The Anatomy Of Efficiency

Hoop Data separates their mid-range jumpers into the increments of <10 feet (excluding shots directly at the basket), 10-15 feet, and 16-23 feet. According to these numbers, the Rockets are fourth in the league in shots made less than ten feet from the rim, the third-most efficient shot. However, as you move further from the basket, the Rockets take fewer and fewer shots, until you reach the three point line. Houston is 21st in the league in shots attempted from 10-15 feet, and are 29th in the league in shots attempted from 16-23 feet. Simply put, we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot with bad shot attempts.

via How to score 100+ points per game without any “star” players – The Dream Shake.

I don’t mean to over-emphasize HoopData’s stuff. However, we talk a lot about offensive effiicency and the strong correlation it holds to performance. So when we get past the top level of team X scores X points per Y possessions, we turn to where teams are shooting from and if they’re effective in the long-run. And that’s where the link between scouting and numbers starts to come in. We can bring that data into very real context. We can also use it to see which teams may not be what they appear. For example, take Miami. They’re currently 6th in attempts between 16-23 feet. They’re also eighth in percentage from that range. Interestingly, this is almost identical to their performance last  year.

Now, as long as you keep nailing those shots at that clip, you’ll be effective. But you’ll also notice in big games against good defenses, you’ll suffer. It doesn’t put you in the best position to win night in and night out against any opponent. But then, Miami has Wade, who gives them an advantage in that regard. Conversely, Houston doesn’t have that kind of player right now, but what they do systemically allows them to compete with any team, because as The Dream Shake points out, they don’t shoot themselves in the foot.  They shoot a high number of high percentage shots and convert them. It sounds simple, but a lot of times it really is part of what  provides a team’s identity.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.