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The List: To get going, the Hornets have to get going

Nobody takes fewer shots early in the clock than Charlotte

POSTED: Dec 5, 2014 11:23 AM ET

By John Schuhmann

BY John Schuhmann

NBA.com

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He may struggle in the half-court, but the injured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can run the floor, and his return will help.

The list

Lowest percentage of shots taken in first six seconds of shot clock
Team F6 FGM F6 FGA F6 FG% TOT FGA %FGA F6
Charlotte 54 101 53.5% 1,387 7.3%
Indiana 47 107 43.9% 1,165 9.2%
Miami 65 115 56.5% 1,174 9.8%
Memphis 66 123 53.7% 1,181 10.4%
Orlando 85 152 55.9% 1,456 10.4%
Through Wednesday, Dec. 3
League average = 13.2%
Doesn't include shots after offensive rebounds
via SportVU

The context

The correlation between the percentage of shots that a team takes in the first six seconds of the shot clock and offensive efficiency isn't big. But there is one, and shooting gets worse as a possession gets longer. Early offense is important.

League-wide FG% by time left on shot clock
Shot clock FG% 3P% eFG%
19-24 56.2% 37.6% 61.3%
13-18 45.2% 37.0% 50.3%
7-12 43.8% 36.7% 48.4%
0-6 38.8% 32.6% 43.4%
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
Doesn't include shots after offensive rebounds.
via SportVU

So this is a list you don't want to be on top of. The Grizzlies rank ninth in efficiency through Thursday, but the Heat rank 15th and the other three teams above rank in the bottom six.

The Hornets' effective field-goal percentage dropoff, from 57.4 percent in the first six seconds to 45.1 percent in the last 18, is a little less than the league average. But it's bigger than any of the other four teams in the list above. The Hornets aren't bad when they run. They just don't do it enough.

The Hornets also ranked last in early offense last season (when they were the Bobcats), with 10.6 percent of their shots coming in the first six seconds of the shot clock, one reason they ranked 24th in offensive efficiency.

Lance Stephenson should have helped fix the problem. He's a guy who can grab a rebound (or steal one from his teammates) and push the ball up the floor. Last season, 16.3 percent of Stephenson's shots came in the first six seconds of the shot clock, a rate which ranked 86th among 223 players who attempted at least 300 shots (before an offensive rebound).

But this year, that number is down to 8.5 percent (15/176), which ranks 161st among 218 players who have attempted at least 75. Every Hornet on the list ranks below the league average.

One guy who wouldn't -- if he had enough shots -- is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who has played in only six of the Hornets' 19 games. MKG may be a liability in his team's half-court offense, but runs the floor, both with and without the ball.

And really, the Hornets' issues start on defense, where Kidd-Gilchrist is an impact player. Only two teams -- Indiana and Minnesota -- have regressed more defensively than the Hornets, who were sixth in defensive efficiency last season and rank 25th this year, having allowed 105.8 points per 100 possessions. And fewer stops mean fewer opportunities to run.

The biggest regression in the Hornets' defense has been their rim protection. Their opponents have shot 64.8 percent in the restricted area, the fourth highest rate in the league. That's up from 57.8 percent, which was the fifth lowest rate last season.

Hornets' opponent field-goal percentage
Shot area 2013-14 2014-15 Diff.
Restricted area 57.8% 64.8% +7.0%
Other paint 36.6% 40.8% +4.3%
Mid-range 40.0% 41.2% +1.2%
Corner 3 37.8% 44.0% +6.2%
Above-break 3 37.1% 34.5% -2.6%

Transition defense isn't a problem. Charlotte opponents have taken just 10.8 percent of their shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock, the second lowest rate in the league. But their pick-and-roll numbers have regressed and Al Jefferson ranks as one of the league's worst rim protectors, allowing opponents to shoot 59.1 percent at the rim, up from 52.4 percent last season.

