A while ago, I tweeted 1998 and 2015’s league-average point distributions in the form of a radar chart. Chicken Noodle Hoop is definitely pro-radar charts despite their flaws, so I’ll expand a bit on that tweet here. In case you missed it being sent out, had me muted (understandable) or blocked (well, whatever), here it is again:
Since radar charts don’t show exact numbers, below is a table of point distribution from 1998 to 2015. Numbers were used from what’s available on the lovely NBA.com:
The mid-range game continues to decline in the distribution of points, but very slightly from 2013-14 to 2014-15. Not too much has changed from last season to this one, which shouldn’t be too surprising.
Looking through slides from year to year, the change over 17 seasons is subtle until going from 2015 back to 1998 when, um, WHOA.
Maybe it’s next season, maybe it’s in the year 2020, but the point distribution could eventually take on the shape of a triangle. We can only imagine how awkward a chart from the 1980s would look like.
This was a super short post, though. I’ll fiddle more with this type of stuff as the week goes on. Radar charts are back from the dead, for better or for worse depending on how you feel about them.
The deadest part of the off-season is here, but soon there will be #MuscleWatch, training camp hype, hopefully the disappearance of rankings, and eventually buzz around pre-season performances. We’re almost to the 2014-15 season, and good lord it can’t come fast enough.
There’s still enough time to write posts that are pointless like this one, about a team that doesn’t even exist: My dream team within the salary cap. It’s a series I started last pre-season with a revised squad over the all-star break. This year I’m not patient, posting a month earlier than last year, but all major contracts are signed save for Eric Bledsoe’s. His would actually alter the roster if he took a $3.7 million qualifying offer. It’s disappointing that, despite writing at a slothful pace, there’s little chance any Bledsoe news will explode before part 1 of this series is published. (Edit: I was sort of wrong.)
But yes, there are not one but two posts for this team. Part 1 covers the starters, part 2 the reserves. The guidelines for selecting this team are fairly simple. Make a 12-man squad without exceeding the 2014-15 salary cap of $63.065 million. Rookie deals are off-limits, but I don’t feel the same about minimum deals or exceptions since I can’t go over the cap in any way.
Some notes before I rattle off my starters. I’ll expand on these later:
I don’t think this is the best roster I could put together, mostly because of my math skills and overall intelligence of the players in my made-up, cap-friendly player pool. I give the team a B+.
Timofey Mozgov was the center for the longest time, even in some projected lineup stats until I caved with Robin Lopez. Mozgov was $1.5 million cheaper, cracked the top 35 in Seth Partnow’s rim protection stats, and held up in a few all-in-one metrics. He was also productive as last season came to a close, averaging 14 points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes over the final 16 games. There were also flashes of becoming a stretch 5. Well, sort of. Regardless, Mozgov should be the Nuggets’ starting center rather than JaVale McGee or the out-of-position J.J. Hickson.
But I went with Lopez, on the team a second straight time. Here’s a video of him kicking some ass:
He doesn’t have the silky smooth 3-pointer Mozgov possesses, but he’s one of the very best rim protectors and holds up better in the same all-in-one metrics. He also used only 14% of possessions last season while on the floor, often with one of the most potent starting lineups in the league. Sure, Lopez will make an awkward hook shot, maybe swish a mid-range jumper or make teams pay for fouling him with a free throw percentage surpassing 80, but for the most part he’ll bang with opponents, protect the rim, and get boards. He actually led the league in contested rebound% and would be a terror on the offensive glass if his defender sags off him and helps against any of the high-usage players I chose.
Lopez can also log more playing time than Mozgov, finishing last season just over 30 minutes per, and he’s durable, missing only two games the last three years. Mozgov has yet play the same major minutes over a full season, but 2014-15 could be a year when he clears those benchmarks.
In 2014, Nowitzki recorded a career-high in eFG% and a 3-point rate not seen since teaming with Steve Nash. With a pay cut that will last through possibly 2017, he might be in this series for a while.
