his TS% is even worse than his eFG%.

    Here's the point - even if you're bad at the rim, you're still better there than from mid-range (almost without exception) so you need to be focussing on going there. Evan's good at the rim, and yet still doesn't. attack it.

    (Side note: James Harden's 62.5% from 10-15ft isn't because he's a mid-range-shooting savant, it's because he's a shot selection savant - that 62.5% represents 5-8 shooting last year. 8 shots from 10-15ft, all season).

    Is it possible to be a good SG while not shooting threes? Well, here's a list of guys who've shot less than 10% of their FGAs from three for a season: BBR. The answer is a pretty overwhelming yes. But more importantly, can you be a good SG while not shooting threes and not going to the rim? There's very very little evidence of that, and that's the problem with ET.

    In short, ET doesn't put up bad shooting and scoring efficiency numbers because he's a bad shooter, he does it because he focuses way too much on the mid-range in lieu of attacking the rim. It's shot selection more than it's how often those shots are going down.

    Of course, shot selection isn't just a function of choice but of ability. Many of the guys on the list above can get to the rim because they're fast and super athletic, which Evan just isn't.
    For example, maybe ET's shooting numbers at the rim are only good because he only goes there on fast breaks, never in traffic. Definitely a nice argument, but it doesn't explain why he's so good from 3-9ft, nor why his FG% at the rim (66.7% last year) is higher than guys like Lou (54%) and Jrue (53.6%) and others in the league, despite getting to the rim much more than the former and just about as much as the latter (see Figure 8).

    Whatever the cause is - it isn't just ET. It was the 2011-12 Sixers as a whole. Here's our FG% from each distance compared to the top 6 offenses in the league (by points per 100 possessions), and the league average:

    Figure 3.

    The Sixers weren't a bad team from any distance - in fact we were above the NBA average everywhere except 16-23ft (where we were just a shade below), and in fact were amongst the best at the rim and from 3. Yet, like Evan, we put up inefficient shooting numbers - 15th in FG%, 19th in eFG%, 25th in TS%, and 17th in points per 100 possessions.
    Why? Same reason.


    Figure 4.

    Just like ET, when you compare us to the best, suddenly the problems are obvious. We settled way too much for mid-range shots, instead of getting high efficiency shots at the rim and from 3. And, again, because we weren't getting to the rim, we weren't getting to the line, as seen in our awful free throw rate.

    We weren't a bad shooting team from any spot, but we were a bad shooting team overall because we focused on low efficiency mid-range shots while the good teams got high-efficiency shots and got to the line.
    ET wasn't a bad shooter from inside the arc, but he was a bad shooter overall because he focused on low efficiency mid-range shots while the good SGs got high-efficiency shots and got to the line.

    How bad were we at getting to the rim and getting free throws?

    Figure 5.

    And how much difference can that make to an offense?

    Figure 6.

    Figure 7.

    Again, there's a lot of reason to think the causation could run either way, here, so I'm fully willing for this to be shot down. It may just be that we shot so much from mid range as a team because we had players that do that - next week when I've got more time I might take a look at that by comparing guys under Doug's system and other systems. One piece of support for this argument is that the FO went out of the way to get shooters this offseason, suggesting they understand the impact of the three but just didn't think they had the personnel. Definitely a strong argument there.

    It's also possible we are actually bad around the rim and from three because we learned only to take the easier shots there instead of looking for them. That's particularly compelling when looking at our 3 point shooting, but I'm still not convinced. If you look at Figure 2, the good players' lines generally look like a U - high amount of shots at the rim, not many in the mid range, high amount from three (with Kobe and Wade the lone exceptions). If you take the entire league SG average you get the same thing. The 25+mpg SG average in Figure 2 takes a small dip beyond the 3PT line, but when you break it down that comes entirely down to guys like Ellis, DeRozan, B Gordon who you don't exactly want to emulate, and bad 3 shooters who have the discipline to avoid it like Kobe, Wade, and ET. Efficient play gives you a U, in general.
    Yet here's what the line looks like for our wings last year:


    Figure 8.

