The Lost Art of Shot Selection

MinerManiac

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There are many, many parts of Stefon Jackson's game that I appreciated. He had a great mid-range game, could finish inside, had a knack for getting to the line, and was a great free throw shooter, for example. Another very important part of his game is that he had great shot selection. While DJ could "drain jumpers" all day from mid-range, he was not a great three point shooter, and hence didn't take many shots beyond the arc. When he did shoot, whether it was an outside, mid-range, or close in shot, it was almost always a good decision. He was a very smart player who understood his strengths, knew his weaknesses, understood the offense, and knew how to maximize his production.

I know that I'm looking at a small sample size, but the art of shot selection seems to have gone out of the window, at least with our last two coaches. Why? Are analytics to blame? I know that the current belief is that, other than a layup, you get the most expected points per shot from a 3 pointer. But this is only true if you shoot a reasonable percentage from beyond the arc. If a player isn't shooting somewhere around the mid 30s are better from 3 point range, they are not producing more points per shot from beyond the arc. It really is a simple concept.

Looking at the stats so far these are the only players that should consider taking a 3: Boum, Bienemy, Sibley, and Saterfield. That's it. Agnew hasn't taken too many, he shouldn't take any more unless it's to beat a ahot clock. Maring and Tydus should never think about a 3 pointer (except maybe for the shot clock thing). And, of course, Kennedy, who is currently second on the team in 3 point attempts, desperately needs to stop shooting them.

It would be nice if all of our players were as smart and as self aware as DJ was. Unfortunately it's obvious that they don't have a clue. This is okay, it's the reason why we hire a coach. Golding needs to teach these guys about shot selection. I know that Kennedy gets a lot of criticism, but he does a lot if good things on the court. He is tough, athletic, hard nosed, a good defender, and a great rebounder for a guard. He should be an asset on the court. But he often isn't because he takes WAY too many shots that he has no business taking. Why is it that we've had two coaches who have not emphasized this obvious fact to him? Why didn't Tydus sit down next to Golding for a few minutes after he started the 2nd half of the UC Riverside game by taking two consecutive threes? Why, in two years under two different coaches, have we not encouraged our athletic wings to drive aggressively and create easier opportunities or free throw attempts, rather than jacking up outside shots that they are not qualified to take?

I don't get it. Do they believe in the principles of what the analytics say without understanding the details? Are they worried about destroying their players' confidence by pointing out that they can't throw it in the ocean? Do they believe that by letting a poor shooter jack up 3s they will magically transform into Stephen Curry? Coach Golding, please, I beg of you, teach your players shot selection. Please!

Another offensive note: not only did we take bad shots last night, we also played really sloppy on offense. I understand that we have a new coach with some new players, but we need to get that under control. We don't shoot well enough as it is, we can't afford as many possessions as we had last night without getting a shot up.

To try to stem some of the criticism this post will generate, I still support Coach Golding, and have hopes that he will turn this thing around. I just hope that he places more focus on teaching his players better decision making. Not every player is a DJ or an OT.
 
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FeralFelidae

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Sep 1, 2003
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It's tough to judge our shot selection since we don't have big men right now who can score in the paint. Without an inside game, it makes it tougher to find open shots.
 

Vegasminer

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Totally agree with this post, Maniac! I would add that the player that hits a high percentage in practice and can't even find the rim in a game is a coach's responsibility. Either put the reins on him or work out the psychology that is messing up his shooting by providing him with the requisite coaching. Even Coach Haskins hired dribbling experts, big man seminars and free throw shooting gurus to help to enhance his teams.
 

MinerManiac

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It's tough to judge our shot selection since we don't have big men right now who can score in the paint. Without an inside game, it makes it tougher to find open shots.
While we all agree that it would help tremendously to have a true offensive post presence, by my eye most of the threes that we are clanking are open looks. Guys like Kennedy and Agnew couldn't shoot last year either, and they had BW down low.
 

miner1liner

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There are many, many parts of Stefon Jackson's game that I appreciated. He had a great mid-range game, could finish inside, had a knack for getting to the line, and was a great free throw shooter, for example. Another very important part of his game is that he had great shot selection. While DJ could "drain jumpers" all day from mid-range, he was not a great three point shooter, and hence didn't take many shots beyond the arc. When he did shoot, whether it was an outside, mid-range, or close in shot, it was almost always a good decision. He was a very smart player who understood his strengths, knew his weaknesses, understood the offense, and knew how to maximize his production.

I know that I'm looking at a small sample size, but the art of shot selection seems to have gone out of the window, at least with our last two coaches. Why? Are analytics to blame? I know that the current belief is that, other than a layup, you get the most expected points per shot from a 3 pointer. But this is only true if you shoot a reasonable percentage from beyond the arc. If a player isn't shooting somewhere around the mid 30s are better from beyond the arc, they are not producing more points per shot from beyond the arc. It really is a simple concept.

Looking at the stats so far these are the only players that should consider taking a 3: Boum, Bienemy, Sibley, and Saterfield. That's it. Agnew hasn't taken too many, he shouldn't take any more unless it's to beat a ahot clock. Maring and Tydus should never think about a 3 pointer (except maybe for the shot clock thing). And, of course, Kennedy, who is currently second on the team in 3 point attempts, desperately needs to stop shooting them.

It would be nice if all of our players were as smart and as self aware as DJ was. Unfortunately it's obvious that they don't have a clue. This is okay, it's the reason why we hire a coach. Golding needs to teach these guys about shot selection. I know that Kennedy gets a lot of criticism, but he does a lot if good things on the court. He is tough, athletic, hard nosed, a good defender, and a great rebounder for a guard. He should be an asset on the court. But he often isn't because he takes WAY too many shots that he has no business taking. Why is it that we've had two coaches who have not emphasized this obvious fact to him? Why didn't Tydus sit down next to Golding for a few minutes after he started the 2nd half of the UC Riverside game by taking two consecutive threes? Why, in two years under two different coaches, have we not encouraged our athletic wings to drive aggressively and create easier opportunities or free throw attempts, rather than jacking up outside shots that they are not qualified to take?

I don't get it. Do they believe in the principles of what the analytics say without understanding the details? Are they worried about destroying their players' confidence by pointing out that they can't throw it in the ocean? Do they believe that by letting a poor shooter jack up 3s they will magically transform into Stephen Curry? Coach Golding, please, I beg of you, teach your players shot selection. Please!

Another offensive note: not only did we take bad shots last night, we also played really sloppy on offense. I understand that we have a new coach with some new players, but we need to get that under control. We don't shoot well enough as it is, we can't afford as many possessions as we had last night without getting a shot up.

To try to stem some of the criticism this post will generate, I still support Coach Golding, and have hopes that he will turn this thing around. I just hope that he places more focus on teaching his players better decision making. Not every player is a DJ or an OT.
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
Agree 100%. Exactly my sentiments. As I pointed out in another post; when Kennedy only took six selective shots and made three vs The Aggies we coincidentally probably played our best game of the season, because it made our possessions more worthy. Kennedy does contribute as you said, but it's wasted with his wild bricks and air balls.
 

FiliUTEP

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You guys wont like it but they have to keep shooting. They need the in game practice to keep shooting. They wont get better if they dont shoot. Especially the younger players. That's the problem with Ben Simmons he just needs to shoot it dont be scared. Players have shoot with confidence. Coach Golding cannot bench them if they miss. Its okay that they're missing shots right now. They need to make them in conference play.
 

MineroFanatico

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You guys wont like it but they have to keep shooting. They need the in game practice to keep shooting. They wont get better if they dont shoot. Especially the younger players. That's the problem with Ben Simmons he just needs to shoot it dont be scared. Players have shoot with confidence. Coach Golding cannot bench them if they miss. Its okay that they're missing shots right now. They need to make them in conference play.
I wish it was that simple. All the confidence in the world won’t help bad form and technique. Shaq didn’t suffer from lack of confidence from the charity stripe his whole career. He just sucked.
 

