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CLW
02-23-2012, 09:09 PM
Some interesting blog entries on Kenpom over the past few days basically make the argument that 3 point shooting is essentially the lottery.

http://kenpom.com/blog/

Some games you are hot (win the lottery) some games you are not (live by the bomb die by the bomb). Over the course of the season it all averages out.

IMHO this in part explains Andre Dawkins. The kid can shoot but his game is largely catch and shoot from behind the arc. Games like tonight he won the Powerball but then others he will go 0 for and over the course of the season he will end up around 40%.

An interesting argument can be made that a 2010 style defense (sag/contain) so that you can stop easy buckets better is a smarter overall strategy and just pray you don't "lose the lottery" in a one and done format come tourny time.

It seems that against some of our better competition we have relied heavily on our outside shooting and in essence played "the lottery". Sometimes we win (UNC) sometimes we lose (Miami/Ohio St.). Does anyone else feel like our chances in March will largely be determined by whether we get "hot" and "win the lottery"?

throatybeard
02-23-2012, 09:25 PM
Some interesting blog entries on Kenpom over the past few days basically make the argument that 3 point shooting is essentially the lottery.

http://kenpom.com/blog/

Some games you are hot (win the lottery) some games you are not (live by the bomb die by the bomb). Over the course of the season it all averages out.

IMHO this in part explains Andre Dawkins. The kid can shoot but his game is largely catch and shoot from behind the arc. Games like tonight he won the Powerball but then others he will go 0 for and over the course of the season he will end up around 40%.

An interesting argument can be made that a 2010 style defense (sag/contain) so that you can stop easy buckets better is a smarter overall strategy and just pray you don't "lose the lottery" in a one and done format come tourny time.

It seems that against some of our better competition we have relied heavily on our outside shooting and in essence played "the lottery". Sometimes we win (UNC) sometimes we lose (Miami/Ohio St.). Does anyone else feel like our chances in March will largely be determined by whether we get "hot" and "win the lottery"

This seems fairly silly because it ignores two things.

1) Twos are also the lottery. There's this idea that threes are somehow a wildly bigger gamble than shooting twos, which most college teams don't exceed much more than 50% on. It's not like you have a 90% chance of making a two versus high 30s% on a good three-point shooting team.

2) It ignores that the bonus point means that you only need to hit 33.3% on threes to equal the equivalent 50% shooting percentage on twos. So shooting 38 or 39% from three is actually better than shooting 50% from two. Less "lotteryish," as it were.

I agree that our fortunes in March will depend on whether we make shots or not.

Just because people mimic the "live by the three, die by the three" meme as if it were a litany, it doesn't mean that open threes are some risky roll of the dice.

bob blue devil
02-23-2012, 09:30 PM
i was on board with ken's analysis until he started the lottery commentary. i thought he was going to say that in order to identify effective 3 point defense (and offense) you should look at 3 point attempts instead of 3 point conversions. teams apparently have similar thresholds for what constitutes an attractive 3 point shot and their abilities to make an attractive 3 point shot are also similar, but what sets a good defense apart (and a good offense) is the ability to deny (and create) those attractive shots.

under this interpretation, duke isn't playing the lottery; rather it is very good at creating attractive 3 point shots.

given how sharp ken is and how good he is at conveying his message, i am concerned i'm missing something, however.

loran16
02-23-2012, 09:39 PM
Some interesting blog entries on Kenpom over the past few days basically make the argument that 3 point shooting is essentially the lottery.

http://kenpom.com/blog/

Some games you are hot (win the lottery) some games you are not (live by the bomb die by the bomb). Over the course of the season it all averages out.

IMHO this in part explains Andre Dawkins. The kid can shoot but his game is largely catch and shoot from behind the arc. Games like tonight he won the Powerball but then others he will go 0 for and over the course of the season he will end up around 40%.

An interesting argument can be made that a 2010 style defense (sag/contain) so that you can stop easy buckets better is a smarter overall strategy and just pray you don't "lose the lottery" in a one and done format come tourny time.

It seems that against some of our better competition we have relied heavily on our outside shooting and in essence played "the lottery". Sometimes we win (UNC) sometimes we lose (Miami/Ohio St.). Does anyone else feel like our chances in March will largely be determined by whether we get "hot" and "win the lottery"?

I think you're misusing the data here. The data says there is no necessary consistency between 3 point shots from game to game on a macro level. In other words, if you shot 50% of your shots from 3, your shooting percentage per game would vary a good bit.

But you don't do that! In fact, you approach whether you take lots of 3s from a Micro Level - based on in-game situations. There will be some games where the team has serious inside issues - Today, @UNC, etc. In those games, the 3 point shots are more likely to be more effective shots EVEN if the chances that they'll be successful is somewhat variable. The key is to know when those games and situations are where a 3 is more worthwhile than a 2.

And that's what Duke has done! Duke isn't a super high 3 point shooting team - 70th in the country (so top 20% but not higher) at 3 point attempts. Duke averages roughly 21 3s per game, but in some games (the aforementioned ones) we go for 30. Of course the reason we go for 3s is because for this team, with our weakness inside at times, is not great inside.

UrinalCake
02-23-2012, 09:50 PM
I agree with throatybeard's first point. Relying on inside play isn't guaranteed either. Maybe your big guy gets into foul trouble, maybe the opponent defends him really well or prevents him from getting the ball, maybe he gets fatigued, or maybe he just doesn't have it in one particular game. I don't know why there's this perception that if you have an inside game then you can just go to it every time and it will never fail, but if you rely on outside shots then that's risky. If anything, the inside guys are dependent on the guards getting them the ball, whereas the three point shooters are more likely to control the ball to begin with.

Duke has a system that allows it to generate good looks from three, and they have great shooters, so they capitalize on this.

Also - shooting 50% from two is not exactly the same as shooting 33% from three. Let's say you have six possessions. In scenario A you take six two-point shots and hit three of them. In scenario B you take six three-point shots and hit two of them. In both cases you've scored six points, but in scenario B you have an extra opportunity for an offensive rebound (four misses instead of three).

SCMatt33
02-23-2012, 10:20 PM
I totally agree that shooting a high percentage of shots from 3 leaves you more vulnerable to high variance in your offensive output than a team that shoots two's. I disagree with the statement that shooting 33% from 3 is the same as shooting 50% from 2. There are so many other factors that go beyond shooting percentage to change this. While it's true that you'd get an extra rebounding opportunity from 3, it's generally harder to rebound them. You do get some long ones from 3, but you never get the gimme rebound where someone misses a layup and can just put his own shot back. More importantly, you're free throw rate will be much much better shooting twos. It's tough to get fouled shooting 3's, and it's shown in Dukes games. Against a lot of big teams this year, Duke has had trouble drawing fouls during the normal course of play. You have to be aggressive to get a lot of fouls and 3's are as passive a move as there is.