The higher 3-point rate makes sense when Nowitzki is 36 years old, and combined with a declining free throw rate he’s a glorified role player on this squad. He can still create and his assisted field goal rate on made two-pointers (50%) resembled what we saw during his prime. The shot chart is fire overall and Nowitzki’s mid-range game generated about the same efficiency as a league-average three-pointer:
Maybe Nowitzki would be like 2011-14 Chris Bosh, but the holes he can drill in a defense just off the ball would open a ton of room for younger, springier players I selected.
Defensively, it’s possible Nowitzki could be hidden thanks to another forward I chose, one with height and strength to play the ‘4’ in doses, but this squad was made to outscore than lock down. It looks like both Lopez and Nowitzki would hang back in pick and roll coverage.
Small Forward/Utility – LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cap hit: $20,644,400
I still can’t believe I can type LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers.
If I had to, I’d fit both James and Durant on this team, but together they take up $40/63 million in available cap space and, while it’s tempting to go top-heavy with this roster, a LeBron-Durant-Nowitzki/Curry trio with nine minimum contracts isn’t as fun a roster to write about as one with depth. We don’t yet know who the injury bug will bite anyway. In the all star break-related post, I might go with a huge 3, but this off-season brought nice, still-healthy bargains.
This wasn’t an easy choice. Durant was about $1.5 million cheaper, and that million or two saved for each slot adds up. He has more range, should be a better defender next season, and can carry a higher scoring load with less long-term effects. He might also improve on his assist rate, and, who knows, he may play more power forward and add a clever post move. Durant may very well repeat as MVP.
I wondered if he was the best fit with all the other shooting I plucked. To get the juiciest looks at the basket, somebody needs to consistently bend the defense and LeBron can do just that, able to get to any spot. Durant isn’t at that level partly thanks to a slimmer build. Pesky defenders take advantage of that. It looks like LeBron will be bit slimmer this season, though, so we’ll see how that impacts him.
LeBron is as positionless as it gets, and if not for the slip in defense is as perfect a player as could be, but his defense has slipped. We’re probably at the slight downturn of his career, and if this team was made for five years versus one, I’d flip-flop my choice for small forward. Regardless, this is LeBron’s third straight appearance here, and if it’s in his diet he should celebrate with a ham sandwich.
Green is third to repeat here, on the first team before replaced by the ~$900K salary of P.J. Tucker.
He is by some metrics the best 3-and-D shooting guard in the league. Here is one via Tom Haberstroh:
3-and-D players are an essential piece to any winning team, but especially one with three high-usage players who aren’t elite defenders for long periods of time. Green would take on the toughest defensive assignments, though it wouldn’t exactly be ideal to have him chasing point guards.
With both Green and LeBron, that’s a fantastic fast break defense with the chase-down block for LeBron and Green consistently anticipating angles below the rim to bottle up the strongest of players. Even his flybys tend to happen at the perfect moment. Below is a video showing some of this:
Some on/off fast break stats for Green are pretty interesting. Opponents scored 1.1 less points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor and two less points after all turnovers, per NBA.com. The difference in the former stat would’ve bumped the Spurs from 11th in the league to the top five while the latter would take them from eighth to behind only the Hornets who were in a league of their own.
It’s also worth noting Green has never fouled out in his short career, and the five-foulers are nearly as rare. Some of this is helped by minute totals, but the Spurs organization should also get credit.
Now to Green’s offense. According to Basketball-Reference, 75% of his shots came within three feet or beyond the arc where he shot 69.8% and 41.5%, respectively. He’s a limited scorer, though, an adventure when dribbling despite a solid pull-up shooter, and only shot 35.8% from the corners. That corner 3P% might be an outlier when the past two seasons were 45.1% and 43.3%, respectively, and ~36% is fine anyway. Sometimes that and ~55% around the rim is criticized too harshly.
Despite Green’s limits offensively, he has a history of explosive performances in high-pressure games. Hopefully someday my point guard gets a really deep postseason run so we can say the same for him.
Many of the best shooters need a teammate to bend the defense before being fed an attempt, and what better teammate to do that for Curry than LeBron? But Curry can do it by himself, something similar to what Ian Levy wrote about recently. Curry not only demands attention off the ball, but defenses shift to his movements on the dribble as well. He can get shots off anywhere with the smallest of spaces to work with, either with some crazy dribble combinations or off the catch.
