Some more NBA Statistical Fun

I’m working with some very smart people who are doing some very helpful and smart things. One question that they answered that I had was…What is the difference in shooting percentage by player, team and league between the longer 3 point shot vs the shorter corner 3 point shot.

I’m not going to give up the goods on the Mavs, but feel free to send this information to your favorite team…

As a league, through Jan 27th, we shoot about 37.6 pct from the short corner vs 33.6 pct vs the long.

All but 3 teams shoot better from the short than the long, those 3 are Atlanta, Detroit, Miami. Detroit has the biggest variance, shooting 35.3 pct from the long and 30.9 pct from short.

Houston , Philly and The Spurs have the biggest variance the otherway. Each shoots at least 8 percentage points better from the corner.

The Sonics shoot the best in the NBA from the corner, 42.7pct. Given thats an effective fieldgoal percentage of 64 pct, it’s no wonder they are near the top in corner 3 attempts. They have better results from the corner than they do shots closer than 5 feet!

The Spurs take the greatest percentage of their 3 pointers from the corner. 56.7 pct of their 3s are corner bound and they hit 40 pct of them for an effective field goal rate of 60 pct ! Given they shoot 8 points better from the corner, and their effective field goal rate is higher from the corner than anywhere else on the court other than 5 feet and in, could this be the key to the Spurs offense?

The only team in fact that takes more corner 3 point shots than the Spurs, is the Suns. They have taken 534 to the Spurs 501. The Suns have hit 41.1%, for an effective FG rate of 61.7% Maybe they have figured out something the rest of us havent. Or maybe now that we know, this is a way to slow down both offenses.

On the flipside, the Clips have taken the fewest corner shots..135.

In terms of players, Bruce Bowen has attempted the most corner 3s in the NBA, 137 of them, hitting 37.9 percent for an effective FG pct of 57%.

Joe Johnson has made the most from the corner. He has hit 51 pct of his 112 attempts for an Effective FG (EFF FG) pct of 77.68 %! Cutino Mobley and Mike Miller both have EFF FG of greater than 80 pct from the corner. But they all pale compared to the Mayor in Minny. Freddy Hoiberg has taken 31 corner 3s, and hit 21 of them. Thats an EFF FG of greater than 100 pct ! Shaq for a dunk or the Mayor from the corner… The Mayor gets you more!

In the 70 pct or greater EFF FG Pct category add Battier, Jimmy Jackson, Beano Udrich and Kyle Korver. In the 60 pct or greater EFF FG add JRich, Ray Allen, TMac, Wally, DStoudamire, Ginobli and Barry from the Spurs, Tinsley, Lewis and Radmonovic from the Sonics, Redd, Marshall, Murray and Rose from the Raps, Arenas and Jeff Mcinnis, Gordon from Chi, and more.

Guys who can’t hit the shot, but take it. Rasheed Wallace is 4 for 31, Antoine Walker is is 14 for 71, Doug Christie is 4 for 24, Troy Hudson is 6 for 28 In terms of short 3 pct vs long 3 percentage (reg pct, not EFF pct). Antonio Daniels drops of 26 pct, Joe Johnson shoots 40 pct from straight away, Beano Udrich drops off 25 pct, Willie Green drops off 31 pct, Korver drops 15 pct, Shane 15pct, Jimmy Jackson 21 pct, JRich 22 pct, TMac 14 pct, Ray Allen 9 pct, BRuss 18pct, Tayshan Prince 22 pct, Raja Bell 18 pct, Wally 12 pct. That’s from a quick look down the list. There are some guys that shoot better from the long 3. Reggie Miller shoots 10 pct better, Chauncy Billups 13pct, same with Allan Houston, Rasheed Walker and Antoine Walker who each shoot 15 pct or more better from straight away One last fun fact. There are more than 100 players who have an effective FG rate of 50 pct or better from the corner

What does it all mean? You decide.


19 thoughts on “Some more NBA Statistical Fun

  1. The three point shot is not defended well, most of the time, and I find it to be BORing. I think the sport was better when the 3 point shot did not exist. The NBA brass has tinkered with the sport\’s rules and it\’s culture; how many of you think the sport is better now. If you do, you don\’t remember Hondo Havlicek or Oscar Robertson. But hey, modern NBA ball is political correct(and micromanaged correctness at that).

    Comment by Mark Meld -

  2. Does Kobe Bryant really hog the ball to much versus other players? Should teams really focus on the player with the hot hand? IS there a statisticallly significant dependence of one shot on the previous one. Or should the focus on mismatches?

    Comment by runescape money -

  3. More specifically and more to the point, is there a greater percentage of shots hit from the corner because it is an easier shot, or because players are more often left more open? (The action is generally not at the baseline and a player near the baseline can be guarded with less attention as he undoubtedly has fewer options from that point.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  4. I’ve just been sitting around not getting anything done. That’s how it is. Oh well. Not much on my mind to speak of. Pfft. Not that it matters.
    phone cards

    Comment by phone bell -

  5. Many players cannot consistently make shots from the corners, because the backboard is not there for them to gauge the distance. So there are pro’s and con’s to taking the shorter 3.

    Comment by Ray Hui -

  6. I would be posting before The SUNS
    Win 2-02 post 2-02
    Win2-06 no post
    L 2-08
    W 2-11Post 2-12
    W2-13 Post 2-14
    W 2-15
    W2-17 Post 2-18
    W 2-24

    Comment by Small Sample -

  7. I think Tim Duncan is probably the key to the Spurs offense. That, or the relentless drives of Parker and Ginobili. The corner 3 seems to be a consequence of those things, rather than the objective of the set.

