|Best Shooter in the Game?|
Something very basic dawned on me today as I was trying to guess who they would invite to the Foot Locker 3 point shootout, and that is that most of us really don’t take the time to appreciate shooting the way it should be appreciated. A lot of us talk about a players FG%, which is one of the most useless stats in all of basketball. FG% is a LOT like batting average. It’s fun to look at, but it ignores walks, and it counts a single like a homer. In the same way FG% ignores FT’s, and counts a 3 the same as a 2. Most of us know that batting average is rather useless compared to it’s better stats like OBP, slugging, and OPS, but few of us bother to remember that FG% is useless compared to TS% and eFG%.
But then I had a brainstorm, what if there was an OPS like stat for shooters? A way to track two different skills, both related to shooting, and combine them into one number? What would you pick? What would it show?
In my opinion, I think a interesting way to look at the best shooter in the league would be FT% + 3P%. FPT, I guess. We combine the free throw percentage, a great indicator of shooting ability, with the 3 pointer, another great indicator of shooting, and just add the two up.
When I thought of this, I remembered an old Hollinger article, where he did 2p% + 3p% + FT%, and called it something lame, like Total Shooting Percentage. Who do you think was the all time leader in this statistic? Bird? Miller? Allen? It was actually Steve Nash. I’m sure a few of you got that right. It’s an interesting metric, and for sure bolsters my opinion that Nash is the greatest shooting PG or all time, but I’m more interested in this year’s results tonight. And I don’t care about 2p%, because while we know 3′s are going to be right around the 3 point line 90-95% of the time, 2′s could be anything from a layup to a foot on the line, so I feel there is too much noise in that stat to judge a shooter.
So I did a bit of math. And I think the results are a bit surprising. I only used players who bother to quality for the league lead in both stats, so as not to get some weird results.
FPT leaders for the 10-11 season:
1. Chris Paul – .462 + .893 = 1.355
2. Luke Ridnour – .439 + .906 = 1.345
3. Stephen Curry – .411 + .931 = 1.342
4. Steve Nash – .417 + .918 = 1.335
5. Kevin Love – .447 + .877 = 1.324
6. J.J. Reddick – ..415 + .895 = 1.310
7. Ray Allen – .454 + .863 = 1.307
8. D.J. Augustin – .384 + .918 – 1.302
I think it’s a pretty interesting look at the shooting ability of the league at the moment. Clearly, we don’t give enough props to Chris Paul for his amazing shooting ability. People want to dismiss his 11 shots a game, but don’t realize that he is the most effective shooter in the entire league. He leads all smalls in O rating for a reason, because when he gets the ball, he fills it up. It’s sick that the D-Will vs. Paul debate has really been solved so damn convincingly at this point, I don’t know anything you can really say Deron Williams, a great, great player, does better then Paul at this point (that really matters). I mean really, Paul’s already an elite defensive guard, a solid rebounder for his position, and a top 3 assisting guard, if we throw in best shooter in the NBA, his legend only grows.
And I think we all should give some special respect to Kevin Love, who’s shooting ability this year really is out of this world. People get transfixed on his rebounding numbers, because they are so utterly staggering, but at the line and the arc, he is a top 5 shooter in the NBA. How sick is that? I know some Wolves fans likes to say a lot of what Love is doing this year is based on role and playing time, but you cannot ignore the fact that Love has made himself one of the best shooters in the entire NBA. To rank top 5 in this category from the PF position is unreal. His season is a statistical mind ****, plain and simple.
And Ridnour and Augustin probably deserve more credit for the seasons they are having. I will admit, I have started hearing their name in a positive mention far more within the last 3 weeks of this season. And most likely because of that this pertains to, their highly efficient shooting.