    It seems unlikely that we'd just happen to have so many guys who like to shoot from mid-range and not from three, which to me suggests that the causation runs more from the system to the players than the other way. Again, though, I'm going to try to figure out if there's a bit more evidence either way for that next week.

    Figure 8 also shows, though, that in Evan's case it very likely isn't just the system - it's him. He's the worst of the bunch. If he can't shoot threes then he shouldn't, but that shouldn't mean he should shoot as many midrange shots as he is, and get to the rim as little as he is. Not if he wants to be any good.

    Same goes for the team offense. Of course it'll already be completely different this year with the changes to the roster, but it's worth discussing the extent to which this ailed us last year - if it is a scheme thing, maybe Doug isn't over it yet.

    I can't be around much the next few days, but hopefully someone has some thoughts on all this. Discuss.

  2. #2
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    Holy crap! Is that your thesis? I'm going to have to print out to read
    Pay attention. You might learn something.

  3. #3
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    lol, I wish. My thesis (well, technically dissertation) was about a thousand times less interesting and had about a thousand more equations, with maybe 3 or 4 figures. I wouldn't even bother printing it out to read.

  4. #4
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    Thoughts on FG%, shot selection, and why ET and the 2011-12 Sixers were inefficient

    Book or internet thread?


    gotta pay the troll toll

  5. #5
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    Well done Holly, great analysis.

    My Guess: The reason you wrote a book or a thesis on the 76ers/Turner's shot selection is because when you tried to explain things normally, it got shot down without any fact checking to see if your were right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Hinkie
    "I'm probably pretty boring to watch a game with because I''m all about expected values. I don''t even care if it goes in or not, I'm all about, '‘Should it go in?'' I can live with randomness. I mean, if it''s a close game in the end, yeah, I''m just like anyone else. But I just want us to play the odds all the time."
    TerminH1NK13


  6. #6
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    now seems like an odd time to criticize turner for not making 3s, considering he's shooting them at a 50% rate so far this season.


    but more seriously, i think turner needs to play with more pace. he's big and he's strong and he can dribble, so he shouldn't spend any time trying to blow past his defender, but rather, get hip to hip on his guy (ballyouman) and drag him into the lane trying to find an angle for an easy layup/and-1.

    if you're looking for an example of that, i'd point you to paul pierce or andre miller or even james harden, who i think are good examples of guys who use pace to get an advantage over defenses and create shot opportunities at the net.

    where ET differs from those guys, is that he plays two beats ahead of his body. he's just out of control so damn much, that even if he was actually good, he would still be a cringe-inducing player to have watch on a nightly basis.

  7. #7
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    He never gets to the rim because he's slow and unathletic. That's why he settles for mid range Js, it's the shot he has a chance to make. He even struggles getting jumpshots off in iso situations because of his lack of athletic ability. Iggy could get a open jumpshot on every possession if he wanted to. Any good guard in the league could.

    Turner is just physically over matched in the NBA.
    Last edited by Reptar; 11-06-2012 at 03:19 AM.

  8. #8
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    All of that can be boiled down to these following sentences:

    This team was build to revolve around a dominating center who demands the double team. Without that our three-point snipers are constantly covered. The driving lanes are perpetually clogged.

    There. Your thesis, with the answer in 3 sentences.
    DO NOT TRUST YOUR PETS TO NEMACOLIN WOODLANDS KENNEL

    On 7/20/14 we took our Calla and Pebble for a stay while on vacation. On 7/21 Calla, who is diabetic, was given 10x her insulin dosage. She wasn't found until 12 hours after being overdosed. After a week and a half of suffering we made the tough decision to put her down because of brain damage and a lack of a quality of life. She was only 7 and her breed lives until their 20's. Over half of our beloved Calla's life was stolen from us.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by warfelg View Post
    All of that can be boiled down to these following sentences:

    This team was build to revolve around a dominating center who demands the double team. Without that our three-point snipers are constantly covered. The driving lanes are perpetually clogged.