Someone mentioned that Duke is only 70th in the country in 3PA/FGA, at 37.5% of our shots from 3. That number jumps all the way up to 40.5% if you only look at conference play, which suggests that the season number is artifically low from some easy games in the non-conference. The other thing that I can only talk about from what I've seen and can remember is that Duke's percentage of shots from 3 goes way way up against bigger teams. Duke's big men do a really great job when they have a definite size advantage, but against teams that can match their size, they really struggle and the team rely's on jump shooting much more.

All of this being said, does Duke really have a choice in the matter? They only have one guy who can consistently get into the lane, and teams can collapse the lane on him more than others, because he won't pass it back out against double and triple coverage as often as others would. Even including Rivers, Duke has small guards so when they do drive into the lane, they often can't get all the way to the rim without getting blocked so they have to pull up and take a lot of low percentage floaters. That was a shot that Nolan really had down, but no one on this team makes it enough to force defenders to respect it compared to a layup. You have some big guys who can score from the block, but their primary move is a passive hook shot. It's much lower percentage than a power move, you won't get fouled as often (which isn't all bad considering their FT%), and it's almost impossible to grab you're own miss with it. Duke's free throw rate is pretty high, but a lot of that has to do with Duke leading by 2-3 possessions at the end of so many games which causes teams to start fouling intentionally before the shot clock is even turned off. This is another stat that is artificially high on the year from easy non-conference games. Duke's full year FT rate is 45.5%, but only 37.9% in conference play.

For Duke, it's all about matchups. If they draw some teams without 6-10 to 7-0 guys in the middle, they can try and play a more traditional game. If they draw big teams, they will have to shoot 3's. I just don't see Duke beating good teams with size without taking and making a good percentage of 3 pointers.

uh_no
02-23-2012, 11:05 PM
I totally agree that shooting a high percentage of shots from 3 leaves you more vulnerable to high variance in your offensive output than a team that shoots two's.

This is what the article is saying, essentially. Yes, one can argue about the merits of such a system, but it does not dispute the fact that three point shooting percentage will have a higher standard deviation game to game than will two point shooting.

Does this mean we should change our strategy? Probably not. Does it leave us more susceptible to a game with abnormally high or low output? perhaps.

I think the quality of the threes is key, as some have said. Watching today, we had so many wide open shots off of kick outs...very similar to 2 years ago....and you're going to knock those down more consistently than hand in your face..on the run...fadeaway...whatever...3 point shots. It seems last year there were FAR more of the latter than the former....anyway...just my opinion

But i think the higher the quality of looks on your threes, the lower the variance probably is....shrug

mapei
02-23-2012, 11:43 PM
I think 3-point shooting is a real strength for Duke and that we shouldn't back off. We're not nearly as effective going inside. And we certainly don't seem to have those "gimmee putbacks" from missed inside shots very often! If only we did . . .

I've just come to think of K as a guard- and perimeter-oriented coach. That's how he recruits and that's how we play, on both O and D. Shooting 3s and driving are basic parts of it. There are certainly other effective ways to coach and play, but they aren't what we seem to do well.

loldevilz
02-24-2012, 12:58 AM
I think 3-point shooting is a real strength for Duke and that we shouldn't back off. We're not nearly as effective going inside. And we certainly don't seem to have those "gimmee putbacks" from missed inside shots very often! If only we did . . .

I've just come to think of K as a guard- and perimeter-oriented coach. That's how he recruits and that's how we play, on both O and D. Shooting 3s and driving are basic parts of it. There are certainly other effective ways to coach and play, but they aren't what we seem to do well.

I totally agree. Here are the reason why I think this team should shoot lots of threes
1) We get good three point looks. When we put 4 shooters (curry,dawkins, rivers, kelly) on the floor and drive and kick there is always someone wide open.
2) We have some GREAT three point shooter that thrive under pressure. Dawkins and Curry seem to step up in big games.
3) Miles is a great offensive rebounder that improves the efficiency of our offense.
4) Shooting threes helps open us the floor for Rivers who is our best offensive weapon.
5) All our best wins have come when we've shot a ton of threes.

Edouble
02-24-2012, 01:11 AM
This seems fairly silly because it ignores two things.

1) Twos are also the lottery. There's this idea that threes are somehow a wildly bigger gamble than shooting twos, which most college teams don't exceed much more than 50% on. It's not like you have a 90% chance of making a two versus high 30s% on a good three-point shooting team.

2) It ignores that the bonus point means that you only need to hit 33.3% on threes to equal the equivalent 50% shooting percentage on twos. So shooting 38 or 39% from three is actually better than shooting 50% from two. Less "lotteryish," as it were.

I agree that our fortunes in March will depend on whether we make shots or not.

Just because people mimic the "live by the three, die by the three" meme as if it were a litany, it doesn't mean that open threes are some risky roll of the dice.

C'mon... 50%? A great 3 point shooter will shoot 40%, but a great big man can shoot 70%. The 70% does not include all of the times that he gets fouled and goes to the line. If your big guy can make foul shots and get his own rebound from time to time, his ability to generate 2 points when he gets the ball in the post and makes a move could be at like 80%!!! You don't (tonight was an anomaly) really get fouled on a 3-pt shot too often.

I didn't read the article, but we all know that if you are a 3 point shooting team and you go cold, you're dead in the water. Big guys that score with dunks and 2-4 foot shots don't really "go cold" like shooters do. That's the "risk". But a team that relies on a couple of bigs can't get back into a game as quickly as a good 3 point shooting team can. That's the advantage.

throatybeard
02-24-2012, 01:13 AM
I don't know why there's this perception that if you have an inside game then you can just go to it every time and it will never fail, but if you rely on outside shots then that's risky. If anything, the inside guys are dependent on the guards getting them the ball, whereas the three point shooters are more likely to control the ball to begin with.

Exactly. People can run their mouths about "post presence" as much as they want to, but the guards have to feed those dudes, and the big guys miss a good percentage of the time, and further, there's risk involved in the pass that feeds the big guy. And the greatest college big guys in history were generally in the high 50s %age wise...which is only as good as 40% from three when you factor in the bonus point.

The three changed the heck outta the game in 1987. Live with it.

throatybeard
02-24-2012, 01:25 AM
A great big man can shoot 70%. The 70% does not include all of the times that he gets fouled and goes to the line. If your big guy can make foul shots and get his own rebound from time to time, his ability to generate 2 points when he gets the ball in the post and makes a move could be at like 80%!!! You don't (tonight was an anomaly) really get fouled on a 3-pt shot too often.

This is absurd. Here are some career 2pt FG percentages in college, from AMAZING big men, not your standard big guy you're likely to have in a good recruiting year at a top-50 DI school. These guys are way better than even a fairly good Plumlee.

