Lowest effective field goal percentage from outside the paint
%FGA = Percentage of total field goal attempts
Effective field goal percentage = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
Who would have thought that the worst jump-shooting team in the league would be the one starting Josh Smith at small forward?
The Pistons rank 29th in mid-range field goal percentage (34.8 percent) and dead last in 3-point percentage (30.6 percent). They’re the third worst 3-point shooting team of the last 10 years, ahead of only last season’s Timberwolves (30.5 percent) and the 2011-12 Bobcats (29.5 percent).
It doesn’t help that the Pistons start the erratic Brandon Jennings and the inexperienced Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the backcourt. In fact, all 10 Pistons who have attempted at least 45 shots from outside the paint have shot them at a level below the league average.
But Smith is the main culprit, having taken 350 shots from outside the paint, with a brutal effective field goal percentage of 34.4 percent.
Pistons shooting from outside the paint
The issues of playing Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond together have been addressed in this space before. Of late, the defense hasn’t been as bad as it was earlier in the season, and coach Mo Cheeks isn’t playing the three bigs together as much, but the Pistons still struggle to score with them all on the floor together.
Pistons efficiency with Smith, Monroe and Drummond on the floor
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
So it seems clear that, with the trade deadline now only 15 days away, the Pistons should think hard about shaking things up. Reportedly, they’d prefer to move Smith, who’s in the first year of a four-year, $54 million deal. Obviously, they’d have an easier time finding a taker for Monroe, who’s in the last year of his rookie contract.
Any team trading for Smith would obviously do so with the intent of playing him (primarily) at power forward. But moving Smith to the four on a permanent basis (with the Pistons or some other team) isn’t necessarily going to keep him from shooting jumpers.
Smith has played 834 minutes with Monroe and Drummond. He’s played 97 minutes with *other combinations where you could say he’s the small forward. And he’s played 717 minutes at the four.
* Combinations of Monroe, Drummond, Josh Harrellson, Jonas Jerebko and Charlie Villanueva.
And in those 717 minutes, Smith has attempted about the same percentage of his shots from outside the paint as he has when he’s played the three.
Josh Smith shooting from outside the paint
In fact, in two of his last three seasons in Atlanta, Smith attempted more than half of his shots from outside the paint. When Smith was with the Hawks, a coaching change seemed to make the difference. In six seasons under Mike Woodson, Smith took only 37 percent of his shots from outside the paint. In three seasons under Larry Drew, he took 49 percent of his shots from outside the paint.
That’s the same rate as this season. The problem is that Smith’s shooting — both inside the paint and outside it — has been much worse than it was in his last few seasons in Atlanta. His defense has also regressed.
That all goes beyond what position he’s playing. The Pistons can improve their perimeter shooting by acquiring a small forward who can actually shoot, but (unless they somehow find a taker for that contract) they still need Smith to play better.
Here are Smith’s 20 shots in Miami on Monday, when he shot 4-for-4 in the restricted area and 1-for-16 outside it.
On the other hand, Smith had one of his best shooting games of the season a couple of weeks ago against the Clippers. He shot 6-for-8 from mid-range. Here are those eight shots, which aren’t exactly more pleasing to watch (he banked the first one in).
The bottom of the list
It shouldn’t be any surprise that the Golden State Warriors are the best jump-shooting team in the league, with an effective field goal percentage of 49.5 percent from outside the paint. What is a surprise is that Andre Iguodala has been nearly as good a jump-shooter (55.1 percent) as Stephen Curry (55.6 percent).
Next best are the Heat (49.4 percent), followed by the Hawks (49.4 percent), Spurs (49.2 percent) and Mavericks (49.2 percent).
Of the 166 players who have attempted at least 100 shots both in the paint and outside the paint, only one has shot better (we’re talking standard field goal percentage, here) from outside than inside. Who is he?
More jump-shooting notes
- Smith isn’t the worst jump-shooter in the league. Of 223 players who have attempted at least 100 shots from outside the paint, Tyreke Evans has the lowest outside-the-paint effective field goal percentage at 25.2 percent. If you’ve ever watched Evans take one of his lazy-looking jumpers, you shouldn’t be surprised.
- It should also be no surprise that Kyle Korver is at the top of the list, with an effective field goal percentage of 64.2 percent from outside the paint. No. 2 is Anthony Tolliver (62.9 percent).
- Smith ranks 216th on the list, and no one below him has taken anything near 350 shots from outside the paint.
- East teams have an effective field goal percentage of 45.4 percent from outside the paint. West teams: 47.1 percent.
- Eight of the 10 teams with an effective field goal percentage of less than 45 percent from outside the paint also rank 20th or worse in offensive efficiency. The exceptions are Memphis (18th in offensive efficiency) and Minnesota (ninth). While they don’t shoot very well, the Wolves rank in the top 10 in offensive rebounding rate, turnover rate, and free throw rate.
Damian Lillard has shot 41.2 percent in the paint and 42.4 percent outside the paint. On the opposite side of the spectrum is teammate Nicolas Batum, who has the biggest discrepancy between paint field goal percentage (71.7 percent) and outside-the-paint field goal percentage (36.3 percent).