Data Points: The Mid-Range Game is Dead and Chris Holtmann Knows It

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EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Khwai Leonard lived by the long two over the course of the playoffs, all the way to a world championship.

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I'm Ron Burgundy's picture

Show me the data on that.  Having fairly closely watched the conference finals and NBA finals, I would say at most he was balanced in his 3 pt / mid range / close range attempts.  Would not say he lived by the long 2.  In fact would still guess based on what I saw that fewer than 30% of his overall attempts were mid-long range 2s.

Which I think the takeaway can still be the same.  He was effective at an MVP level because he did use the whole court and could score from literally anywhere.

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jbcuky's picture

I wouldn’t say he lived there. Comparing: (1) restricted area, (2) in the paint, (3), mid-range, and (4) 3s, less than 1/4 of his shots were mid-range and 3s were the highest percent (29%). Also his effective FG% for restricted area and 3s were much higher than mid-range, which is why the mid-range is on the decline.

https://stats.nba.com/player/202695/shooting/?Season=2018-19&SeasonType=...

Also, not everyone has 1 of the 3 best players in the world. Those are a little hard to come by. 

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Jake Anderson's picture

This comment made me shed a tear of joy. 

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

"Lived" apparently was a little strong, as evidenced by the Mueller Report of court usage above. By being willing to use the extra dribble to drain the midrange (and hit it), he made defenders respect him as he brought the ball up court, often hitting his threes from this setup. 

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IGotAWoody's picture

Fascinating stuff! While the entire basketball world trends towards increasingly valuing and implementing the 3, I will continue to prefer watching good pick and roll bball, guys that can penetrate the lane effectively, and guys that have mastered the art of the quick pull up 15' jumper.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Jake Anderson's picture

I think the pick and roll will always be relevant. The 15-foot pull-up (and I have no data on this, just my opinion) coming off of a screen probably gives you an above-average shot from that area, as there is no defender closing out on you. The issue with the mid-range is that the average is bad, but if you can take and make good, open looks from that area, go ahead. 

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

I have no data on this, but I think defenders contest the twos harder. Plus it’s easier to draw a foul further out because everyone can see since there are fewer bodies and more space.

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ibuck's picture

The two-point percentage may be low due to the lack of called plays inside the arc; isolations and pull-up jumpers were commonplace in Ohio State's offense last season and rarely resulted in high-percentage shots. 

Being closer to the hoop generally means defenders are contesting shots. That lowers the percentage of Field Goals Made, especially driving right up to a crowded hoop. That's where pull-up jumpers—in the short midrange (inside the yellow)—can be lethal. The effective pull up is quick and usually uncontested. AND not used enough in NCAA hoops, IMO.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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B1Gbuckeye's picture

Keita’s number one shot was the step back mid range. Of course he was probably the only one on the team who could make that shot.

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ScarletGray43157's picture

Left Wing threes and Right Wing threes?

Sounds like a political post in a way...

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

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buckeye-bengal's picture

Just wondering about the statement saying "Bucks were shooting an above average amount of 3s, attempting 774 triples last season" when two paragraphs earlier it read the average number was 774. So were they shooting an average number or should that be more?

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Knarcisi's picture

We did. I think we were 6th in the country in attempts. And we were 134th or something like that in %. Not a very good combination. 

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Knarcisi's picture

Scratch this. I just checked and we were 198th in % and 124th in attempts. I checked this last week on the ESPN mobile site when there was a similar discussion on here and I swear that’s what I had seen, but getting old is hell too. 

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Knarcisi's picture

... to waste. Except it wastes away without needing further assistance. 

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Sanitarian2's picture

If you can't shoot them well it makes sense to shoot them less.

Sani

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Knarcisi's picture

A few things shot % analytics don’t take into account.  Mostly around the argument that you’d have to shoot X% from 2 in order to make up for shooting X% from 3. 

Driving the ball and working the ball toward the rim do several things that numbers can’t catch. 1) it creates more quality/open 3s 2) it creates more fouls shots 3) it increases the likelihood of opponent fouls trouble and getting better players off the floor 4) it requires your opponent to defend and spend energy. 