Boozer--and this is ridic--63%
Elton Brand 61.2%
Shaq 61.0%
Hansbrough 53.5%

The guys at the top are insane outliers compared to the average NCAAT big man. And they could still be equaled by a guy shooting a tad over 40% from distance. (Given the bonus point). And they're among the best ever from 2 in the 3pt era. You could look up some other guys, but you're not going to find anyone with a career college FG% of 80 or anywhere close to it. Also, recall that when you get fouled, the miss doesn't count (so it's doesn't bring down the FG%), and big guys generally don't have as high FT% as guards.

In 1997 on SportsCenter, Rich Eisen called Duke "the mustang ranch of trey whores." Well guess what. Guys like Krzyzewski and Pitino know the score, they know what they're doing, and they've internalized what's going on with probability. When you have a number of guys on your team, guards/forwards, who can hit in the very high 30s from three, that's better than having run-of-the-mill big guys tossing from 8 feet. Dunks don't happen all that often as a percentage of possessions. Most big guys you can actually recruit aren't Carlos Boozer. And if you have a guard who can hit about 40% from three, that's statistically better than the overwhelming majority of all the big guys ever from two, given the bonus point.

The three is not an insane lottery compared to the two. This idea is based on misconceptions.

Edouble
02-24-2012, 02:08 AM
This is absurd. Here are some career 2pt FG percentages in college, from AMAZING big men, not your standard big guy you're likely to have in a good recruiting year at a top-50 DI school. These guys are way better than even a fairly good Plumlee.

Boozer--and this is ridic--63%
Elton Brand 61.2%
Shaq 61.0%
Hansbrough 53.5%

The guys at the top are insane outliers compared to the average NCAAT big man. And they could still be equaled by a guy shooting a tad over 40% from distance. (Given the bonus point). And they're among the best ever from 2 in the 3pt era. You could look up some other guys, but you're not going to find anyone with a career college FG% of 80 or anywhere close to it. Also, recall that when you get fouled, the miss doesn't count (so it's doesn't bring down the FG%), and big guys generally don't have as high FT% as guards.

In 1997 on SportsCenter, Rich Eisen called Duke "the mustang ranch of trey whores." Well guess what. Guys like Krzyzewski and Pitino know the score, they know what they're doing, and they've internalized what's going on with probability. When you have a number of guys on your team, guards/forwards, who can hit in the very high 30s from three, that's better than having run-of-the-mill big guys tossing from 8 feet. Dunks don't happen all that often as a percentage of possessions. Most big guys you can actually recruit aren't Carlos Boozer. And if you have a guard who can hit about 40% from three, that's statistically better than the overwhelming majority of all the big guys ever from two, given the bonus point.

The three is not an insane lottery compared to the two. This idea is based on misconceptions.

"Amazing" sure, whatever you want to call it, that's what I said... "great" big men, not standard. If Boozer shot 63% for a career, he had plenty of games where he shot 70% from the field! Haywood had games where he went 70%.

I don't know why you repeated my original point, but I'll say it a 3rd time... if you get fouled on a shot, that doesn't go towards your FG percentage. Bigs get fouled a lot more than 3 point shooters do... probably like 10 times more often. It doesn't matter if their FT % is lower than guards. A guard shooting 3s isn't going to the line in the first place! Look at Hans %age that you listed. No way he's the ACC leading scorer with just that shooting %age--he LIVED at the line, which isn't accounted for in that figure.

So a big guy has an ability to generate points in a way that is less risky than bombing 3s. If you get cold from 3 you are in trouble. It's a lot harder to "get cold" shooting dunks and 2-4 ft shots.

Dunks don't happen all that often? You're really losing me there. The Plums dunk every game, and they are not even elite, as you mentioned.

I've heard the math just like everyone else who watches basketball. But the raw shooting %ages of 3-pt vs. 2-pt shots does not take into account factors like GETTING FOULED and GETTING YOUR OWN REBOUND. A big guy's overall offensive productivity is based on these factors, whereas a 3 pt shooters offensive productivity is just based on his shooting %age.

moonpie23
02-24-2012, 06:37 AM
shooting 3's seems to irritate the tarholes, so i'm onboard... :)

Bob Green
02-24-2012, 06:41 AM
This is absurd. Here are some career 2pt FG percentages in college, from AMAZING big men, not your standard big guy you're likely to have in a good recruiting year at a top-50 DI school. These guys are way better than even a fairly good Plumlee.

Throatybeard makes a valid point. I'll use the two big guys I consider the Gold Standard as the example.

Bill Walton: 65.1%
Lew Alcindor: 63.9%

Walton scored 1767 points in his career at UCLA with 273 coming on Free Throws (15.4%), while Alcindor scored 2325 points with 439 (18.8%) coming via the Free Throw. This season, Dawkins, a 42.2% 3PT shooter has scored 277 points including 34 on Free Throws (12.2%).

So the percentage of points scored via free throws doesn't appear that large to me so it appears Duke is better off attempting 3 PT FGs and securing the bonus point from the field, especially considering Miles and Mason are not Lew and Bill.

(And yes, I realize I'm comparing career numbers to numbers from a partial season but that's okay because we ain't doing rocket science here we are discussing basketball.)

nobodybutDUKE
02-24-2012, 06:59 AM
Both arguments found here, have a lot of merit. I'm really looking forward to the day when we have both
again.

FellowTraveler
02-24-2012, 07:25 AM
Someone mentioned that Duke is only 70th in the country in 3PA/FGA, at 37.5% of our shots from 3. That number jumps all the way up to 40.5% if you only look at conference play, which suggests that the season number is artifically low from some easy games in the non-conference. [...] Duke's free throw rate is pretty high, but a lot of that has to do with Duke leading by 2-3 possessions at the end of so many games which causes teams to start fouling intentionally before the shot clock is even turned off. This is another stat that is artificially high on the year from easy non-conference games. Duke's full year FT rate is 45.5%, but only 37.9% in conference play.

Every team plays non-conference games. We can't just adjust numbers for Duke and compare them to unadjusted numbers for other teams. In order to say that these numbers are artificially high or low because of easy non-conference games, we'd have to know that Duke plays an unusually easy non-conference schedule. And, in fact, Duke plays an unusually difficult non-conference schedule -- the 13th-toughest non-conference schedule in the country (http://kenpom.com/index.php?s=RankNCSOSPythag) according to KenPom's ratings. The difficulty of Duke's non-conference schedule is particularly unusual among top teams -- only 3 top 25 teams are among the 50 toughest non-con schedules, and 7 among the 100 toughest. So I see little reason to think Duke's national rankings in any particular category are inflated by easy non-conference games.

OldPhiKap
02-24-2012, 07:38 AM
I think we take what the other team gives us. If they pack it in the paint and play under the screens, we shoot more threes. If they play man and we can spread them out, we go in to Mason more.

