Behold The Worst Shooters Of 2012

Behold The Worst Shooters Of 2012

May 10

The Worst Shooters of 2011-2012

The above image summarizes the players who are the least efficient shooters from different spots on the court. Now, before we get too far, in some cases these aren’t “the worst shooters” in the NBA, but they are the worst in these particular zones. I’ve divided up the court into 8 3-point areas, 8 midrange areas, and 1 close-range area. Then I evaluated shooting performances in each area to discover who was the worst in each zone. I also included a minimum number of attempts for each area, but that number varies by zone. Regardless, the names and faces you see above each meet two criteria: 1) they shoot a lot in that area, and 2) they shoot very poorly there.

Some of the results are surprising. For me the most notable is Bynum, who is awful from inner midrange areas on his right. Andrew Bynum had a “breakout” year this year; he shot 56% from the field, good enough for 4th in the NBA. However, he only shoots 22% in that short midrange area, which is really bad.

But perhaps the worst shooting performance of the year belongs to Amare Stoudemire, who shot an abysmal 16% in the outer midrange area just off the right elbow area. Amare shot over 60 times from this area, and made less than 1 out of every 6 attempts here. With apologies to my Knicky friends, no fires need to be extinguished when Stat is taking longish midrange jumpers on his right side. On a related note, Amare’s performance in this zone is a great example of why shooting evaluations must account for both distance and direction. Amare is actually quite good from this exact area on his left, but this effect would be overlooked if we simply evaluated his shooting from 16-23 feet and neglected the effect of angle.

3 more interesting findings:

1) Rubio has trouble finishing. There’s no doubt that Ricky Rubio is going to be very good in the NBA (as long as his body holds up). But, great NBA point guards like Rose, CP3, and even Rondo are very effective close range scorers; this is a skill that Rubio needs to work on; he is currently the least effective close range shooter in the league.

2) Danny Granger appears twice. I like Granger’s game, but one troubling stat is that his FG% has decreased every year since he’s been in the NBA. He has the ability to get good looks, especially in the midrange, but he needs to work on his efficiency in these areas if he is going to become an elite player.

3) Some great scorers have really cold zones. In the figure above we see Deron Williams, Russ Westbrook, and Jason Terry. I consider all of these guys to be effective scorers overall, yet each guy is clearly struggling at particular places. As we’ve seen in earlier posts on Kevin Love and LeBron, some of the most dangerous scorers in the league can be very non-threatening in certain places. However, one of the traits that separates great volume shooters from good or average volume shooters is spatial consistency. This is what makes guys like Durant special; he will never be on a graphic like the one above; he has few cold spots.

In conclusion, these are not all bad shooters, but each of the guys above had a really bad year from a certain spot. In the next post, I will crown the worst shooter in the NBA.


  1. J

    Hi Kirk, have you done any second level analysis on the expected value of a shot from a specific quadrant vs. the league average expected value from that spot (or the expected value of the average shot? I think it would be interesting so see just how much Amare is costing his team when he shoots from the right elbow. Given that its only worth two points and also a shot from an area not likely to lead to free throw opportunities its almost certain that its the least valuable shot in the league.

    • Nick E

      Jesus Christo, you out nerded a very strongly put together nerd presentation! (and both were great!)

      In all honesty, they should probably just install a black hole at the right elbow. Anything to suck down those glasses and hat.

  2. Cory

    It looks like you should force the Pacers left. 4 spots on the left side are from the Indiana Pacers.

  3. Nate

    Did you really say that Rajon Rondo is a very effective player around the basket? He is 38th among PGs in FG% at the rim and 68th among PGs from 3-9 feet. The guy is a miserable finisher at the rim. If you want to mention great finishers at the rim then talk about a guy like Steve Nash. Nash has had a FG% at the rim over 70% for the last 3 years. Rondo only shoots 59% at the rim. Also at least when Rubio goes to the rim and gets fouled he can make his free throws.


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