What is a Good Shot?A couple months ago I did a post titled Is Gilbert a Gunner? That came shortly after Gilbert Arenas scored 60 points against the Lakers and Kobe Bryant questioned Arenas' shot selection. Of course, most people jumped on Bryant for being a sore loser as opposed to actually considering whether or not what Bryant said may actually be true. Looking at Arenas' stats--and watching him play--it is pretty clear that he is a gunner in both the good and bad senses of the word: he scores a lot of points, including making big shots at key moments, but he also fires away from all angles regardless of the game situation. That post prompted a lot of comments and Agent Zero's defenders argued that his good three point field goal percentage makes up for a multiude of sins. My response to that is that if your point guard shoots 6-9 on three pointers in one playoff game and 1-9 in the next that his percentage is .389 but his team will be 1-1 at best and possibly 0-2 in those contests.
The reason that I am rehashing all of this now is that TNT's Doug Collins talked about "What is a good shot?" during Thursday's Chicago-Cleveland telecast. Collins explained that when he was coaching he impressed upon his players that four factors determine whether or not a shot is a good one:
1) Time and score
2) FG % of the shooter
3) Chance to get an offensive rebound
4) Chance to defend if the shot is missed
Notice that the shooter's field goal percentage is just one of four things that Collins considers. The amount of time left in the game (and on the shot clock) and the score are important; if your team is winning, then it might be advisable to pass up even shots that are open in order to drain the clock and give the other team less of a chance to come back. If none of your teammates are in position to get an offensive rebound then if you miss the shot it is basically a turnover and an invitation for the other team to start a fastbreak. On the other hand, if the floor is balanced in such a way that no one is in position to get back and the missed shot is not rebounded by the offense then the other team will get an uncontested layup.
Of course, no player always takes good shots. Above average players, because they have the ball in their hands more than good, mediocre and bad players, take more bad shots than other players--but if the best player on your team regularly takes bad shots it can seriously limit the team's opportunity to be successful.
posted by David Friedman @ 2:40 AM