It seems that this argument comes up every year. It's how we play, and the record suggests it worke pretty well. It's not like Mason only takes four shots a game. He has taken more shots than Dre (by a few). And Ryan's got range like Ferry, Laettner, etc. -- if they keep letting him pop out (or don't guard him well on the high pick) he should take the three.

killerleft
02-24-2012, 08:02 AM
C'mon... 50%? A great 3 point shooter will shoot 40%, but a great big man can shoot 70%. The 70% does not include all of the times that he gets fouled and goes to the line. If your big guy can make foul shots and get his own rebound from time to time, his ability to generate 2 points when he gets the ball in the post and makes a move could be at like 80%!!! You don't (tonight was an anomaly) really get fouled on a 3-pt shot too often.

I didn't read the article, but we all know that if you are a 3 point shooting team and you go cold, you're dead in the water. Big guys that score with dunks and 2-4 foot shots don't really "go cold" like shooters do. That's the "risk". But a team that relies on a couple of bigs can't get back into a game as quickly as a good 3 point shooting team can. That's the advantage.

I think you're trying to prove your point with some highly faulty arithmetic. Don't know how you define "great", but in any world where the big men shoot 70%, the three-point shooter oughta at least be shooting 55%!!;)

SCMatt33
02-24-2012, 08:15 AM
Every team plays non-conference games. We can't just adjust numbers for Duke and compare them to unadjusted numbers for other teams. In order to say that these numbers are artificially high or low because of easy non-conference games, we'd have to know that Duke plays an unusually easy non-conference schedule. And, in fact, Duke plays an unusually difficult non-conference schedule -- the 13th-toughest non-conference schedule in the country (http://kenpom.com/index.php?s=RankNCSOSPythag) according to KenPom's ratings. The difficulty of Duke's non-conference schedule is particularly unusual among top teams -- only 3 top 25 teams are among the 50 toughest non-con schedules, and 7 among the 100 toughest. So I see little reason to think Duke's national rankings in any particular category are inflated by easy non-conference games.

It actually doesn't have much to do with the quality of the non conference schedule, but the size of those teams. Many of those quality mid majors and even some of the high majors (Michigan) don't have much size, and the bigs they do have aren't intimidating defensive presences to keep duke out of the lane. The difference between Duke' s conference and non conference 3PA/FGA is 3.4% (38.0 to 41.4) after the FSU game. I looked at the 7 or so teams from high major conferences who both had at least a shot at he tourney and were at or above Duke's level of taking threes. I found none with a differential between non conference and conference play of more than 1.9%, meaning that Duke's differential is a striking 79% higher than it's closest peer. He big difference between Duke and those teams is that most of them have either little size, little depth or both on the interior. Duke adjusts its style of play big time depending on the size of its opponent. The high variance of 3's is a scary proposition come tourney time and the best way for Duke to avoid it would be to draw smaller teams like Mizzou or Marquette in regional games. If Duke ever plays a team like Kentucky of Syracuse, you can bet that close to if not more than half of Duke's shots will come from 3.

Steven43
02-24-2012, 08:18 AM
This seems fairly silly because it ignores two things.

1) Twos are also the lottery. There's this idea that threes are somehow a wildly bigger gamble than shooting twos, which most college teams don't exceed much more than 50% on. It's not like you have a 90% chance of making a two versus high 30s% on a good three-point shooting team.

2) It ignores that the bonus point means that you only need to hit 33.3% on threes to equal the equivalent 50% shooting percentage on twos. So shooting 38 or 39% from three is actually better than shooting 50% from two. Less "lotteryish," as it were.

I agree that our fortunes in March will depend on whether we make shots or not.

Just because people mimic the "live by the three, die by the three" meme as if it were a litany, it doesn't mean that open threes are some risky roll of the dice.

Thought-provoking take on the subject, Throatybeard. I hadn't really thought of your line of reasoning; probably because I have allowed myself to be influenced by constantly hearing the comment 'live by the three, die by the three'. However, I think what is perhaps a better way to play than hoping you can shoot 38 or 39% from three is to have a strong inside game, which should allow a team to shoot above 50% on two-point shots. I'd rather have a team approach that emphasizes scoring on the inside while mainly using the three-pointer as an added bonus. This is the way Carolina would like to play, but the fact that Pigeon would rather shoot jumpers than try to score on the inside hurts them, I think.

FellowTraveler
02-24-2012, 08:25 AM
The high variance of 3's is a scary proposition come tourney time and the best way for Duke to avoid it would be to draw smaller teams like Mizzou or Marquette in regional games. If Duke ever plays a team like Kentucky of Syracuse, you can bet that close to if not more than half of Duke's shots will come from 3.

I basically agree with this.

gus
02-24-2012, 09:02 AM
"Amazing" sure, whatever you want to call it, that's what I said... "great" big men, not standard. If Boozer shot 63% for a career, he had plenty of games where he shot 70% from the field!

He also had plenty of games where he shot below 50% (even games below 40%). Don't confuse outliers with averages. When discussing what is an effective strategy for maximizing the liklihood of winning, it's the latter that's important.


Bigs get fouled a lot more than 3 point shooters do... probably like 10 times more often. It doesn't matter if their FT % is lower than guards. A guard shooting 3s isn't going to the line in the first place!

Now you're making up numbers. Not a good way to support a statistical argument.


Look at Hans %age that you listed. No way he's the ACC leading scorer with just that shooting %age--he LIVED at the line, which isn't accounted for in that figure.

Why is the hack-a-shaq strategy effective? When a big man is fouled, it's generally stopping an otherwise high percentage shot, replacing it with a lower percentage (often) shot. It's not always effective: in Carlos's case, he was ~75% free throw shooter. Fouling him was a mistake. The Plumlees are not 75% FT shooters.


If you get cold from 3 you are in trouble. It's a lot harder to "get cold" shooting dunks and 2-4 ft shots.

This is where you're completely missing the argument. It's already been conceded that 3 point shooting has a higher standard deviation (getting "cold" is an misunderstanding of the probabilistic event that is shooting).


Dunks don't happen all that often? You're really losing me there. The Plums dunk every game, and they are not even elite, as you mentioned.

How many dunks a game are there? what are the Plumlees' shooting percentage when dunking?


I've heard the math just like everyone else who watches basketball. But the raw shooting %ages of 3-pt vs. 2-pt shots does not take into account factors like GETTING FOULED and GETTING YOUR OWN REBOUND. A big guy's overall offensive productivity is based on these factors, whereas a 3 pt shooters offensive productivity is just based on his shooting %age.

The use of caps is totally unnecessary, and it doesn't make you correct.

