Digging in: Analyzing the Hornets’ Shot Selection

Published: January 15, 2012

Ryan Schwan analyzes the numbers around the Hornets shot selection.

Grim.  That’s what the offensive numbers are.  I don’t need to tell you how painful it is to watch these guys struggle to score night in and night out.   Still, here’s a few tidbits that you may not have known.  The Hornets’ skill on the offensive glass (They snatch 30.72% of available offensive rebounds, good for 2nd in the league)  allows them to avoid the ultimate distinction of offensive futility:  The worst offense in the league.

How do I know it’s this bad?  Because the Hornets XeFG% is dead last in the league, at 46%.  Now, you might ask, what is XeFG%?  It’s a nifty stat that calculates the expected effective field goal percentage of the Hornets.  Essentially, it tells you that if the Hornets shoot at an average rate for the league from the same spots on the floor, they should score points as if they were shooting 46%(This value takes into account 3-point shooting too.  Nifty, eh?).  In other words, the Hornets would average about .92 points per shot.  For those that don’t know, that’s terrible, and it’s dead last in the league.

Of course, that number is what you’d expect them to shoot.  These Hornet, however, aren’t even reaching that low bar, producing an eFG% of 45.2% as a team.  So not only are they taking bad shots, they are finishing them badly.


Here’s some nice tidbits I found in the data.  Enjoy the summary, and afterwards is a nice chart detailing the Hornets shooting, um, prowess?

  1. Usually a team with a terrible XeFG% takes a tremendous number of shots from 16-23 feet.  The Hornets takes the 12th most, which is about average, so the problem isn’t too many long two’s.  That’s nice, because frequently it means your team is just being lazy.
  2. The Hornets are terrible at getting to the rim, but take a huge number of shots 3-9 feet or 10-15 feet from the basket.  Way more than any other team.  This jives with the number of floaters the Hornets guards take – and fade away jumpers Kaman tosses up, since none of them have the jets or dribbling skills to get all the way to the rim. (Oh, Gordon, Gordon, wherefore art thou, Gordon)
  3. The Hornets’ percentage of shots taken from behind the arc continues to fall and is now the third lowest in the league.   I’m not sure this is a good thing.  While the Hornets have few knock-down shooters from deep, the law of averages and the career three-point averages of the Hornet’s shooters do indicate their percentage will go back up.  This is bad because the three is just too efficient a shot to abandon.  For example, though the Hornets shoot 27% from three, the extra point they get from their made shots make them just as effective as the 40% completion rate the Hornets are producing from 3-9 feet.  In other words, a Kaman post up will get you as much as an Ariza or Aminu three.
  4. It’s a shame the Hornets don’t get to the Rim more, since they are deadly at that range.  Of course, I also have a feeling there success there is a result of the putbacks off offensive rebounds more than some skill at getting to the rim.

Distribution of Shots

Type of Shot Percentage League Rank NBA Average
At Rim 23.5%* 27th 29%
Short (3-9 Ft) 18.8% 1st 14%
Mid (10-15 ft) 13.5% 1st 9.3%
Long (16-23) 27.4% 12th 25.2%
3-Point 16.8% 28th 22.4%

*23.5% at Rim means 23.5% of shots the Hornets take occur at the rim.

Conversion Rate

Type of Shot FG% League Rank NBA Average
At Rim 67.0% 5th 63.2%
Short (3-9 Ft) 40.0% 10th 37.6%
Mid (10-15 ft) 36.4% 17th 37.8%
Long (16-23) 37.1% 16th 37.8%
3-Point 27.2% (40.8%)* 28th 34.1%(51.1%)

*I’m including the eFG% in parenthesis, which takes into account the extra point from three point shots.

Thanks, Hoopdata!


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