    Comment by Mike -

  8. Interesting to see that the corner three is indeed easier. I always was a little iffy on this assertion, seeing as how it’s so much harder to gauge depth without the backboard as a reference point.

    Still, if you think you’ve found the key to shutting down the Spurs…come on.

    Comment by Jake Haselswerdt -

  9. I like the stat update. TY. Very interesting knowledge. Now the NBA will widen the court to make the 3 pointer equidistant from all directions.

    I always hate when a player scores 50 but shoots 99 times. More attention should be given to effectiveness. Ratings based on Assists to turnovers, or shots to attempts. and even broken down further to Good fouls vs. bad fouls, or good shots vs. bad shots. I’m sure your people have already come out with formulas giving weights to these stats.

    I enjoy the scientific way you approach some of these issues and don’t base your arguments soley on opinions.

    Comment by Aquarius -

  10. Very interesting post.Again…I previously mentioned I think ranking among the top ten in FG% and 3pct% puts you in the running for a championship…Hmm..I never thought about the pct from the corners…..

    I would like to see if their is a correlation between winning pct, and the fta, field goal% (vs team), fg%, for the top three players on each team?

    Does Kobe Bryant really hog the ball to much versus other players? Should teams really focus on the player with the hot hand? IS there a statisticallly significant dependence of one shot on the previous one. Or should the focus on mismatches?

    I wonder if there is a correlation between winning pct. and going to the hot hand historically?

    In 1983 the NBA became the first proefessional sport team to use a salary cap. It would be nice to see players salary move towards being 60-80% incentive based. A larger portion of ofthe percentage could be focus on collective accountability…Who we see individual players passon their own self-interest for the good of team?

    It would also be nice if the NCAA and NBA set aside some revenues in a Trust that pays drafted players a bonus for graduating college….

    Just a few ideas…We are starting a blog on NBA analysis…if anyone is interested email me at

    Comment by sterling -

  11. interesting stuff. it sounds like something studied at; the sonics hired an 82g analyst to their staff this season. the nytimes covered them recently. 82g also did a correlation analysis of shot selection to wins last year. meanwhile, long 3s or lfgas: things we’d like to know — how “open” e.g., whether def. opponents = more or less than 5ft. away; if the lfga was assisted; how many off rbs/2nd shots per lfga possession; how many 1-shot lfga possessions & % of total possessions. if efficient lfga shooters are more successful simply because defenses tend to ignore corners or because certain offenses are better spaced, with more offball movement to set up the corners, then any advantage could be quickly negated; otoh, if there’s a biomechanical reason (which stats can hint at, but not answer) for better 3pt efficiency (better line of sight to the rim caused by alignment with the baseline, better focus w/out the backboard) from the corner COMBINED w/ “openness,” that’d be good to know too.

    the thing we’re really curious about regarding 82g or similar others — data collection. how do they do it? does the league sell it ( i.e., oncourt/offcourt, position data, 5-man units etc.)? or do they do it themselves by breaking down film? is there a market for this stuff? what would teams pay? we know all teams chart their own ind/team stats, although to what degree probably varies.

    Comment by taloned -

  12. You need to have a “stat-off” with Norm. Listeners vote for “Most Fascinating” and “Most Dull” stat of the show.

    Comment by steven -

  13. Damn, yer good. Two rules in life… Run the numbers and follow the money trail. Looks like you have both covered!

    Comment by Rob Thrasher -

  14. What are the current obstacles to showing Mavs games on HDNet? ESPN HD is only showing 1-2 NBA games a week in HD. The Mavs play a fun brand of basketball, and it would be great to have more HD basketball content.

    Comment by Sam -

  15. Mark,

    Start a prediction market for hoops stats, so we can watch a whole community of analysts take shape, a la the baseball sites touted in Moneyball…

    Then show off the best analysts on HD programming…

    Best of all, offer audio simulcasts of games that feature extensive color commentary from the best analysts, so as games unfold we fans can learn the statistical motivation for different plays, player substitutions, etc.

    Would be hugely interesting to all the fantasy league players, so there’s a nice-sized early adopter group…

    Comment by Frank Ruscica -

  16. In the 3-point contest, which is better, short or long?

    Comment by shawn -

  17. It would be interesting to look at those statistics further to discern if there is any sort of statistical way to measure the “looks” the players are getting from the corners. More specifically and more to the point, is there a greater percentage of shots hit from the corner because it is an easier shot, or because players are more often left more open? (The action is generally not at the baseline and a player near the baseline can be guarded with less attention as he undoubtedly has fewer options from that point. Hence, he may be more open creating an easier shot) Think about how may times you see someone hit a wide open baseline three? Then think about how many times you see someone take a three from the top of the key with an opposing player in his grill? Your summary seems to infer that corner shots are made at at higer percentage because they are easier. I think the degree to which players are more “open” baseline may also play an important, if not a deciding, roll.

    Comment by David -

  18. Just as amazing as watching the Pistons repiece together three young talents from Washington…

    Comment by rone -

  19. Isn’t it rather amazing that the Wizards managed to repiece together the three young talents from Golden State? I’m assuming it was intentional. Are the league’s front offices surprised that the Wizards were able to do it, and are those three guys enough? It seems to me like they still need Ben Wallace to make that team win. Jeffries & Haywood ain’t doin it.

    The Wizards seem a team that just goes down in the playoffs.


    Comment by Wizards' Golden State Trio and Ben Wallace -

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