BROOKLYN — Nets coach Jason Kidd didn’t think Paul Pierce was going to play Monday night.
Pierce, dealing with an injured shoulder, played. He played 30 minutes, scored 15 points, and hit the biggest shot of the night, a 3-pointer that gave the Nets a three-point lead with 1:14 left and propelled them to a big win over the visiting Raptors.
It was a tough shot, because Kyle Lowry was in Pierce’s shirt with a hand in his face. But Pierce had to take it because the shot clock was about to expire.
And maybe it didn’t matter that Lowry was there, because, according to SportVU, Pierce has shot better on contested jumpers than uncontested jumpers. Among 92 players who have attempted at least 100 of each, only one — the Pelicans’ Brian Roberts — has a bigger discrepancy.
Players who have shot better on contested jumpers
Minimum 100 of each.
Contested = Any jump shot outside of 10 feet with a defender within four feet of the shooter.
Note: We’re looking at standard field goal percentage and not effective field goal percentage to simply see the effect on a player’s success rate.
That LeBron James has shot better on contested jumpers is more incentive for defenses to play off him on the perimeter, as the Spurs did (successfully, until Game 7) in The Finals.
The league has shot 5.4 percent better on uncontested jumpers this season. But a contest will affect some players more than others. On the opposite end of the spectrum from Roberts and Pierce is the Suns’ Goran Dragic …
Players who have shot at least 10 percent better on uncontested jumpers
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||121||296||40.9%||30||103||29.1%||11.8%|
For some of these guys, the difference is about how well they shoot when they’re left open. For some, it’s about how poorly they shoot when there’s a defender nearby. Josh Smith probably shouldn’t shoot jumpers at all.