Touching BasesFebruary 11, 2010
Shooters by Zones
By Jeremy Greenhouse

Last week, I looked at Hitters by Zones, and I'm going to use the same format this week. My sample includes all NBA regular season games since the 2006-2007 season up to Saturday. Data from BasketballGeek. First, a crude chart showing the percentage of shots in each zone and how players fare when shooting, indicated by color. I didn't include any data on free throws, so the only inputs are missed shots, made two-point shots, and made three-point shots.


Shots at the rim yield the highest return, followed closely by three pointers, specifically the corner three. Mid-range jumpers are the worst.

Getting right to the leaderboards, highlighting the top five and bottom five. There are sixteen of these this time, but I’m going to again leave the commentary short and I’ll leave a spreadsheet at the end. The listed leaderboards will be limited to players with at least 50 shots in a zone, but I'm including all players in my spreadsheet, and you might just want to skip straight to that.

I'm defining the side of the floor as that side you would face if you were standing on a basketball court, so the left side of the chart provided is actually the right side of the floor.

Right-Corner Threes

Player Shots Points/Shot
J.J. Redick 54 1.69
Mike Miller 70 1.53
Vince Carter 73 1.52
Courtney Lee 69 1.43
Anthony Parker 256 1.42
Rasheed Wallace 64 0.70
Baron Davis 64 0.70
Earl Watson 56 0.70
Shawn Marion 126 0.69
Luke Ridnour 51 0.67

The word on the street is that the NBA's grand market inefficiency is long-range shooters. As much as I dislike Reddick, I have to admit that he's clearly a valuable, and likely undervalued player. Parker has taken the most threes from the right corner in this time span, making his continued success more impressive.

Left-Corner Threes

Player Shots Points/Shot
Steve Blake 166 1.51
Jason Kapono 87 1.48
Jameer Nelson 85 1.45
Bobby Simmons 139 1.45
Nick Young 55 1.42
Matt Barnes 116 0.81
Antawn Jamison 98 0.80
Baron Davis 66 0.77
Monta Ellis 62 0.74
Devean George 66 0.68

I'd be very interested to see what players have large differences between how they shoot from the right side of the floor vs. the left side of the floor. Have there been any public studies based on handedness and shot location?

Baron Davis might want to stop shooting threes. Monta Ellis has surprisingly had the worst offensive rating in the NBA this year, though Kevin Pelton points to small sample size.

Right-Wing Threes

Player Shots Points/Shot
Anthony Morrow 69 1.51
Chris Quinn 63 1.49
Delonte West 104 1.38
D.J. Augustin 79 1.37
Steve Nash 373 1.36
Sebastian Telfair 101 0.66
Ronnie Brewer 59 0.66
Kyle Lowry 54 0.61
Bobby Brown 51 0.59
Antoine Wright 54 0.41

I can't remember ever having seen Steve Nash miss a three. He's so ridiculously efficient, but I still feel like he should be shooting more of them, even though he's already taken the third most of any player over the last few years from the right wing.

Left-Wing Threes

Player Shots Points/Shot
Anthony Morrow 81 1.41
Danilo Gallinari 104 1.35
Juan Dixon 76 1.34
Daniel Gibson 216 1.31
Juan Carlos Navarro 157 1.30
Greg Buckner 50 0.64
Eddie Jones 61 0.64
Anthony Carter 59 0.61
Kyle Lowry 63 0.52
Josh Smith 76 0.36

Boy, is it a good thing Josh Smith has stopped shooting 3s this year. He and Zach Randolph both. Smith and Randolph have been key parts to the Hawks' and Grizzlies' surprising success, and I like to think their much improved shot selection has played a role. I'm happy to see my man Gallo is already on the leaderboard. He's got to be the favorite in the weekend's three-point contest. And after his YouTubing of Roy Hibbert, he should be in the dunk contest too. Shades of Shawn Kemp, and Gallo's been as potent on the floor as Kemp was off it.

Middle Threes

Player Shots Points/Shot
Jonny Flynn 52 1.50
Jason Kapono 59 1.34
Kelenna Azubuike 88 1.33
Troy Murphy 517 1.32
Matt Bonner 156 1.28
Sergio Rodriguez 90 0.59
Marquis Daniels 54 0.57
Adam Morrison 61 0.52
Darrell Armstrong 61 0.49
Andre Miller 59 0.27

Impressive stuff from Troy Murphy. He and Andrea Bargnani stand alone in threes attempted from straight on, with Rasheed Wallace, another 6-11 big man coming a distant third.

Right-Corner Mid-Range

Player Shots Points/Shot
Anthony Morrow 56 1.14
Dirk Nowitzki 314 1.13
Vince Carter 125 1.10
Andre Miller 242 1.04
Luke Ridnour 56 1.04
Adam Morrison 73 0.63
Jason Richardson 115 0.63
Emeka Okafor 75 0.61
Bonzi Wells 53 0.60
Josh Smith 73 0.60

Luke Ridnour was dead last at shooting threes from the right corner, but is fifth when he takes a few steps in.

Left-Corner Mid-Range

Player Shots Points/Shot
Kyle Korver 76 1.16
Al Horford 74 1.11
Randy Foye 87 1.08
Malik Allen 76 1.08
Brandon Bass 110 1.07
Kenyon Martin 73 0.60
Darius Songaila 70 0.60
Andray Blatche 93 0.58
Ronald Murray 77 0.55
Josh Smith 64 0.44

I'm starting to get the feeling that Josh Smith can't shoot.