FiliUTEP

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I wish it was that simple. All the confidence in the world won’t help bad form and technique. Shaq didn’t suffer from lack of confidence from the charity stripe his whole career. He just sucked.
Are you a shooter?? Do you know what it's like to shoot?? I'm a shooter and it takes practice . You just dont become a great shooter it takes practice. Just like golf you dont become great at putting it takes practice and reps. Lonzo Ball wasnt a great shooter. Vince Carter in his early years wasn't a great shooter. Jason Kidd and so on. The seniors and Juniors its probably too late for them to get better unless they put in the practice . They have to be shooting for like hours to get better. Shaq didn't have to shoot all he had to do was dunk it. But as a coach you have to let them keep shooting you no other option. Steph Curry isnt joing Utep this year so you have to use the players you have now. So my suggestion just keep letting them shoot. The Knicks are having the same problem with RJ Barrett he just needs to practice.
 

MineroFanatico

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Are you a shooter?? Do you know what it's like to shoot?? I'm a shooter and it takes practice . You just dont become a great shooter it takes practice. Just like golf you dont become great at putting it takes practice and reps. Lonzo Ball wasnt a great shooter. Vince Carter in his early years wasn't a great shooter. Jason Kidd and so on. The seniors and Juniors its probably too late for them to get better unless they put in the practice . They have to be shooting for like hours to get better. Shaq didn't have to shoot all he had to do was dunk it. But as a coach you have to let them keep shooting you no other option. Steph Curry isnt joing Utep this year so you have to use the players you have now. So my suggestion just keep letting them shoot. The Knicks are having the same problem with RJ Barrett he just needs to practice.
Why yes I am. Played the 2 growing up. Played it in adult league as well. Would LOVE to have a shoot off with you if we could ever arrange it.

I am speaking specifically about Kennedy, Hollins, Maring. Kennedy is in his 4th year of college ball. He is not going to all of a sudden improve much, if at all. He’s actually gotten worse by year.

Maring’s form is atrocious. That laser he shoots with no arc isn’t going to get better either, no matter how many 3s he shoots in games…or practice.

Hollins is the same. It’s just bad form. You’d have to spend so much time on mechanics alone to improve his shot much.

I’ll throw Agnew in as wel. He’s also in his 4th year. He’s chunked up enough 3s that it isn’t a confidence issue either. It just isn’t his strength.

I get what you’re saying about letting it fly so guys can get it figured out. But guys who you let shoot through their 3 point woes are guys who have historically shown they can consistently hit the 3 but are in a shooting slump. Freshmen or newcomers, like you said. Or someone coming back from injury.

You use history. They’re not 12 years old with only a couple years of ball behind them. They’ve been doing this for years, and most are nearing the end of their careers. They either have it by this level or they don’t.

It be more wise to use better shot selection with most guys, as Maniac said up above.
 

FiliUTEP

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Why yes I am. Played the 2 growing up. Played it in adult league as well. Would LOVE to have a shoot off with you if we could ever arrange it.

I am speaking specifically about Kennedy, Hollins, Maring. Kennedy is in his 4th year of college ball. He is not going to all of a sudden improve much, if at all. He’s actually gotten worse by year.

Maring’s form is atrocious. That laser he shoots with no arc isn’t going to get better either, no matter how many 3s he shoots in games…or practice.

Hollins is the same. It’s just bad form. You’d have to spend so much time on mechanics alone to improve his shot much.

I’ll throw Agnew in as wel. He’s also in his 4th year. He’s chunked up enough 3s that it isn’t a confidence issue either. It just isn’t his strength.

I get what you’re saying about letting it fly so guys can get it figured out. But guys who you let shoot through their 3 point woes are guys who have historically shown they can consistently hit the 3 but are in a shooting slump. Freshmen or newcomers, like you said. Or someone coming back from injury.