Ryan Kelly missed a three pointer, and grabbed his own rebound in last minute of the Carolina game. That's not a statistical argument of course, but missed three pointers also lead to offensive rebounds. Three point shooters do occasionally get fouled, and usually convert those free throws at a higher rate than inside players. In other words, your statement that "a 3 pt shooters offensive productivity is just based on his shooting %age" is completely false.

I don't think anyone is arguing that an emphasis on three point shooting is always the best strategy. Certainly no one thinks that only three point shots should be taken. If this team had two Carlos Boozers on it, we'd see far fewer three pointers. But we don't. I like the Plumlees, but they ain't Boozers.

dyedwab
02-24-2012, 09:05 AM
'. However, I think what is perhaps a better way to play than hoping you can shoot 38 or 39% from three is to have a strong inside game, which should allow a team to shoot above 50% on two-point shots. I'd rather have a team approach that emphasizes scoring on the inside while mainly using the three-pointer as an added bonus.

Not pick on you, but this quote is illustrative of the problem with the debate about 3's v 2's. You talk about "hoping" you can shoot 38 or 39% from 3, but that a strong inside game "should allow" a team to shoot above 50% on 2's. What this suggests, as Throaty has pointed out in his critique of the initial argument, is that making 3's is random, and making 2's isn't.

But if you look, players who consistently have high shooting percentages of 2's tend to be the same, and players who consistently have higher shooting percentages of 3's tend to be the same. My point? Making shots is a skill whether its 2's or 3's - and it isn't a randomly distributed skill. Thus the choice isn't between easy shots and harder shots...its a choice between which skills your team has.

K has recruited really good 3 point shooters - that's a strategy. Not randomly having everyone shoot three and see what hits.

Sorry for the rant - this argument has always seemed to me to be a math and personnel issue. Basically, if you have enough guys who shoot 3's at 35% or better, then the math says that you should maximize their opportunities to do so.

UrinalCake
02-24-2012, 09:06 AM
If Boozer shot 63% for a career, he had plenty of games where he shot 70% from the field!

In that case, big men have statistical variation in how well they shoot too, just like outside shooters.

How many times have you seen a big guy "disappear" or "get shut down" for a game? Maybe their percentage is more consistent but their output can vary widely based on the defense and scoring pace for the game.

The other factor to consider is, how many great big men are there in college basketball? Maybe one per year coming out of high school would qualify as "great," and if he actually lives up to expectations then he'll be gone in a year. Conversely, there are probably 5-10 excellent three point shooters in each class. And Duke gets all of them :) So if you're going to build your program around a particular style of play, relying on three-point shooters is more "dependable."

Finally, if you look at past National Championship winners, they all have excellent talent obviously but you can't really make any generalizations as far as them all having a dominant big man, or all having a sharpshooter. I think having solid guard play is probably a safe rule of thumb, but in the end it's overall talent and team play that matter

Kedsy
02-24-2012, 09:21 AM
"Amazing" sure, whatever you want to call it, that's what I said... "great" big men, not standard. If Boozer shot 63% for a career, he had plenty of games where he shot 70% from the field! Haywood had games where he went 70%.

This is a faulty argument. Do great inside shooters have games where they shoot 70% from the field? Sure, so what? Last night Andre Dawkins shot 67% from 3 (same as 100% from a 2-point shooter; how often does that happen?). He got fouled twice on three pointers (and he only made 4 of the 6 free throws, which was still 18% of his total points). He has had 9 games this year where he's shot 50% or better from threeland (32% of his games played) -- which of course translates to a 75% or better two-point percentage.

In contrast, this year Jared Sullinger (generally considered to be the best, or at least one of the best, big men in the country) has shot 70% or better four times this season (15% of his games played; and note that only two of those games were 75% or better). In those four games, 10 of his 83 points came on free throws (12% of his total points). I don't know how many of his points came on rebounds of his own misses, but since he didn't miss so much, probably not so many.

Which brings up another faulty element of your argument -- while it's true that three point misses go long, so you don't just grab your own miss and lay it in, your team can certainly get the rebound and put up another shot. Duke does this all the time. Sometimes it's even a player rebounding his own miss and putting in an easy 12 foot jumper, like Ryan Kelly against UNC and again last night.

Throatybeard is right -- the two point shot isn't really any more of a lottery than the three-point shot. Pomeroy may also be right, that the three is subject to more variability, but Duke's three-point shooters seem fairly consistent over the long haul, so I'm not sure how relevant Pomeroy's observation is in our case.

snowdenscold
02-24-2012, 09:23 AM
Ryan Kelly missed a three pointer, and grabbed his own rebound in last minute of the Carolina game. That's not a statistical argument of course, but missed three pointers also lead to offensive rebounds.

As a side note - he did the exact same thing in the FSU game, only at the beginning: shot a 3, grabbed his own long rebound, then hit a mid-range jumper for 2 that swished through.

I was thinking, "Hmmm, new go-to move for Kelly?" =)

mkirsh
02-24-2012, 09:31 AM
A few different arguments on this thread:

1) Is it more efficient to shoot 3's at 40% or 2's at 60%? One side of the argument states that expected value is the same at 1.2 points per attempt, while the other side states that it excludes other factors such as foul shots, etc. In the last few years of the ACC we've seen probably the best 2 case studies around - Hansbrough scored 2872 points on 1752 shots (1.6 pps), compared to JJ who scored 2769 points on 1906 shots (1.45). While this includes the impact of higher FT rate for inside players, it is not perfect as it does not adjust for level of competition, quality of teammates, and travels/offensive fouls not called, and also does not factor in other benefits of shooting more 2's (higher player and team fouls for opponents, etc) or more 3's (stretches defense, momentum plays, etc). Although imperfect, it does seem that 2's are likely more efficient way to score. The dynamic holds for this team as well, as Mason and Miles are averaging 1.45 and 1.56 points per shot respectively, compared to Curry and Dawkins at 1.4 and 1.34 respectively. However for this Duke team, our bigs are turning it over at a higher rate than our guards, so if you adjust for turnovers by adding TO's to shot attempts, the guards drop to 1.1 and 1.2 and the bigs drop to 1.1 and 1.2 as well. Basically, Duke should take the best look it can get as interior and exterior offense seems to be a wash - ie doesn't matter if we shot 25% of shots from 3 or 50% of shots from 3, efficiency should be the same (assuming no diminishing returns in quality of shot at either extreme).

2) Is a team that shoots more 2's less prone to variation as teams that shoot 3's? I don't have the standard deviations for 3's vs 2's, but would feel safe guessing that 3's have higher variability. However, I think the point of this debate is really about March - is a team that relies on the 2 better suited for a single elimination tournament? I think the best case study here is Kansas, the ultimate "Live by the 2, die by the 2" team. Since Bill Self took over in 2005, Kansas has consistently been ranked in the top 30 for 2 point shooting percentage (average 53.3% from 2, average national ranking of 26, no years below 50%) and one of the least frequent 3 point shooting teams (just under 30% of shots from 3, average national ranking of 241) - basically, the anti-Duke offensively. Over this period, Kansas did win a title in 2008, but has not been a model of consistency, and has seen some prolific upsets. Again shooting more or less 3's is probably a wash, as March is a crap shoot for everyone and no one formula for success exists.

