The Hornets have the Worst Shot Selection in the NBA

Published: April 5, 2011

Now that’s a strong statement, right?  Yes it is.  But it’s also true.  Over at there is a wonderful statistic called XeFG%.  I’ve mentioned it on this site before, but for those of you who don’t remember, here’s a breakdown of it.

  • eFG% is the effective field goal of a player, and it includes the impact of three pointers.  A player who takes all two point shots and hits half of them has an eFG% of 50%.  A player who takes all three point shots and hits a third of them would also have an eFG% of 50%.  Why?  Because both players produce 1 point per shot.  That’s eFG%.
  • Now on to the X part of the XeFG%.  That stands for “expected”.  Hoopdata keeps track of how well players shoot from different ranges and calculates the NBA average from each of those ranges.  Armed with that information, the site can determine what the expected eFG% is for each type of shot in the NBA.  For example, they know that the average eFG% for a shot taken from 10-15 feet away from the basket is 39.2%.

So how do these numbers tell us the Hornets have the Worst Shot selection?  Hoopdata tracks the type of shots the Hornets take, and here’s the percentage of their shots from each distance.

Team At Rim <10 Feet 10-15 Feet 16-23 Feet 3-Pointers
NOR 25.6% 15.3% 10.7% 28.9% 19.3%

That particular set of shots is expected to generate an eFG% of 48.4%, which is the worst in the league.

That’s not really that surprising.  As you can see from that table, the Hornets take a lot of long jumpers.  In fact, to further illustrate, he’s a table showing how the Hornets rank against the rest of the league.

Team At Rim <10 Feet 10-15 Feet 16-23 Feet 3-Pointers
NOR 29th 9th 5th 5th 22nd

When you look at those numbers, and then take into account the fact that shots at the rim and from three-point range are BY FAR the most efficient shots in the game, then you can see why the Hornets aren’t expected to shoot so well.

Now, it is true the Hornets out-perform the expected slightly – mostly because players like Paul and West are better than normal mid-range jump-shooters – and I suppose you could use that to argue their shot selection isn’t as bad because they are kinda good at those shots.  You could make that argument, but I don’t really buy it because the Hornets are still choosing to take low-percentage shots.  I’d rather take a shot that has an average eFG% of 53.8%(three pointers) than those with a eFG% of 39.4% (16-23 footers).



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