Efficiency Addendum

One of my first posts here at Hickory High was called Efficiency. It was in response to a quote from Daryl Morey, calling Kevin Martin one of the game’s most efficient scorers. His statistical rationale was that Martin had played two full seasons in which he averaged 8.0+ FTA/game and shot over 40% on 3Pts. He was the only player over the last 30 years to have accomplished that feat. In my post I took a look at incoming and historical college players who had approached or surpassed those benchmarks.

Now that the playoffs have begun, I wanted to review this perspective on scoring efficiency, using this season’s stats. No one attained those benchmarks together this season, but if you lower them to 7.0+ FTA/game and 35% 3PT% you are left with 5 players:

Player FTA/Game 3PT%
Dirk Nowitzki 7.2 42.1%
Chauncey Billups 7.0 38.6%
Gerald Wallace 7.2 37.1%
Kevin Durant 10.2 36.5%
Kevin Martin 7.0 35.5%
  • Paul Pierce and Danny Granger just miss making the list because of FTA’s. Pierce averages 6.1 FTA/game, Granger averages 6.9 FTA/game.
  • I also left Chris Bosh off. He qualifies based on percentages but averages less then 0.5  3PTA per game.
  • The obvious surprise here is Gerald Wallace. I don’t think anyone, off-the-top of their head, would have put him on a list of the most efficient scorers in the league.

I am still new to a lot of the advanced statistics, but the two other measures for individual offensive efficiency that I know fairly well are True Shooting% and Points Per Shot. True Shooting Percentage is a metric that incorporates a player’s 3PT% and FT% with their FG% to give an overall portrait of their accuracy as a shooter. Points Per Shot is exactly what it sounds like; the number of points a player scores divided by the number of shots they took. This metric favors players who score around the basket, as well those that have a high 3PT% (an extra point for each made shot) and get to the line alot (extra points with “no shots”). I incorporated those numbers into the same graph and added the player’s NBA rank for each statistic.

Player FTA/Game 3PT% TS% Rank PPS Rank
Dirk Nowitzki 7.2 42.1% .578 36th 1.35 22st
Chauncey Billups 7.0 38.6% .601 17th 1.48 8th
Gerald Wallace 7.2 37.1% .586 30th 1.47 11th
Kevin Durant 10.2 36.5% .607 13th 1.48 9th
Kevin Martin 7.0 35.5% .561 65th 1.36 21st

None of these players are traditional post threats. Despite doing much of their scoring outside the paint, they are obviously among the most efficient scorers in the league. I really appreciate Daryl Morey offerring us his opinion on a specific statistical tool, even if it was unintentional. He has been part of a revolution in talent assessment, but is understandably protective of the metrics and techniques that he favors. This is one to certainly keep on an eye throughout the playoffs and into next season. I also hope it is one the Pacers look at when they are evaluating free agent talent this summer.

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