So back to the original point, 3's are the "lottery" in March, but so is everything else.

Wander
02-24-2012, 09:34 AM
2) It ignores that the bonus point means that you only need to hit 33.3% on threes to equal the equivalent 50% shooting percentage on twos. So shooting 38 or 39% from three is actually better than shooting 50% from two. Less "lotteryish," as it were.


Having a 33% chance to get 3 points is more lotteryish than a 50% chance to get 2 points. Maybe even a 38% chance to get 3 points is more lotteryish than a 50% chance to get 2 points, depending on what the statistics show. That's the point. Taken to an extreme example, you'd consider a 0.01% to win a million dollars more lotteryish than a 100% to win a hundred dollars, wouldn't you? Even though both cases give the same average return. Expected value isn't everything.

weezie
02-24-2012, 09:41 AM
Seems to be the flavor of the moment, examining the impact of 3s on the game. ESPN mag did a big spread and all the talking heads regularly expound upon the concept. Defense is also examined and dissected as some kind of 'new' idea whereas Duke completely changed the game when K's reign began.

Matches
02-24-2012, 09:49 AM
All teams rely on being able to make shots, be they 2 pointers, 3 pointers, layups, whatever.

Perimeter oriented teams MAY be more prone to "going cold" or may be more streaky than teams that rely more heavily on post play. I'm not sure history really bears that out but it makes sense from a common-sense POV.

With that said, good teams play to their strengths. Our strength offensively is on the perimeter. So long as we're not just chucking up threes without attempting to run offense or move the ball around, I don't care how many we take.

gus
02-24-2012, 10:13 AM
Having a 33% chance to get 3 points is more lotteryish than a 50% chance to get 2 points. Maybe even a 38% chance to get 3 points is more lotteryish than a 50% chance to get 2 points, depending on what the statistics show. That's the point. Taken to an extreme example, you'd consider a 0.01% to win a million dollars more lotteryish than a 100% to win a hundred dollars, wouldn't you? Even though both cases give the same average return. Expected value isn't everything.

If there is a strategy for making 100% of our field goals with the same expected point total and holding our opponents to a field goal of 0.01%, I think we'd all agree that's the right strategy.

Jderf
02-24-2012, 10:27 AM
What are the Plumlees' shooting percentage when dunking?

It's incredibly unfortunate that this is actually a meaningful question in this debate. Thunder dumbs...

Troublemaker
02-24-2012, 10:29 AM
I've mostly been on the "we shoot too many 3s" bandwagon ever since Duke started emphasizing the 3-pter more in the mid-90s. But with this particular team, I don't believe that to be true at all.

We have such amazing shooters and we need to use them to be at our peak. We are successfully utilizing those deadly weapons by getting them open looks off penetration and offensive boards/tapouts. Everything we do is sound. It's not like we just give the ball to Andre Dawkins and have him go 1-on-1 beyond the arc. We collapse the defense and create shots for our shooters. Fundamental basketball. (Only Austin has the green light to create 3s for himself, but that's with good reason. He's very good shooting off the dribble and is great at using jab steps and head/shoulder fakes to create space.)

As for Pomeroy's conclusions, I'm not concerned. Statistical conclusions can often falter when dealing with extremes. And this Duke team is an extreme data point; we are probably the best 3-pt shooting team in the country. There may be other teams that rank higher than Duke in 3-pt percentage nationally, but they wouldn't rank ahead of us if they had played our schedule. This isn't to say Duke couldn't have a bad shooting day. Of course we could. But I find it hard to believe that Duke would win more games by having this group of shooters shoot less. We're doing what we have to do with the roster we have.

Jderf
02-24-2012, 11:32 AM
It took about an hour (I should probably be working or something...), but to aid the discussion, I went ahead and actually calculated the standard deviation for Duke's 3-point shooting from game to game this season. I got .100581, or just about 10%. The numbers are below if anyone wants to double check. I'm going to follow that up soon with the standard deviation for 2-pt shots. I figure that having both will give us a much clearer picture.


Total: 236-602 (.3949)
Bel: 9-19 (.474)
Presb: 8-16 (.500)
MSU: 10-21 (.476)
Davi: 5-13 (.385)
Tenn: 7-18 (.389)
Mich: 11-21 (.524)
KU: 11-25 (.440)
OSU: 3-15 (.200)
CSU: 7-21 (.333)
Wash: 5-17 (.294)
UNCG: 10-21 (.476)
WMU: 14-27 (.519)
Penn: 9-20 (.450)
Temple: 6-14 (.429)
G-Tech: 6-22 (.273)
UVA: 5-20 (.250)
Clem: 8-23 (.348)
Wake: 3-16 (.188)
FSU: 10-23 (.435)
MD: 3-16 (.188)
SJU: 7-19 (.368)
V-Tech:8-18 (.444)
Miami: 9-31 (.290)
UNC: 14-36 (.389)
MD: 9-24 (.375)
NC-State:8-29 (.276)
BC: 10-22 (.455)
FSU: 13-28 (.464)

UrinalCake
02-24-2012, 11:51 AM
Regarding offensive rebounds, I think you have a better chance at rebounding a missed three than a missed two. When you put up a two, the defense is in a better position to get the rebound since they're closer to the basket, so they're more likely to rebound a miss. But when you miss a three, it's more like a 50/50 ball. And the shooter has some idea of how the shot is off, so he has a little bit of an advantage there. Part of why we rebounded so well offensively in 2010 is that we shot a lot of threes and then had good size at every position (well, except for Nolan).

Would love to see some statistical analysis on the rebound percentage of missed twos versus missed threes. Someone get on that right away!

No Cute Name
02-24-2012, 12:08 PM
Matches hit on this a little. I think this is kind of a bogus argument. It's about getting good shots, wherever they are. All 3-pt shots or all 2-pt shots are not created equal. If we run our offense and Dawkins is open in the corner, he should shoot it. What's the alternative? He passes up a good shot just because he happens to be behind the arc?

Saying "we shoot too many threes" isn't really valid. However, you could say some particular threes we took were not good shots because a) we didn't work the ball around, b) the shooter was not set, c) the right person is not shooting (you know who you are), etc.

iragsdale
02-24-2012, 12:10 PM
One thing I think this argument is missing is the effect of variability in a one and done tournament. In the regular season it may be frustrating to lose a game here or there because of a cold night shooting from three, but in a single tournament it's devastating - one bad night and you're gone. In addition, the competition is usually tougher in the tournament so your "floor" for acceptable three point shooting goes up.

