Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where Should You Shoot From?

Posted by Lee Miller | Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | Category: , , , |

Whether you are a rec league, high school, collegiate or pro player you have to be able to score from different spots on the floor to be a successful offensive player.  But which shot or spot is the best to shoot from?  Obviously some of it depends on the score and time left  in the game, however all things being equal I think there are certain spots that are better than others.

I think the 3rd best shot available in the game is 3 pointer anywhere from the middle of the court over to the wing.  Besides the fact that it is worth more than a 2 pointer, a middle-to-wing 3 pointer typically will result in good spacing for the offense and thus a good shot at an offensive rebound.   Some coaches who really push their teams to shoot the 3 have this philosophy-If the other team only shoots 2's and shoots 50%, then all we have to do is make 34% and shoots 3's and we'll beat them.   I say middle-to-wing 3 because anything in the corner has a lower percentage of makes and is much tougher for the offense to rebound.  In addition, the rebounds off corner 3's are easy fast break opportunities for the other team. Lastly, statistics show that players shoot at least as good if not better from 20 feet than they do from 10-15 feet.

I think the 2nd best shot in the game is a layup. It has a much higher percentage of going in even if it's a defended shot than the 3 pointer.  Even if the shot is missed, almost 63% of all fouls occur in or near the lane (see chart above from 82games.com. Now that doesn't mean that they were driving for a layup, but without a doubt the closer to the basket you are the greater chance you have of getting a foul called in your favor.  So even though 100% of layups don't go in, getting fouled in the lane as you drive helps bring it up to #2 on my list.

The best shot in basketball is the free throw.  And some point out that making them isn't even as important as just getting there.  In the book Basketball on Paper, Dean Oliver's statistics show that "teams that get to the line more are more effective than teams that make a higher percentage of their free throws." In fact, 7 of the last 10 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions have shot more free throws than their opponent.  And in the NBA, 9 of the last 10 Champions have shot more cumulative free throws over the Finals than their opponent.

So if you want to win games, get to the free throw line. If you can't do that drive for layups.  If neither of those are your forte, then shoot top and wing 3's.

Lee Miller
Elite Hoops
"Release Your Potential"

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