Curry’s flamethrowing makes him a one-man offense for stretches, his heat waves sometimes more like…tsunamis? He’s somehow taken over 1,200 threes the last two seasons and made 44%. For this team, he could carry bench units, playing off the ball when alongside LeBron, but it would be something of a waste to not unlock his on-ball shooting in stretchy, starter-heavy lineups.
How good could Curry be alongside, say, Nowitzki? We could look at his shooting alongside a stretchy forward like Draymond Green instead of David Lee. With Green on the floor, Curry shot 50% from three compared to 38.6% with Lee, according to nbawowy.com, and hoisted 11.9 threes per 100 possessions with Green compared to 9.5 with Lee. Overall, his usage increased from 26.2 to 31.4. This isn’t meant to blame Lee’s limitations for Curry’s drop in those stats, but stretch and space matters for all positions.
With all the scoring in this lineup, Curry would still take a backseat some of the time. Not the worst thing in the world since he, like Durant, is on the slimmer side with some of the same problems with pesky defenders, and he can be turnover prone. In particular, he sticks out quite badly in this passing chart I made a while back. Regardless, he’s only 26, and it’s not at all bold to claim he’s the best shooter alive. Soon he might also be the best point guard in the league.
So this is how the starters stack up in a variety of numbers (click to enlarge):
Every player played for very successful offenses last season, minus Curry. There’s a mix in usage, some are slashers and others high in assisted shot %, and most hold up well in all-in-one metrics. It also looks like my starters will never commit a foul.
Obviously most stats would change, for better or for worse, if these players were together. Most obvious might be Basketball-Reference’s usage rates since, together, this unit would have to top out at 100%. That would actually help the projected offensive efficiency. Right now, without tinkering with the usage, the points per 100 possessions balance out to a whopping 118.6, 6.5 more than the 1st-place Clippers last season. That number would only improve as the lineup is forced to use less possessions, according to a couple notable people.
Some time ago, Eli Witus found the following related to lineups and usage, among other super interesting things in his study: “In general, for every 1% that a lineup has to increase its usage, it’s efficiency decreases by 0.25 points per 100 possessions, and vice versa.” It’s a bit harder and probably pointless to project a lineup of five guys who weren’t teammates last year, but under Witus’ study this lineup go from scoring 118.6 points/100 possessions to 122.9. We can tack on an extra point or two with amount of three-point shooting provided from four of the five players.
A couple years later, Neil Paine created a simple lineup efficiency model that combined Eli’s and Dean Oliver’s findings, the latter super intelligent guy making a distinction between low-usage, mid-usage, and high-usage players. Adjusting Paine’s model to 2014’s league-average offense, we get the following tradeoffs in offensive rating for increasing or decreasing each of my starters’ usage rates by 1%:
So I tinkered with the players to find their offensive ratings if their usage rates were anywhere from 10 to 40%. As usual, click to enlarge:
With the low-usage, Lopez and Green dive harder than the big 3, but Lopez’ offensive rating gives him a head start. Nowitzki and Curry are neck and neck while James, as expected, is in good shape.
So we can use that info while tinkering with the lineup’s usage rate to see if we can reach the projected 122.9 points/100 possessions. The first adjustment is what would happen if we proportionally shifted every player’s percentages to a total of 100%:
Not bad, and somewhat close to the previous projection of 122.9, but keep in mind the usage rates of Lopez and Green. What if each player was at 20%?
The offense still improves from the 118.6 we started with. You can tinker quite a bit until the offense falls off the rails:
The best scoring projection involved Danny Green getting the shaft, thanks to his lower offensive rating last season, and Lopez’ usage actually increasing from 2014’s total:
That comes pretty close to what Witus’ study would suggest this lineup would score, but I can’t see those usage rates actually happening for a bunch of reasons. It would involve Green passing up what’s probably a few juicy looks from the arc, specifically from the corners since he’s the least versatile shooter, and those shots need to be taken. Who knows, though. Maybe he just never commits a turnover. As for the other players, it’s probably not ideal for LeBron to use over 27% of possessions and Dirk about 25% for an entire season.