So don’t come in here telling me that you’d need to shoot 48% (or whatever figure) from 2 in order to make up shooting 33% from 3. By the way, 33% would have you as the 150+ ranked shooting team in the country. It’s a horrific rate. So if you want to settle for 3s and shoot 35 of them a game at 33% you’re not going to win very many ball games. 

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Arsenal7's picture

Driving the ball and working the ball toward the rim do several things that numbers can’t catch. 1) it creates more quality/open 3s 2) it creates more fouls shots 3) it increases the likelihood of opponent fouls trouble and getting better players off the floor 4) it requires your opponent to defend and spend energy. 

the numbers do catch this and it's basically the entire foundation of efficiency metrics 

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Knarcisi's picture

It does?  Where?  It takes free throws into account generated from 2 point attempts?  It takes point differential from leading scorers from opponents not being on the floor?  It can measure some sort of scoring efficiency for a tired opponent when they’ve lost their legs?  

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jbcuky's picture

Just like the last discussion, you seem to be conflating “driving the ball” with mid-range jumpers.

Driving the ball is still good. Contested 18 footers are not good.

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Knarcisi's picture

I’m not. I said driving the ball and midrange jumpers. You picked out the midrange jumpers. And then even confined it more my making them long 18 foot midrange jumpers. I think we’re in agreement. You can’t just come down and settle for 3s. 

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Knarcisi's picture

And I do understand the article was about the long (18 foot) jumper. 

There were just some people (not you) saying well if you shoot 33% from 3, you’d need to shoot X% from 2 to make up for that. You know and I know the game doesn’t work under simple math like that. And 33% now that I checked would be good for 250th in the county. That’s a horrific shorting team. 

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Sanitarian2's picture

You also don't get the long rebounds that can lead to break outs and layups by your opponents.

Sani

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Knarcisi's picture

Efficiency analytics takes all that into account /s 

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NorthBerg's picture

As an old guy I fondly remember Phil Ford and the four corners.

Too much time spent at the North Heidelberg rather than the classroom. SSD 68-72

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Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

Fondly remember the four corners? I appreciate Phil Ford’s handles. But the four corners offense sucked. I much prefer the shot clock era to that abomination to basketball.

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NorthBerg's picture

You are correct the "four corners" sucked in terms of satisfying fans desire for action, but there is also entertainment value in witnessing sound fundamentals.

Too much time spent at the North Heidelberg rather than the classroom. SSD 68-72

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Hopalong's picture

Does anyone know if Ohio State has an analytic team for either the basketball or football teams? Curious if they do anything in house or if they contract out with a firm. This article on Liverpool's analytic team and the above 11W article really have me wondering about data analytics at OSU:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/magazine/soccer-data-liverpool.html

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CDUB26's picture

Damn good article regarding how Chris Holtmann uses analytics to determine who may take the court in the upcoming season.....This is the way they also do this in the pros as well....based on the chart, I see the three four and five spot in serious need to improvement to bring more flow offensively.....

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Max's picture

Rather than looking at # of 3s, I'd look at rate/% of shots that are 3s. (Random article says 37.5% of all shots in 2019-19 were 3s).The shot clock changed in 2015, so you'd see more shots overall the last few years (less those games where we go 10 minutes without scoring).

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moopdawg's picture

I just got pissed when I see a kid not be able to pull from 15 to 18 feet, and instead he kicks it out for to another teammate to shoot a 25 footer.  Like bro, you can't consistently knock that down?  

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Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

People think analytics created the trend to prefer threes over midrange twos. But the analysts just looked at what was actually happening. Most teams will score more shooting more threes than contested twos. After seeing the numbers, teams tried to do more of what worked. The quality of shooting drove the numbers first.

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Sanitarian2's picture

He called you "bro" , man.

Sani

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Go1Bucks's picture

The game of basketball is no longer fun to watch. Its time to lengrhen the court and raise the rim. Then we'll see if the game is worthy of the mid range v 3 argument.

Go Buckeyes!

HS