    There. Your thesis, with the answer in 3 sentences.
    Except this data is from last year, before we got Bynum. His point was that no matter the personnel, our bad shot selection stays constant.

    If you don't read the OP, and I say this not to pick on you, why comment?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Hinkie
    "I'm probably pretty boring to watch a game with because I''m all about expected values. I don''t even care if it goes in or not, I'm all about, '‘Should it go in?'' I can live with randomness. I mean, if it''s a close game in the end, yeah, I''m just like anyone else. But I just want us to play the odds all the time."
    TerminH1NK13


  10. #10
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    Holly, you right. Poor Sixers shot selection is the problem.
    I think one of the causes is not just Doug philosophy but the fact that we don't have bigs to set strong picks or screens, or to carve out space around the basket to create a lane for penetration. The opposing big usually can just sit back and wait for the penetrator. Hawes shooting 18 (Thad midrange game you're talking about) wont solve this.

    So I guess I'm saying the root cause of the poor offense is the lack of a imposing big men.
    Pay attention. You might learn something.

  11. #11
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    Thoughts on FG%, shot selection, and why ET and the 2011-12 Sixers were inefficient

    Turners speed should not hinder him from getting to the rim.... Turners mentality and frenetic/hectic/out of control play prevent him from getting to the rim. There are a lot of small 2 guards in todays NBA and he needs to learn to be physical and use his size and strength as an advantage.... The same way paul pierce does at the 3.... Pierce has never been an elite athlete either, although pierces jumper is epically smoother than turners.


    gotta pay the troll toll

  12. #12
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    Bingo! Jump shoot opens up driving options. Plus, pierce dribbles with more purpose. Evan just looks like he's playing keeping away with his dribble. Then he ends up wherever and shoots from there.
    Pay attention. You might learn something.

  13. #13
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    Thoughts on FG%, shot selection, and why ET and the 2011-12 Sixers were inefficient

    I think that myles is right about the big man thing, having a big who can set a screen is definately a valuable part of attacking the basket.... Not only because it creates lanes, but because u can have your big man roll out an either get open for a 10-18 foot jumper or he brings his defender with him creating a wide open rim..... The sixers dont do this often (pick and roll, simple effective basketball, ugh).

    But i also think part of the problem is we didnt being in guys who get to the rim.... Nick young and jrich are historically guys who dont attack the basket, and i think the jury is still out on dorrell wright.


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  14. #14
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    Thoughts on FG%, shot selection, and why ET and the 2011-12 Sixers were inefficient

    Holiday and turner should be pick and rolling with lavoy and hawes all freakin day. But i dont know if collins even believes in that play.... He doesnt run it at all


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  15. #15
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    Hey Knowledge...you wanna call out Myles and Hydro too? They're saying the same thing I did.

    This offensive philosophy and the team we've had/have is built to work with a dominating big man.

    You don't have to read that whole thing to know that.

    I also want to point out that if you can isolate data from games last year wwhere Hawes played and was healthy it goes to proving the point. Now I'm just on my phone so I don't have the abilities but I'm sure if you did a statistical analysis comparing the two I'm sure you can easily see it. With a quite capable big man you will see a difference in the shot selection and percent.

    A post man that can command a double team or pull the defensive post presence away helps everyone. Without Hawes/Bynum it isn't happening.
    Last edited by warfelg; 11-06-2012 at 11:22 AM.
    DO NOT TRUST YOUR PETS TO NEMACOLIN WOODLANDS KENNEL

    On 7/20/14 we took our Calla and Pebble for a stay while on vacation. On 7/21 Calla, who is diabetic, was given 10x her insulin dosage. She wasn't found until 12 hours after being overdosed. After a week and a half of suffering we made the tough decision to put her down because of brain damage and a lack of a quality of life. She was only 7 and her breed lives until their 20's. Over half of our beloved Calla's life was stolen from us.

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