So those projections might’ve been iffy, but the starters are a decent blend of players. Lopez and Green are already two of the best low-usage complimentary players out there, both providing some nice defense in the process. As for the trio, Curry and Nowitzki’s skill sets allow for a seamless transition into second and third options while LeBron, despite in his 12th season already, should be just fine.
The rest of the roster will be explained in part 2.
Honorable mentions (some players made the reserves, most didn’t):
Centers: Timofey Mozgov, Channing Frye, Omer Asik, Serge Ibaka, Al Horford, Tim Duncan, not Andrea Bargnani, Pau Gasol, and Boris Diaw.
My last post went over the players above-average in attempts/36 minutes from each of the basic shot zones plus free throws. HOWEVER, with the updated shot charts by Austin Clemens over at Nylon Calculus being so great and all, I decided to make a gallery with those charts too.
As a reminder, below are the players that will be featured and the seasons when they made the cut. For example, 2.00 for a shot location means they took twice the player average for attempts per 36 minutes. It’s not sorted by position or pace, unfortunately, but I like to think it’s interesting. For more info check out that post:
And now, their charts in alphabetical order:
From my judgement, based on the charts 16 of the 46 featured a player favoring the opposite side of their strong hand, like a right-hander showing more than ~60/40ish activity on the left side versus the right. 13 of those were righties shooting much of their shots from the left side with Gary Payton‘s being some of the most lopsided. 2004 Michael Redd was one of the four lefties.
22 looked balanced (2005 Gilbert Arenas, for example) while the last seven favored the side that goes with their dominant hand. 2003 Vince Carter was one of those guys. He actually made each category, but that’s a bit easier when having four seasons on the list.
Lately I’ve been getting back to looking at shot and point distribution charts, ones of players still in the Finals and a few other greats over their entire careers. The charts are the ones I’ve used for players and teams in previous posts, tracking shots on NBA.com from the restricted area, in the paint non-restricted area, mid-range, corner 3, above the break 3, and free throws, but I’ve recently added a few more charts to the mix. This post is basically a trial version of them with Ray Allen’s being the ones tested, and if it turns out all right I might turn it into a blog series over the off-season.
There will probably be some tweaking to do, but for now I plucked Allen’s yearly numbers from NBA.com which somehow has shooting stats and charts starting not at 2001 but 1997, though I don’t consider the ones from ’97 to be all that accurate thanks to the shortened three-point line back then. We get to work with every other season of Allen’s career, though, and maybe other notable players from the late-90s to today.
In past posts, I included GIFs and/or screenshots to show changes in charts from each season, player or team, and while I’ll use each of those for this post I’ll also use galleries so readers can cycle through charts at their own pace. The galleries also provide a little animation between each season to help show shifts in shooting and scoring.
Hopefully all of that isn’t confusing, but I can be pretty lazy with explaining things. For those who haven’t looked at these kinds of charts before, maybe just looking at them is easier to understand anyway.
Allen’s attempts over his career from both the field and the free throw line were what I looked at first, and below is an example of the four different charts I made for that section. This one is from 1998’s available stats:
My apologies if screenshots look a bit blurry. They look much sharper when clicking to enlarge.
The first 3 charts are mostly similar with FGA distribution missing free throws, of course, but that one and attempts per 36 minutes compliment Allen’s first chart (attempts per game) best in his later years when his minutes and total attempts decline.
The last chart, attempts per 36 minutes compared to the player average, is something I’ve recently been playing with, though it doesn’t adjust for pace. In 1998, Allen took nearly six mid-range shots per 36 minutes, but compared to every other player’s numbers it was more standard than his attempts from the corner three, where he took twice as many attempts/36 minutes as the average player. This is a pretty common theme over Allen’s career.
Below are the rest of Allen’s attempts in a photo gallery. It should be on auto play, so I guess in way it’s still a slow-moving GIF, but it can be paused any time:
Where Allen shoots from each location has obviously changed over the years, once heavy on mid-range shots and almost always making a ton of either above the break threes or corner threes compared to the player average.