So, I do believe it's possible that a strategy with a higher probability of success but a greater variance could be dangerous in the tournament, as you have a greater chance that an off night happens. However, if you extrapolate that across multiple tournaments, you might see an effect where you win more frequently than other teams, while getting eliminated early somewhat frequently as well. I think some might say we actually fit that pattern.

Anyway, it's an interesting argument. Personally I like our strategy.

gus
02-24-2012, 12:23 PM
One thing I think this argument is missing is the effect of variability in a one and done tournament. In the regular season it may be frustrating to lose a game here or there because of a cold night shooting from three, but in a single tournament it's devastating - one bad night and you're gone. In addition, the competition is usually tougher in the tournament so your "floor" for acceptable three point shooting goes up.

So, I do believe it's possible that a strategy with a higher probability of success but a greater variance could be dangerous in the tournament, as you have a greater chance that an off night happens. However, if you extrapolate that across multiple tournaments, you might see an effect where you win more frequently than other teams, while getting eliminated early somewhat frequently as well. I think some might say we actually fit that pattern.

Anyway, it's an interesting argument. Personally I like our strategy.

I think this is an interesting point, and one I've thought about a bit without any real resolution. I think of march madness pools: you can bet safe on every game, or you can go for some outlandish upsets. With the former, in the long run, it'll give you better results, but you're probably never going to win it, because some is going to have Butler/Duke. But is this truly analogous to the teams and the actual game? I don't know. I guess that's the thesis of the "it's a lottery argument," and I just don't think it applies to actual basketball games.

I think ultimately they way to view it is on an individual game basis: whatever strategy maximizes our winning odds in any individual game is the right one, and gives us the best chance of winning it outright. In that context, a Kansas style, low std deviation strategy probably produces fewer LSU/MSU kind of blow outs, but also ultimately have a lower chance of winning it all. But that's an opinion, and I have no idea if I'm actually right.

Matches
02-24-2012, 12:24 PM
One thing I think this argument is missing is the effect of variability in a one and done tournament. In the regular season it may be frustrating to lose a game here or there because of a cold night shooting from three, but in a single tournament it's devastating - one bad night and you're gone. In addition, the competition is usually tougher in the tournament so your "floor" for acceptable three point shooting goes up.



I think you've hit on it nicely. As fans we get nervous about strategies that we perceive as high-risk, high-reward, because we know the NCAAT is a small sample size. The consequences of a bad game are huge.

But there are lots of other crazy things that can happen in any one game, too. There's a significant random component to the NCAAT, and there's just no way to eliminate it.

So the question must be asked: which strategy gives us the best chance to win most of the time? Given our strength from distance, our lack of consistent post scoring, and the inability of anyone other than AR to drive and score with much consistency - it looks like an offense that prominently features 3P shooting is the way to go.

MChambers
02-24-2012, 12:30 PM
Seems to be the flavor of the moment, examining the impact of 3s on the game. ESPN mag did a big spread and all the talking heads regularly expound upon the concept. Defense is also examined and dissected as some kind of 'new' idea whereas Duke completely changed the game when K's reign began.
Dean Smith has always cited as the basketball coach who relied on statistical data to a far greater degree than any other coach. Coach K has rarely been credited with smart statistical analysis. Instead, people have talked about his leadership, team building, and defense.

Coach K has done an amazing job of adjusting his teams and strategies. for the rules, whatever rules they are, and . In college basketball, his defenses take away the three point shot more consistently than any other team, I would wager. Offensively, he is certainly willing to allow his players to take three-pointers. Statistically speaking, it makes complete sense to me. I don't know if Coach K does this based on statistical analyses or gut feel, but it works out well.

Also, in international play, he's done a great job of putting together teams well-suited for international style play and often going against conventional NBA wisdom about how to structure a team.

gus
02-24-2012, 12:47 PM
Dean Smith has always cited as the basketball coach who relied on statistical data to a far greater degree than any other coach. Coach K has rarely been credited with smart statistical analysis. Instead, people have talked about his leadership, team building, and defense.

Coach K has done an amazing job of adjusting his teams and strategies. for the rules, whatever rules they are, and . In college basketball, his defenses take away the three point shot more consistently than any other team, I would wager. Offensively, he is certainly willing to allow his players to take three-pointers. Statistically speaking, it makes complete sense to me. I don't know if Coach K does this based on statistical analyses or gut feel, but it works out well.

Also, in international play, he's done a great job of putting together teams well-suited for international style play and often going against conventional NBA wisdom about how to structure a team.

Well said. I don't know if it's gut feel either -- I've always suspected it's based on statistical analysis. I don't think Shane brought that to Duke. But either way, it's clear to me from his strategies, and from comments he makes, that he approaches the game this way.

tbyers11
02-24-2012, 12:49 PM
Dean Smith has always cited as the basketball coach who relied on statistical data to a far greater degree than any other coach. Coach K has rarely been credited with smart statistical analysis. Instead, people have talked about his leadership, team building, and defense.

Coach K has done an amazing job of adjusting his teams and strategies. for the rules, whatever rules they are, and . In college basketball, his defenses take away the three point shot more consistently than any other team, I would wager. Offensively, he is certainly willing to allow his players to take three-pointers. Statistically speaking, it makes complete sense to me. I don't know if Coach K does this based on statistical analyses or gut feel, but it works out well.

Also, in international play, he's done a great job of putting together teams well-suited for international style play and often going against conventional NBA wisdom about how to structure a team.

You are correct about Duke systematically taking away the 3 from their opponents. From KenPom, the numbers below are defensive 3PA% (which is the % of all FGA that are 3pt FGA). The numbers in parentheses are the national ranking. Coach K has definitely pushed opposing teams off the 3-pointer as a strategy.


2012 24.2% (4th)
2011 24.5% (5th)
2010 25.4% (11th)
2009 25.9% (5th)
2008 25.0% (2nd)
2007 24.3% (2nd)
2006 21.3% (1st)
2005 20.8% (1st)
2004 25.2% (4th)
2003 25.0% (6th)

throatybeard
02-24-2012, 12:59 PM
The high variance of 3's is a scary proposition come tourney time and the best way for Duke to avoid it would be to draw smaller teams like Mizzou or Marquette in regional games. If Duke ever plays a team like Kentucky of Syracuse, you can bet that close to if not more than half of Duke's shots will come from 3.

It's not gonna happen, but here's how I'm rooting. Mizzou wins at Lawrence and wins the Big Plains conference tournament while Michigan State stumbles early in the Big Lakes tournament. Mizzou steals the 1-seed in the Midwest, and Michigan State is shipped out west as a 1. Duke gets 2 in the Midwest and I get to see Duke upset Mizzou in a full house of Mizzou fans at the Edward Jones Dome on 25 March.

