Handy Guide for Analyzing Warriors Shot Selection

Warriors Shot Chart

(fixed colors, added league averages and new color scheme for %shot attempts)



If you're the kind of person who can figure out how to work a DVD player or microwave without reading the manual, by all means click on the figure, and have your way with the numbers. For all the other folks out there who actually do read the instructions first, please keep reading...


Shot Selection

We often talk about shot selection in this forum, and sometimes numbers are cited, but probably not as much as would be useful. This post was somewhat inspired by a discussion we were having about Biedrins' free throw percentages, in which Missing Barry said that as long as he hits them at 60%, it helps our team. That made perfect sense to me, as a TS% of 0.60 is considered very good. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all of our players' shot tendencies, which is made all too easy by the good folks at, who break down the field goal percentages by distance from the rim. Because 3-pt shots are worth more than 2-pt shots (yes, it's true), they give the equivalent FG%, which takes this difference into account. The spreadsheet in the figure simply lists all the percentages (using 2010 data) along with the Attempts/40 minutes for each shot. I have also color-coded the percentages in what I hope makes it a bit easier to read and utilize. In my (arbitrary) rating system, 0-50 is red (bad, you are hurting your team), 50-55 is gray (meh, could you maybe try something a bit better?), 55-60 is blue (not too shabby, keep up the good work), 60+ is green (great, uh, I hope no other team notices how good you are). For the percentage of shot attempts for a player at each location (%A), there is also a color scheme. See legend.

At the bottom of the chart, I have listed the fellas that were at or near the top of each range last season and the league averages overall and at each position. I say "near" because I culled from the list players who took too few shots to be reliable (< 1 shot/game). Yes, that is Ronny Turiaf who led the league in making buckets at the basket. What's important to note here is that aside from very close shots and 3-pointers, the leader in every other shot category doesn't even really sniff 60%. If you didn't know before, now you know why you don't foul jump shooters.

Team Analysis

So the question is how do we use these data to understand Warriors shot selection? Well, it's pretty clear that any of the boxes that are green are shots we want as much as possible. I dare say Keith Smart would be well off designing our offense to maximize these types of shots. Which shots? Beans, Ellis, Lee, Reggie, and both Wright brothers attack the rim with aplomb (note: B. Wright's numbers were taken from 2008-09). Curry is highly efficient from 3-pt land, and the thought of him improving is delightful. You're saying to yourself, Evan, we already know all that!!! Well, that's great, we're on the same page! If you didn't know it, now you have no excuse for not knowing it (i.e. next time a heated discussion comes up on the forum involving a discussion of shot selection, don't be surprised to see this post cited). Ok, assuming an offense can't be built simply around layups, dunks, and 3-pt shots (outside of Orlando?), what other shots are looking good for us. Well, using the chart, I see that D. Wright taking a 3-pt shot is blue. And it looks like Radman from 10-15 ft is also blue. Now, you're probably throwing your mouse at the computer monitor, "Evan, we don't want to build our offense around Radman! Yuck!" I totally agree, but it wouldn't be honest of me if I didn't put up that number. However, to keep you sane, I will point out that his numbers at that range have fluctuated pretty wildly over the last few years, and the shot rate is only 1.3/40. 

Those are the good bits. What about the bad? Well, just about everything else is not that great. It really does kind of look like our team is a donut hole (no, not the Medicare one). I haven't done a thorough analysis like this for other teams yet, but it would be an interesting exercise. I am already thinking of turning this into some sort of contour plot for every team. And if anyone cares to do that analysis for me, by all means, go right ahead. The other important aspect of the analysis that I simply don't have the data to address right now is the rate at which players draw fouls at each distance. It seems fairly obvious that the foul rate increases as you get closer to the basket, so I would imagine that it's possible that even though players are not so efficient, say, at <10 ft (runners, hooks), the rate of fouling might increase the effective shooting % by getting them to the line. I would think beyond 10 ft, this effect is fairly minimal. 

Bottom Line

Our strengths right now are clearly at the rim and Curry/Wright's 3-point shooting. I would predict that Curry, Williams, and D. Wright will all improve at the midrange game with more experience, so that's certainly something to look for. As your watching games this season, think about what shots we are taking (and passing up). Doing this analysis really gives me a feel for what to focus on, I hope it may do something similar for you. 



Lakers Shot Chart



This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!

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