Below are the differences between his second and 18th season of his career (1998 and 2014):
Allen still takes a similar amount of above the break threes per 36 minutes as he did in 1998, but now he attempts about 3.5 times as many corner threes, half the free throws and shots in the paint (outside the restricted area), a third from mid-range, and about three-fifths as many around the rim. It also shows how three-happy the league has become with Allen’s above the break 3s/36 minutes more standard now than compared to the late-90s.
Some of Allen’s changes are consistent with how his FGA distribution has changed with each team. Below is a GIF putting his combined point distributions for each team together (click to enlarge):
Along with the roster around him, age most likely contributes to Allen’s shift in FGA and FGM distribution. With the Heat, it also changes a bit when he’s in lineups with or without LeBron James:
I also looked at Allen’s biggest changes in FGA distribution from season to season, basically by a simple subtraction of percentages. I took 1998’s percentages and subtracting them from 1999’s, for example, then made every change in percentage positive and adding each location’s numbers up.
This is what each season looks like, sorted by biggest total changes to smallest:
Visually, that looks correct when looking how the largest and smallest changes stack up (as usual, click to enlarge if you’d like):
Allen took more of his attempts from mid-range in 2011 despite having a fourth straight decline in usage rate, but he also took a higher percentage of his attempts from the corner three and, as shown much further down in this post, he was way more accurate there than in 2010.
Mid-range and non-restricted area paint attempts are the biggest differences in 2004 and 2005, but everything else looks the same otherwise. When comparing changes in Allen’s FGA distribution in 2003 before and after the trade that sent him from Milwaukee to Seattle, his chart hardly moves and would be the lowest compared to season-by-season changes, totaling to a 6.53% change. (Threes were a different story. More on that later.)
Simply subtracting doesn’t take into account the shots Allen takes least (depending on the season, either corner threes or in the paint non-RA shots) and most (either shots around the rim or above the break threes). It’s often a bigger deal if a player or team takes five percent more of field goal attempts from the corners than around the rim, and I tried a couple ways to balance for that but hit snags since they’d be hopeless if Allen (or any other player, or team) took zero percent of their shots from one of the five locations. Also, I’m terrible at math and maybe over-thought the whole process, so if there’s an easy way to calculate that stuff I’d love to hear it since I’m looking into shooting and scoring by teams over each season, among other post ideas.
To go back to mid-range and other two-point shots, though, it may or may not be surprising that Allen took as many as he once did, though that can be said about the league as a whole. Mid-range shots made up a great chunk of Allen’s shots for a long time, and about 20 percent of his attempts as a member of the Heat still come from that area of the floor, but that’s down from what was anywhere from 25 to over 40 percent as a Buck, Sonic, or Celtic.
Looking at his shot charts at NBA.com that split into several locations, less of his twos come from the wings now than they did as a Sonic or Celtic, but there’s still a similar amount from the baseline where, for most of his career, Allen took the most of his jump shooting twos.
Below is a breakdown of Allen’s 2PA distribution according to spots on NBA.com’s shot charts. I gave locations names that are hopefully self-explanatory, but can be found here just in case:
As usual, click to enlarge. Very helpful!
Allen’s baseline shots are the standard ones from being run off the three-point line and getting separation off screens, but quite a few come from trying to get space off the dribble when the shot clock is winding down. He doesn’t get all that far, painful to watch when he was once so good at attacking off the dribble (one example here), but he doesn’t need much space to get his beautiful shot off anyway.
Even if Allen seems to struggle a bit more in getting to the rim off the dribble, he’s still having career-lows or near career-lows in attempts/36 minutes from all the 2PA locations on NBA.com’s shot charts all while having a career-high in corner three-point attempts/36 minutes and percent of his FGA being corner threes. His mid-range shots/36 minutes have gone from around or above league-average in his first 15 charted seasons to two-thirds and nearly half the average in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and he shot nearly three times as many corner threes per 36 minutes as the average player this season. The leaders from the corners each season often take four to five times as many as the average player, though, sometimes even more when looking 10+ seasons back. James Jones led all players this year by taking 5.8x corner threes/36 minutes, but in 2005 Donyell Marshalltook 7.1 times as many, then followed it up with 6.0x and 5.8x as many while Cleveland in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Fun times.
