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Visualizing Jump Shots, Featuring Hero Ball in Toronto

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Last I started to look at the new SportVU data on jump shooting the NBA is sharing with its fans coming from tracking camera now in every NBA arena. I wanted to compare two categories of shots they track, the Pull Up jumper and the Catch and Shoot jumpers. After aggregating all of the players shots I got the comparable averages for each shot type league wide and by team.

This is the updated table with the SportVU data through 11/20:

Shot Type Mid Range PPS Three Point PPS Mid/Three Ratio All PPS
Pull Up 0.73 0.93 4.22 0.76
Catch & Shoot 0.83 1.16 0.58 1.03

A couple of things jump out, not only are the Catch and Shoot jumpers more efficient than the Pull Ups from both mid-range and three, attempts from three are disproportionately off of the Catch and Shoot, 2.52 times more often than a Pull Up three. Pull Ups are generally mid-range shots, hopefully, taken as a secondary or tertiary option. An exception is Stephen Curry who excels at the Pull Up three, with 4.2 Pull Up threes per game and an 1.14 points per Pull Up three attempt when I took this data.

However, not every team has adopted the same strategies and certainly not with the same success. The visualization below puts the Pull Up shot and Catch and Shoot data together for each team. There is a tab for the combined mid range and three point jump shots, one for mid range only, and one for three point shots. The (usually) much higher black line is the Point Per Catch and Shoot shot for each team and the height of the bar represents the Points Per Pull Up shot.

A few notes on teams from the visualization. The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors are anomalies in terms of jump shot types.  Toronto takes 1.39 Pull Up shots for every Catch and Shoot attempt they take, with OKC coming at 1.28 Pull Ups to Catch and Shoot jumpers. For the Thunder, so far, this looks like a rational strategy since they’re the only team scoring more Points Per Pull Up attempt, and that is even before considering that Pull Up shots probably lead to more foul shots. (An analysis I did previously showed an independent positive affect of unassisted two point attempts on getting to the line).

On the other hand in Toronto this looks like hero ball run amok where they are scoring 1.00 point per Catch and Shoot jumper and only 0.73 per Pull Up. Pretty much all of those Pull Up shots are being attempted by Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.  For Lowry it is probably forgivable since most of the Pull Up leaders in attempts per 48 minutes are Point Guards. Gay’s ‘efficiency’ is only marginally better off of the Catch, but DeRozan drops from about 1.00 point per shot in Catch and Shoot situations to an atrocious 0.66 PPS on Pull Ups.

On the opposite end, Atlanta is proving to be San Antonio East and has the lowest Pull Up to Catch and Shoot ratio. Kyle Korver, Al Horford, Cartier Martin and both Pero Antic and Mike Scott in limited minutes all shoot off the catch at a high rate, while only Jeff Teague and Shelvin Mack have been taking Pull Up shots at a high rate per 48 minutes.

Memphis had second lowest Pull Up ratio, slightly surprisingly to me, but not generating great looks in part due to a lack of three point shooting outside of Mike Miller.

Statistical support for this story from

  • Dodgson

    Great article.

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