The Nets at Mid-Range: An NBA.com/Stats Review
With the 2012-13 season complete, there's now a year's worth of stats to run through the NBA.com/Stats database. This look at mid-range offense and defense is the second in a three-part series taking a look at the Nets' overall play via shot location data. Part I: Nets on the Interior, focused on the team's inside game.
Overall, the Nets ranked No. 14 in mid-range shooting, connecting on .396 of their attempts. That mark was just 0.5 percent off the league average of .398. Brooklyn did its best shooting from the far right-side baseline, where the players collectively posted a .440 mark that was 3.4 percent better than the league average. Their worst was the left wing (.367; 62-169 FGs), where they were 3.9 percent below the league mark. The offense catered to the Nets' collective strengths, with 51 percent of their total mid-range attempts coming on the right side, where the team was above the league average on the block (+1.1%) and baseline (see above).
Shooting guard Joe Johnson was one of the team's strongest mid-range shooters this season, and his shot chart reflects a strong knowledge of not only "his spots," but also an ability to get to them. The 12-year veteran shot at or above the league average from every mid-range zone save for the left wing (.351; -5.5%), where he attempted only 11.7 percent of his shots. Johnson's strongest zone was the right wing (.467; +6.7%), which comes as no surprise to anyone who's witnessed any of these (0:48, 1:05, 1:23) game-winning shots. He took his second-most attempts from there, and teams were often unable to prevent him from scoring there in big moments, despite that likely being spelled out in bold on scouting reports.
The Nets were the NBA's best-scoring first-quarter offense (112.6 points per 100 possesions), and center Brook Lopez's shooting touch greatly impacted the effort. Lopez scored 7.1 of his team-leading 19.4 points per game in the opening period, firing 11 percent of his attempts (and making .447 of them) from a spot at which he proved 6.2 percent better than the league average. In the fourth quarter, point guard Deron Williams surgically picked his spots, setting up defenders for pullup jumpers with his array of crossovers and stepbacks.
Defensively, the Nets ranked No. 13 in the league, allowing opponents to shoot .392 from mid-range, 0.9 percent below the NBA average. They best defended opponents at the top of the key, containing them to .368 shooting – 3.7 percent worse than average – in their third-most frequented zone. The Nets also did a nice job concentrating mid-range attempts to long jumpers, with 48 percent of opponents' shots coming from three zones: the top of the key and each wing. Brooklyn struggled most guarding the left block, where opponents were 2.1 percent better than average (.412) on 12.7 percent of their total mid-range attempts.
Just for fun, a reminder that Mirza didn't earn his reputation as a shooter for no reason. That .581 mark – albeit on 31 attempts – is 18 percent better than league average.
View Part I: Nets on the Interior, and stay tuned for Part III: Nets Shoot Outside, coming May 29.