To touch on free throws, Allen’s charts almost always show him above the player average in free throw attempts/36 minutes during his prime which, like his attack off the dribble, feels underrated considering his status as a killer shooter.
I found his free throw and three point rates to be pretty interesting, even though they seem common in both his age and that when the free throws lower the threes often rise:
I’ll touch more on threes later when chiming in on some thoughts on Allen’s scoring distribution, which I looked at in a similar way to shot attempts but with some tweaks. Below is a gallery visualizing four scoring stats from 1998 to 2014, but with some changes in charts from attempt distribution:
Points per game from the six spots on the floor.
Effective field goal percentage from all but free throws.
Point distribution but this time including free throws, unlike in the first gallery of graphs.
How Allen’s points/36 minutes from each spot measure up with the league average (per player).
Anyway, flip through the charts if you’d like:
There are some hopefully cool things to look at. Going back to mid-range shots, below is a similar graph like before but covering 2PM distribution:
And a gallery comparing 2PA and 2PM distribution. Flip flop if you’d like:
Season by season, Allen’s changes in point distribution from largest to smallest are a bit different from changes in FGA distribution, where the largest for that was from 2010 to 2011 and the smallest from 2004 to 2005:
Understandably, the smallest change in point distribution was in Allen’s second season with the Heat. The largest change was not after a trade in 2003 or 2007 or going from the Celtics to the Heat in the summer of 2012, but from his seasons as a Buck in 2001 and 2002.
Again, with simple subtraction, that all looks correct visually:
From 2001 to 2002, Allen scored less from the free throw line but upped his three point rate from .357 to .460. He took 3.67 times the average player’s corner 3s/36 minutes, ranking tenth minimum 1,000 minutes. For above the break threes (he attempted 3.32x the player average), he was only behind Antoine Walker (3.64), Jason Williams (3.70), and Tim Hardaway (4.22).
No shame in falling just behind those three players in anything related to threes, and Allen’s got pretty nuts when flipping through the 1998-2003 section of the scoring gallery shown above. Maybe suspected from the 2002 charts: Allen placed in the top 10 that season in both threes attempted and made for both the corner and above the break three. It started a string of top 10 finishes in the latter location:
I thought Allen’s threes deserved a gallery of multiple charts, featuring both three-point attempt and made distribution from the five spots available on NBA.com’s shooting charts, another with accuracy from those locations, and a line chart tracking the shooting swings each season.
1998, 2002, and 2010 look almost perfectly balanced in attempt distribution from each spot, while some weirdly (for a right-handed shooter, anyway) show a great deal of threes from the right wing. Also, to go back to the graph of his shots with and without LeBron on the floor, it’s no surprise to see Allen taking more of his threes from the corner as a member of the Heat. Last year he teed off from the left side, but this year it’s from the right. Attempts from straight away are just about gone and weren’t ever a big deal anyway.
Below is a GIF of Allen’s combined distributions during his Buck, Sonic, Celtic, and current Heat career. The differences in attempted and made threes are pretty minor (click to enlarge):
Followed by that GIF are threes in 2003 before and after the trade that sent him from Milwaukee to Seattle. Quite a change midway through the season:
Again, it’s kind of weird to see a right-handed shooter take a bunch of his attempts from the right wing, but Allen went through shifts from just about everywhere but from straight away. Shots from the corners and from straight on barely changed, at least in attempt distribution.
Lastly, Allen’s assist percentage on threes over the last two seasons are some of his highest ever. Among other notes, the right corner was a flat 100 percent for six straight seasons with 114 assisted threes during that stretch:
Allen’s long been one of my favorites to watch from the times his NBA Live ’98 player torched me to how unfair he can make Miami’s offense just by standing in a corner. His charts were a test to see how they look in a blog post and if readers would be curious about ones for other players. A lot of other greats over the years have some cool charts, or maybe I’m biased because I was so curious about them to begin with. Probably the latter.
Some other thoughts:
I could’ve added playoff shooting and scoring, but was worried it would clutter this post even more.