You use history. They’re not 12 years old with only a couple years of ball behind them. They’ve been doing this for years, and most are nearing the end of their careers. They either have it by this level or they don’t.

It be more wise to use better shot selection with most guys, as Maniac said up above.


Well what do you want them to do?? Golding needs to find out who can make shots?? He wont know unless he puts them in the game. You want a bunch of Ben Simmons out there scared to shoot?? If they're open they have to shoot it. I didn't watch the game last night but were they shooting shots covered or were they open shots??
 

MinerManiac

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Well what do you want them to do?? Golding needs to find out who can make shots?? He wont know unless he puts them in the game. You want a bunch of Ben Simmons out there scared to shoot?? If they're open they have to shoot it. I didn't watch the game last night but were they shooting shots covered or were they open shots??
What I want each player to do is learn and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Some can do that by themselves, others need the help of the staff. Then they need to take this knowledge and shoot from the areas of the court where they can actually make a reasonable percentage of their shots. I named the four guys that should shoot open shots from beyond the arc. Players like Tydus and Maring should be shooting from inside. Guys like Kennedy and Agnew should take much shorter jumpers and take the ball to the rim. Taking a large volume of three point shots does not help you win when you miss such a large percentage of them. The players on this team desperately need to improve their shot selection.
 

Vegasminer

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What I want each player to do is learn and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Some can do that by themselves, others need the help of the staff. Then they need to take this knowledge and shoot from the areas of the court where they can actually make a reasonable percentage of their shots. I named the four guys that should shoot open shots from beyond the arc. Players like Tydus and Maring should be shooting from inside. Guys like Kennedy and Agnew should take much shorter jumpers and take the ball to the rim. Taking a large volume of three point shots does not help you win when you miss such a large percentage of them. The players on this team desperately need to improve their shot selection.
Amen!
 
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IMO the problem with Kennedy is he makes one every once in while and doesn't miss enough to keep him from taking them. Players like Jackson were good at getting "their" shot we are woefully short in this area on this team. Agnew can get to the basket, but can't finish. Boum really has a set shot and has a hard time getting it off in traffic, Bienemy is inconsistent. You couple this with a lack of any inside game and we become a jump shooting team, that can't shoot.
 
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Lil_Train

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IMO the problem with Kennedy is he makes one every once in while and doesn't miss enough to keep him from taking them. Players like Jackson were good at getting "their" shot we are woefully short in this area on this team. Agnew can get to the basket, but can't finish. Boum really has a set shot and has a hard time getting it off in traffic, Bienemy is inconsistent. You couple this with a lack of any inside game and we become a jump shooting team, that can't shoot.
I agree with this except for the part on Kennedy. He is currently shooting 20% from 3, and 33% overall. His FT is 57%. This isn't an anomaly. Those are definitely not D1 level numbers for a guy who shoots a TON of shots, no matter how you slice it.
 

miner1liner

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It's amazing that everyone sees the same performance level from Kennedy and agree that he must back off the three's. It needs to be pounded into his thick noggin how he helps and how he hurts the team.
 

MineroFanatico

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Well what do you want them to do?? Golding needs to find out who can make shots?? He wont know unless he puts them in the game. You want a bunch of Ben Simmons out there scared to shoot?? If they're open they have to shoot it. I didn't watch the game last night but were they shooting shots covered or were they open shots??
Most were pretty open looks. You say Golding needs to find out who can make shots, at what point do you think he’ll know what he needs to know?

You say you didn’t watch the game. Maybe you should take a look. I can pretty confidently tell you who will shoot below 25% from 3 and who will be above 35% for the year, give or take a few percentage points.

Like Maniac said, play to the strengths of each player. I can assure you, they aren’t all 3 point threats. And it ain’t cuz of lack of confidence. Anyway, you’re obviously free to think what you want.
 

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