NBA Player Stats: Top 5 Players – Shooting Efficiency


This season added a new component to their stats page called Player Tracking which looks at NBA Player Stats not previously available, at least publicly.

Player tracking uses 6 cameras to track each player and the video collected provides details on things like ball and player movement, shows their efficiency and areas of the game previously unmeasured such as number of passes or rebound opportunities.

In Part 1 of this series I outlined Distance and Speed, Part 2 covered Touches and Possessions, Part 3 focused on Passing, Part 4 covered Defensive Impact, Part 5 focused on Rebounding while Part 6 covered Drives. Parts 7 and 8 detailed Catch and Shoot and Pull Up Shooting and in this final installment I look at Shooting Efficiency statistics.

Part 9: Shooting Efficiency

Definition of this category as per Shooting Efficiency: Measures shooting percentages from different types of shots – Drives, Close Shots, Catch and Shoots and Pull Up Shots.

As per Players are ranked based on:
Player Points Per Game: Number of points player scores
Player Points Per Game On Drives: Number of points team scores as a result of player drives to basket per game (points in this category come from assists or free throws resulting from player drives)
Drives Field Goal Percentage: Percentage of field goals made on shots taken driving to basket
Close Shot Points Per Game: Number of points scored by player on shots taken within any touch within 12′ of basket (not including drives)
Close Shots Points Field Goal Percentage: Percentage of field goals made on close shots
Catch and Shoot Points Per Game: Points scored per game on catch and shoot
Catch and Shoot Field Goal Percentage: Percentage of field goals made on catch and shoot opportunities
Pull Up Shots Points Per Game: Points scored per game via pull up opportunities
Pull Up Shots Field Goal Percentage: Percentage of field goals made on pull up shots
Effective Field Goal Percentage: Adjusted field goal percentage with 3 point makes being worth 1.5 times that of a 2 point make.

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In looking at shooting percentages the board changes dramatically depending on which category we examine, so for this final segment of the player stats I’ve broken down the chart to reflect each category.

Notably the players who score the most points also occupied the top 5 in many sub sections which means Russell Westbrook (28.1 ), James Harden (27.4), Kevin Durant (25.4), LeBron James (25.2) and Anthony Davis (24.4) will appear on these lists.


The big surprise in this category is Tony Wroten leads all players with the most points per game produced via drives to the basket, however his numbers don’t reflect an entire season of work. On a whole James Harden and LeBron James are the sub category winners based on their drive points combined with their efficiency.

[table id=197 /]

Close Shots

I wonder how many people expected Dwight Howard to score the most points per game on close-up shots or that DeAndre Jordan wouldn’t be in the top 5. For this category I looked at the top 20 players in terms of points scored per game off close-up shots when I considered their efficiency stats.

This was done simply because there are players who register 100% but either don’t play comparable minutes or take enough shots.  In the second category of efficiency I noted in brackets the number of points the players scored who weren’t in the top 5 for points scored per game on close up shots.

The only player who ranks in the top 5 for both points scored per game and efficiency is Howard (how many people saw that stat coming!)

[table id=198 /]

Catch and Shoot

While no Rockets make the top 5 in either points per game or efficiency both Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverley find themselves in the top 25.  Ariza ranks 16th scoring 6.2 ppg on pull up shots at 36.3% and Beverley ranks 22nd scoring 5.6 ppg at 37.1%. Notably we find Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry creating 13.5 points per game with this type of shot and both shoot over 44.9%  with this shot selection.

Obviously it’s what makes these two guards difficult to defend. Likewise the Thunder have two players in Serge Ibaka and Anthony Morrow who account for 13 points a game from pull up shots while Ariza and Beverley amass close to 12 points per game with this shot selection.

[table id=199 /]

Pull Up Shots

Examining the different shot selections offered a very interesting distinction of the sub categories. For example while the Splash Brothers excel at catch and shoot plays Thompson doesn’t register in the top 10 of this category. Perhaps this highlights where Curry showcases his best game statistics as he registers in the top 20 for both categories.

The main difference in the two categories is Catch and Shoot requires someone else to make an assist for the player to score whereas this category showcases the players ability to create their own shot. Another interesting fact is the top point scorers in this category tend to be guards and predominantly point guards.

The only front court players who broke into the top 10 are Kevin Durant (tied for 5th) and LeBron James (10th).  Again James Harden finds himself firmly entrenched in the top 10 placing 6th in this sub category.

[table id=200 /]

Effective Field Goal Percent

Though I could go over the Effective Field Goal Percent the reality is players who occupy the paint predominantly will be the ones who register higher on field goal percent, even when it’s effective field goal percent simply because their baskets are easier to make.

There are exceptions and not surprisingly James Harden (51.3%), LeBron James (53.4%), Stephen Curry (59.6%) and Kevin Durant (57.8%) all register above 50% while snipers like Kyle Korver (67.1%) also hit high marks.

Our own Houston Rockets have several players who register above 50%:

That wraps up the player stat series and provides some insight into how certain players operate on the court. Moreover when we see a player perform at the top of more than one category it explains why they become a more difficult player to guard.

Next up click the link below for an overview of what we learned about the Houston Rockets in this nine part series and other hints about the top players and teams in the Association.

Remember to stay connected with Space City Scoop and make us a daily stop on your reading list for all things Houston Rockets.

Next: What We Learned About Rockets From Dissecting Player Stats

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