Right-Wing Mid-Range

Player Shots Points/Shot
Tyronn Lue 87 1.15
Steve Nash 307 1.12
Ray Allen 201 1.08
Chris Bosh 300 1.03
Antoine Wright 51 1.02
Jerry Stackhouse 86 0.58
Devin Brown 59 0.58
Adam Morrison 88 0.57
Quinton Ross 107 0.54
Anderson Varejao 55 0.47

Now that Bruce Bowen's retired, Varejao might be my least favorite player in the NBA, so I like seeing him there.

Left-Wing Mid-Range

Player Shots Points/Shot
Nate Robinson 130 1.02
Jose Calderon 245 1.01
Jamario Moon 91 1.01
Kurt Thomas 113 1.01
Jamal Crawford 292 0.99
Rodney Carney 53 0.53
Zaza Pachulia 67 0.48
Trevor Ariza 67 0.48
Anderson Varejao 67 0.48
Marcus Camby 76 0.45

Five Knicks/former Knicks on this list. Nate Robinson and Jamal Crawford have a whole lot of things in common.

Middle Mid-Range

Player Shots Points/Shot
Mikki Moore 94 1.15
Steve Nash 179 1.09
Chris Webber 53 1.09
Kyle Lowry 66 1.06
Juwan Howard 129 1.02
Lou Williams 70 0.54
Rasual Butler 71 0.51
Darko Milicic 56 0.50
Jeff Green 77 0.49
Sasha Pavlovic 53 0.45

Isn't Pavlovic supposed to be a shooter?

Right-Corner Short

Player Shots Points/Shot
Tony Parker 107 1.18
David Lee 52 1.15
Paul Pierce 59 1.12
Carlos Boozer 54 1.11
Richard Hamilton 71 1.10
Spencer Hawes 58 0.62
Kevin Durant 81 0.62
Hedo Turkoglu 53 0.60
Jeff Green 60 0.60
Rudy Gay 60 0.60

Wayne Winston says that Kevin Durant and Jeff Green don't play well together. I'm surprised that Durant is inefficient from anywhere on the floor.

Left-Corner Short

Player Shots Points/Shot
Ronald Murray 50 1.20
LeBron James 88 1.14
Rajon Rondo 57 1.09
Carlos Boozer 72 1.08
Elton Brand 102 1.08
Chris Wilcox 122 0.64
Andray Blatche 56 0.61
Lamar Odom 51 0.59
Mehmet Okur 65 0.58
Allen Iverson 57 0.53

Wilcox has taken the tenth most shots in the league from this spot on the floor, and he is the only player to have taken at least 65 shots (up to Okur) and net less than 0.7 points per shot.

Right-Wing Short

Player Shots Points/Shot
Mikki Moore 74 1.24
Ray Allen 178 1.13
Maurice Evans 62 1.13
Kendrick Perkins 165 1.13
Fabricio Oberto 87 1.13
Peja Stojakovic 51 0.63
Richard Jefferson 135 0.61
Andrei Kirilenko 52 0.58
Desmond Mason 124 0.56
Ben Wallace 67 0.51

Mikki Moore is a surprisingly effective shooter from the floor, as the only player to top two leaderboards. This year, he's made 29 of his 34 shots at the rim.

Left-Wing Short

Player Shots Points/Shot
Fabricio Oberto 65 1.29
Kendrick Perkins 128 1.20
Adam Morrison 59 1.15
Luis Scola 87 1.13
Tony Parker 257 1.12
Tracy McGrady 81 0.62
Ron Artest 117 0.62
Tyrus Thomas 55 0.51
Brad Miller 60 0.50
Larry Hughes 87 0.44

You may recall that Larry Hughes had a web site devoted to his poor shooting called heylarryhughespleasestoptakingsomanybadshots.

Middle Short

Player Shots Points/Shot
Luke Ridnour 116 1.28
Matt Bonner 81 1.19
Kevin Garnett 295 1.13
Mike Miller 63 1.11
Richard Hamilton 190 1.11
Delonte West 95 0.59
Sasha Pavlovic 55 0.55
JaVale McGee 61 0.52
Ben Wallace 81 0.49
Trevor Ariza 58 0.45

I'd love to know whether Ben Wallace is a good player or not. I like to think defense and rebounding can outweigh being a zero on offense.

At Rim

Player Shots Points/Shot
LeBron James 1438 1.49
Shaquille O'Neal 919 1.48
Dwight Howard 1639 1.48
Brendan Haywood 575 1.45
Kevin Garnett 536 1.45
Rodney Stuckey 715 1.02
Raymond Felton 959 1.00
Ben Gordon 555 0.99
Russell Westbrook 627 0.99
Rafer Alston 579 0.93

I limited this leaderboard to players with at least 500 shots. My conclusion last week was that Albert Pujols is good, and I'll close this piece out by saying the same of LeBron James.

The spreadsheet.


Do basketball people do things like location-adjusted shooting percentage or location-adjusted points above average?

Also, it would be interesting to include points from free throws taken because of fouls in each location. Either use actual free throws made after a specific foul, a player's overall free throw percentage (my vote), or a league-average free throw percentage.

Sky, basketball people with the available data do make those adjustments. I unfortunately don't have the data handy.

Sky, I don't think there's location-adjusted shooting percentage in the NBA. Once you're too far away from the basket for a dunk or a layup, the shooting percentage is roughly constant. Players tend to shoot to the limits of their abilities and not from further.

There's a big advantage to short 3s, which is why the shooting percentage is lower from just outside the arc. But you can't build a chart like shooting in hockey or fielding in baseball.

Sky/Hawerchuk, I was referring to adjustments made for free throws and offensive rebounding rate. I don't know if there are adjustments made for shot locations similar to UZR and +/-.

Just nitpicking, but Mikki Moore isn't the only one to top 2 leaderboards. Anthony Morrow leads both left and right wing threes.