So while Kidd-Gilchrist will help when he returns (maybe next week), he isn't the solution to all the Hornets' problems. But if they can get running a little more, offense won't be such a struggle.

Some good news: The 15 shots the Hornets got in the first six seconds of the shot clock in Wednesday's loss to the Bulls was six more than they had taken in any other game this season. Here was Stephenson leading the break and finding Cody Zeller, who posterized Pau Gasol.

Zeller Posterizes Gasol

Lance Stephenson finds Cody Zeller who posterizes Pau Gasol with the two-handed monster dunk.

The bottom of the list

The Phoenix Suns have attempted 19.8 percent of their shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock, the highest rate in the league. Goran Dragic (66), Eric Bledsoe (55) and Gerald Green (44) all rank in the top 10 in shots in the first six seconds.

Stephen Curry led the league with 67 before he guided the Warriors to 43 fast-break points -- the most in a game since Feb. 2010 -- in last night's win over New Orleans. The Dubs rank second behind the Suns, with 17.9 percent of their shots having come in the first six seconds. Then it's the Cavs (17.3 percent), Bucks (17.3 percent) and Nuggets (17.3 percent).

Trivia question

The players who have taken the lowest percentage of their (initial-possession) shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock are all bigs. Roy Hibbert hasn't taken a single one of 119 in the first six seconds.

Among guards who have taken at least 75 initital-possession shots, which has taken the lowest percentage in the first six seconds of the shot clock?

Hint: He's a second-year backup point guard in the East.

One Stat, One Play

This week's edition of "One Stat, One Play" looked at the Warriors' rim protection, featuring Andrew Bogut and a pick-and-roll scheme that keeps him near the basket.

Golden State Warriors: One Stat - One Play

The stout defense of Andrew Bogut and the Golden State Warriors is analyzed by John Schuhmann of NBA.com

More shot-clock shooting notes

  • The Dallas Mavericks have suffered the biggest drop-off (20.6 percent) in effective field goal percentage after the first six seconds in the shot clock, mostly because they're really good on the break. They have an eFG% of 71.2 percent (highest in the league) in the first six seconds and 50.7 percent over the rest of the shot clock.
  • The Indiana Pacers have suffered the smallest drop-off (1.0 percent), mostly because they're really bad on the break. They have an eFG% of just 48.1 percent (lowest in the league) in the first six seconds and 47.2 percent over the rest of the shot clock.
  • Two teams have an effective field goal percentage of better than 50 percent in the last six seconds of the shot clock, the Spurs (53.2 percent) and Clippers (52.1 percent). The Clips are the only team that has an eFG% of better than 50 percent in each of the four six-second spans of the clock.
  • Among players who have attempted at least 25 shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock, Tony Parker has the best effective field goal percentage (78.6 percent), having shot 22-for-28 (0-for-1 from 3-point range).
  • That's nothing, though. Parker has shot 22-for-35 (including 10-for-11 from 3-point range) in the last six seconds of the clock. That's an effective field goal percentage of 80.0 percent.
  • Fellow Frenchman Nicolas Batum is the anti-Parker, having shot 0-for-16 (0-for-10 on 3s) in the final six seconds of the clock.
  • Three players have an eFG% of less than 50 percent on at least 25 shots in the first six seconds of the clock. They are Brandon Jennings (10-for-31, 36 percent), Paul Pierce (10-for-25, 48 percent) and Rajon Rondo (17-for-35, 49 percent).

Trivia answer

The Hawks' Dennis Schroder has taken only two (2.3 percent) of his 87 initial-possession shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock. He missed both of them, but has shot 9-for-13 in the last six seconds of the shot clock.

The next two guards on the list are Hornets, of course. Gerald Henderson has taken just four (4.0 percent) of his 101 shots coming in the first six seconds and Brian Roberts has taken just seven (6.3 percent) of his 111. Then comes Vince Carter (6/94, 6.4 percent), Austin Rivers (6/83, 7.2 percent) and Manu Ginobili (10/127, 7.9 percent).

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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