Clutter…were there too many charts? A lot of them were player dependent, though. As much as I’d like to, I’d probably refrain from 3pt charts for someone like Tim Duncan. Maybe throw in a game of Solitaire instead.
The charts obviously don’t tell everything, like I can’t even put together SportVU-related shooting charts because the numbers don’t add up to Allen’s total points. I could try fooling around with them for other players, though, and see if something’s presentable.
Oh well. Curious what others think of this post and if any tweaks could’ve been made. This is definitely a trial version of posts I had in mind for other players and was also a post meant to shake off a ton of rust over the last few weeks.
Last week, I started a weekly series built around unusual shot charts from teams. I really haven’t heard opposition or compliments about them, so I decided to make another post and proceed from there. I looked at which teams took advantage of the corner three, took a ton of shots from one side or the other, bombed away from three, or had a shot chart that was symmetrical.
Here are last week’s shot charts that stood out to me, from December to 16 to 22. All shot charts are from ESPN.com:
The Clips bomb away from the corners (December 16 versus San Antonio)
The Clippers gave San Antonio a taste of their own medicine after they beat the Timberwolves with the right corner three.
New York gets really weird (December 18 at Milwaukee)
Players from the ’60s are throwing up at that shot chart. So many threes, so many long twos.
I already went into detail about this game here, but it’s still worth mentioning that the Knicks chucked 41 threes with J.R. Smith accountable for 17 of them.
New York won this Toilet Bowl, 107-101 in double overtime.
Kyle Korver has a field day from the corners (December 18 versus Sacramento)
More corner three talk!
Paul Millsap also joined in on the fun from the corners, making two of his own. The main beneficiary was Kyle Korver, though. For the night, he drained eight threes. As a team, the Hawks were 15-for-25 from behind the line. It’s an easy game.
Minnesota took advantage of a team on their fourth game in five nights, jumping out to a 30-point lead (!!!) in the first half and scoring 98 points through three quarters.
Damian Lillard nearly led a comeback from 30 down, but it was too big of a hole to climb out of. Shocking, I know.
Minnesota won, 120-109.
Memphis pounds the paint (December 18 at Dallas)
54 points came in the paint for Memphis, 18 more than the Mavs. They even made their threes, shooting eight-for-18 from beyond the arc. It’s not every day that happens. Memphis has made only five threes per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com. That’s second-worst in the NBA only to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Overall, Memphis took 20 more shots than Dallas, but it wasn’t enough. They were 29-for-75 inside the three-point line, which amounts to a Ricky Rubio-like 38.7 percent. The Grizzlies kind of really miss Marc Gasol, and their 2015 first round pick they owe Cleveland is starting to look juicy with every loss.
Memphis lost this game, 105-91.
Minnesota teeters towards the left side (December 20 at the Lakers)
It’s not all that surprising when no Timberwolf consistently in the rotation is left-hand, but nonetheless it’s a shot chart worth looking at. It’s like having a batting lineup predominantly right-handed with 95 percent of the balls in play going to left field. It happens, I guess.
If Kevin Love was a baseball player, he would definitely be that righty causing a defensive shift to the left side. He takes a ton of his shots from that area, but tonight the entire team jumped in.
The results were miserable. The Lakers won 104-91. It was one of the worst losses I’ve witnessed this season.
The Jazz make their threes (December 21 at Charlotte)
Early in the season I wrote about the Jazz’s embarrassing struggles from the arc, specifically in the corners. They’re up to 29.3 percent from that area of the three-point line. Lots and lots of progress, considering they were below 10 percent to start the season.
Four of their 10 made threes came from Trey Burke, who seems like a very nice building block alongside Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Gordon Hayward. Good times all around, and the draft pick Golden State owes them might have better value than expected.
The Jazz won 88-85. It’s a pretty bad loss for Charlotte who has a chance to possibly finish over .500 this season.
Symmetry by Golden State (at home versus the Lakers, December 21)
Cut the Warriors’ shot chart in half and it’ll look eerily similar. You might have to make every shot an X or an O, since the Warriors made a couple threes from the left corner and none from the right, but it looks pretty cool nonetheless.