Sunday, November 30, 2014

Scoring efficiency (PTS/ FGA)

There are many measures of shooting efficiency however one that tends to get over-looked is the most simple--points (PTS) per field goal attempt (FGA). The measure is intuitive and gives some context on players that are effective three points scorers or score from the free throw line. (A limitation of this measure of efficiency is that it disproportionately benefits players that are frequent and efficient free throw shooters because a foul on a non-scoring shot can result in two or three points and zero FGA.)

I pulled data from basketball-reference for all games as of November 26, 2014 and calculated PTS/ FGA. Below is a chart that captures the 367 players with at least 10 FGA this season. Clearly, there is significant variance between the five best players, who average almost two points per FGA, and the five worst players, led by Kyle Anderson, who averages a quarter of a point per FGA. But outside of Brandan Wright, all of the names listed below have relatively few FGA.

So next I filtered the population down to the 24 players with 200 FGAs or more. This second chart shows that among these high frequency shooters, James Harden and Anthony Davis are the most efficient scorers and that Kobe, Serge Ibaka and Kemba Walker are among the least efficient. (The fact that James Harden is ranked the most efficient reflects the deficiency in this measure--he leads the league in FTA and is an exceptionally efficient free throw shooter at ~90%. However Kobe is second in FTAs but his ~79% FT shooting can't compensate for his pedestrian non-FT shooting.)  

To give some context to this chart the league average for PTS/ FGA is 1.22 (median is 1.20) so every player from John Wall down is below the league average in terms of efficiency. While below league-average PTS/ FGA efficiency may be a concern for big men, like Aldridge, Griffin and Jefferson, point guards, like Wall and Walker, can point to the fact that they also benefit overall team scoring efficiency through assists.

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