From Media Day until opening night, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann will provide a key stat for each team in the league and show you, with film and analysis, why it matters. Up next are the Philadelphia 76ers, who took a step backward this summer.
47.8 percent - Evan Turner‘s true shooting percentage, lowest among 40 players who attempted at least 1,000 field goals last season.
True shooting percentage = PTS / (2 * (FGA + (0.44* FTA)))
League average: 53.5 percent
Forty players isn’t a huge group, but if you’re going to attempt that many shots, you should be somewhat efficient. Turner was not, and if you need a bigger group, he ranked 171st in true shooting percentage among 177 players who attempted at least 500 shots. (The guy who ranked 177 has already been named.)
Turner had multiple issues offensively last season. First, he didn’t get to the line enough. His FTA Rate of 0.198 (FTA/FGA) ranked 131st of those 177 guys who took at least 500 shots from the field. Second, when he did get to the line, he was a below-average shooter (74 percent).
Third, Turner couldn’t finish at the basket. After shooting 60 percent in the restricted area over his first two seasons, he shot 49.4 percent in there last season, 228th among 236 players who attempted at least 100 restricted-area shots.
Finally, Turner didn’t take enough 3-pointers. Relative to league averages, Turner was a better mid-range shooter than he was a 3-point shooter. But his 3-pointers (1.09 points per attempt) were still worth much more than his mid-range shots (0.85), and he took more than three times as many mid-range shots as he did from behind the arc.
Evan Turner shot breakdown
You don’t have to be a great 3-point shooter to make the math work out in favor of stepping back behind the line. The average shot from the field last season was worth 0.99 points. If you shoot 35 percent from 3-point range (slightly worse than the league average), it’s a good shoot at 1.05. And if you shoot 45 percent from mid-range (much better than the league average), it’s a bad shot at just 0.90.
You always have to take what the defense gives you, but there’s no reason to have a 3/1 ratio in favor of mid-range shots.
Here are some of Turner’s shots from a Dec. 28 game against the Warriors in which he was 1-for-8 from mid-range and 4-for-6 from elsewhere on the floor…
Entering the final season of his rookie deal, Turner’s going to have a hard time endearing himself to the Sixers’ new, pro-analytics front office, unless he changes his game dramatically. Even if he finishes better at the rim this season, his shot selection needs improvement.
But it will be interesting to see if his new coach makes a difference. Doug Collins was known to discourage guys like Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young from taking 3-pointers. Though he would often talk about forcing Sixers opponents to take mid-range shots, no team took a greater percentage of their own shots from mid-range last season (see below).
New coach Brett Brown doesn’t seem like a hard-core analytics guy, but he comes from a numbers-friendly program in San Antonio and probably wouldn’t have been hired by Sam Hinkie if he wasn’t willing to consider the stats.
The Sixers are going to be pretty bad either way, but Brown should encourage his guards and wings to let it fly from beyond the arc.
Highest percentage of shots from mid-range, 2012-13
%FGA = Percentage of total FGA
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions