In evaluating Danny Granger’s shot selection against the Pistons, I only weighed the attempts he took in that game. In other games, however, he has certainly thrown up some ugly looks this season and Mike Wells’ words of advice should certainly be taken to heart.
Because through four games, he has been throwing up bricks — and a lot of them.
He has taken 74 shots this season. The next highest-volume shooter on the team has 49. (Actually “shooters” — David West and Tyler Hansbrough are tied for second.) It should be noted that Granger (141) has played more minutes than any Pacer aside from Darren Collison (145), but that doesn’t come close to accounting for the disparity.
The fact is that Danny Granger is shooting way more than anyone else on his team.
Moreover, as noted today by Henry Abbott of TrueHoop, he’s shooting more than all but three guys in the entire NBA. And he is shooting worse than everyone else in the top 20 except for Al Jefferson, DeMarcus Cousins and Michael Beasley.
Here is Henry’s chart.
Numbers don’t lie. But with a sample size of just four games, they don’t necessarily tell us the whole picture either. Henry adds a nice caveat and/or warning to those guys on this list — Granger included — who have been high-volume/low-efficiency.
Being on this list is not strictly a good or a bad thing. Being on this list and missing a ton, though, well there’s no way that’s not hurting your team. Al Jefferson, Danny Granger, Russell Westbrook, Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Michael Beasley might have just gone through slumps, in which case, these numbers ought to come up in a few weeks. If not, it’s time to have a hard talk about shot selection.
There ya go, Danny. Two very good basketball writers are telling you the same thing: shoot better shots. I think we need to dig a little deeper, however, to avoid castigating just one guy for the failings of a whole team.
For further nuance, here’s a similar list to the one Henry created, but instead of the whole league, it just looks at the volume/efficiency of those on the Pacers roster. I added overall field goal attempts, minutes played and effective field goal percentage (eFG%), which I generally find more useful than true shooting percentage.
Looking at this chart adds some helpful information. If you look at Granger’s shooting volume and accuracy numbers compared to the rest of the league, they look really bad — damning even of his shot selection. But that sort of presumes he has been playing within in an offense that hasn’t been absolutely wretched. It presumes that his decision to take shots comes at the expense of other players on his team who would be using those possessions better if only the big ball-hog would stop shooting.
But the reality is that this team — this collective of 10 players — has shot miserably. Let’s add some perspective to just how miserable it’s been. Last season, the league-average NBA offense shot 45.9% from the floor with an eFG% of 49.8% and an offensive rating of 107.3. The worst NBA offense in 2010-11, the Milwaukee Bucks, shot 43.0% with an eFG% of 46.7% and an offensive rating of 101.6. So far in 2011-12, the Pacers have shot 38.5% with an eFG% of 40.8% and an offesensive rating of 96.8.
To recap, this year’s 3-1 Pacers offense has performed almost unspeakably worse than the NBA’s worst offense did last season. It has been gross, gross, gross, gross stuff.
Here’s a breakdown of the damage each game so far.
Game 1 – Pacers 91, Pistons 79
FG%: 36.8% | eFG%: 40.8% | Off Rating: 103.4
Game 2 – Pacers 90, Raptors 85
FG%: 39.5% | eFG%: 43.8% | Off Rating: 97.8
Game 3 – Pacers 98, Cavs 91 (OT)
FG%: 38.3% | eFG%: 39.4% | Off Rating: 92.5
Game 4 – Pacers 88, Pisons 96
FG%: 39.5% | eFG%: 42.8% | Off Rating: 95.7
All together, what all this data says to me is that Danny Granger has been shooting often and inaccurately. But so have all his teammates aside from Darren Collison and Paul George, who aren’t shooting enough, and Roy Hibbert.
The question then becomes: Is Danny’s inefficient shooting a cause or effect of the entire team’s inability to shoot well? I think the only reasonable answer is: both.
I think there definitely have been possessions during which Danny has “stole” shots from others who would have used them more efficiently. But another reality I have seen on the court is Darren Collison and Paul George — the only two guys other than Roy Hibbert who have shot well — being unassertive and reluctant, at times, to do anything when given the chance.
My final assessment on the matter through four games is that Danny needs to start making a bunch more shots if he plans to continue taking so many. But the other players need to start running the offense better as well. The other 9 guys to play in a Pacers uniform this season have managed to miss 40 of the 66 shots per game (shooting just 39.4%) not taken by Granger. West and Hansbrough, for instance, have been shooting at a worse rate than Danny and take a combined 30 shots per 36 minutes.
Danny’s high-volume/low-accuracy shooting is a problem for this Pacers offense. But its far from the only — or most glaring — one. As a team, they must correct the tendency to stand around too much, an inability to score in the pick-and-roll and the lack of success on post-plays.
According to Synergy Sports, the team is only scoring a paltry 0.79 points per possession out of their pick-and-rolls and a meager 0.75 points per possession during post-up plays. Meanwhile, they have scored at a 1.13 point-per-possession clip when they take shots off of cuts and 1.07 points per possession in transition.
Danny needs to fix his offense. But so does everyone else. And I haven’t even mentioned Frank Vogel yet.