Of course, Mizzou would have to stop doing stupid things like losing to K-State at home.

Dr. Rosenrosen
02-24-2012, 01:03 PM
Oh my god, it's Moneyball Part Deux... Revenge of the Statisticians!! I love it.

Speaking of "live by the two die by the two"... last night FSU shot more of their shots from 2pt land than they have averaged this season (76.2% last night vs. 68.8% for the season) but hit them at a rate of just 43.8% last night vs. season average of 50.6%. Eh, so what. We could find all kinds of numbers to support or "disprove" all these theories.

IMO, we are doing a better and better job of taking good shots. Not always. Still some stinkers. But K is always going to tell his guards to take the open shot. And I for one am glad they do.

---

P.S. It's clear to me from my analysis above that Leonard Hamilton needs to outfit his team's uniforms with some sort of calculator widget or they have no hope of ever winning another game. :rolleyes:

throatybeard
02-24-2012, 01:13 PM
2425

pfrduke
02-24-2012, 01:26 PM
You are correct about Duke systematically taking away the 3 from their opponents. From KenPom, the numbers below are defensive 3PA% (which is the % of all FGA that are 3pt FGA). The numbers in parentheses are the national ranking. Coach K has definitely pushed opposing teams off the 3-pointer as a strategy.


2012 24.2% (4th)
2011 24.5% (5th)
2010 25.4% (11th)
2009 25.9% (5th)
2008 25.0% (2nd)
2007 24.3% (2nd)
2006 21.3% (1st)
2005 20.8% (1st)
2004 25.2% (4th)
2003 25.0% (6th)

As the numbers show, this has always been a hallmark of our defense. We've also combined it, typically, with low 3pt% defense as well.

In broad brush terms (and this is sort of an over-generalization, but only sort of), there are three kinds of shots from the field in basketball: 3pt jump shots, 2pt jump shots, and 2pt close shots (i.e., layups, dunks, and tip-ins). By a huge margin, 2pt jump shots are the least productive shots to take - there's obviously some variance among teams and players, but generally speaking there's about a 33-35% conversion rate on those shots (so 0.66 to 0.70 points per shot). Close in shots tend to be the most productive - somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-65% conversion rate (so around 1.20-1.30 points per shot). Threes are usually not too far behind - for Duke, it's usually in the 1.15 points per shot range. One thing that I've found interesting (albeit in a small sample set) is that teams usually shoot better even from a raw percentage point of view on 3pt jumpers than on 2pt jumpers, and that's before adding in the bonus point that comes from making a 3.

Basically, building an offense around layups and threes, and building a defense around having the other team shoot from inside the arc and outside the paint is a recipe for success.

UrinalCake
02-24-2012, 01:34 PM
In the regular season it may be frustrating to lose a game here or there because of a cold night shooting from three, but in a single tournament it's devastating - one bad night and you're gone.... So, I do believe it's possible that a strategy with a higher probability of success but a greater variance could be dangerous in the tournament, as you have a greater chance that an off night happens.

Interesting thought. My counterpoint would be that your work across the season determines your seed, and that has a big effect on how well you need to perform in the tournament. As a #1 seed you can get through the first weekend without shooting all that well. So you really only need to win four tough games to win a title. In 2010 I would argue that the WVU game was the only one where we shot lights out from three. In the others we shot well but mostly relied on our tough defense.

Jderf
02-24-2012, 01:37 PM
It took about an hour (I should probably be working or something...), but to aid the discussion, I went ahead and actually calculated the standard deviation for Duke's 3-point shooting from game to game this season. I got .100581, or just about 10%. The numbers are below if anyone wants to double check. I'm going to follow that up soon with the standard deviation for 2-pt shots. I figure that having both will give us a much clearer picture.

Okay, so I haven't had the time to look at the standard deviation for 2-point field goals yet, but for the moment we can still say some interesting stuff about threes and just worry about the comparison later. Looking at our nice round standard deviation of 10%, we can use it to define hot and cold shooting nights from three. Since our average is right at 40%, let's say we expect any given shooting night to stay within one standard deviation. So, anything between 30% and 50% is going to be what we expect. With those parameters, we've had six games this year when we've gone utterly cold from three (20%, 29%, 27%, 25%, 19%, and 29%). Interestingly, only two of these were losses (OSU and Miami). So we seem to go atrociously cold about once every five games or so. Two out of nine, to be exact. If these numbers hold up, then in a six game series (i.e. the NCAA tournament) we have slightly better than a 20% chance playing all six without going cold at least once. Not very good odds, really, though there is still a lot more to it than that. I've got more thoughts, but not more time, so I guess I'll try to post more later.

Kedsy
02-24-2012, 01:58 PM
So, anything between 30% and 50% is going to be what we expect. With those parameters, we've had six games this year when we've gone utterly cold from three (20%, 29%, 27%, 25%, 19%, and 29%). Interestingly, only two of these were losses (OSU and Miami). So we seem to go atrociously cold about once every five games or so. Two out of nine, to be exact.

You left out our 28% 3-point shooting against NC State. So, really it's once every four games.

Jderf
02-24-2012, 02:30 PM
You left out our 28% 3-point shooting against NC State. So, really it's once every four games.

Nice catch. And that changes the odds pretty signifcantly, which, if anything, just points out the fact that my sample size is simply way too small here. But if we can't glean any meaningfully precise numbers from my "research," we can still say in a pretty conclusive manner that we cannot reasonably expect to get through the tournament without having at least one cold night from the three-point line. Lesson? We're going to have to be a very diverse team (and I think we can be) if we don't want to get bit by the 3-bug at some point in the NCAAs.

Steven43
02-24-2012, 06:50 PM
You are correct about Duke systematically taking away the 3 from their opponents. From KenPom, the numbers below are defensive 3PA% (which is the % of all FGA that are 3pt FGA). The numbers in parentheses are the national ranking. Coach K has definitely pushed opposing teams off the 3-pointer as a strategy.


2012 24.2% (4th)
2011 24.5% (5th)
2010 25.4% (11th)
2009 25.9% (5th)
2008 25.0% (2nd)
2007 24.3% (2nd)
2006 21.3% (1st)
2005 20.8% (1st)
2004 25.2% (4th)
2003 25.0% (6th)

Interesting that the one year out of these that we ranked outside the top 10 nationally in taking away opponents' threes was a national championship year.

pfrduke
02-24-2012, 07:27 PM
Interesting that the one year out of these that we ranked outside the top 10 nationally in taking away opponents' threes was a national championship year.

I wouldn't ascribe too much significance to that. The difference between us and Wisconsin (which finished 10th) was a single 3 point attempt (say, Gordon Hayward's half court heave). Also, our team that year was particularly good at making opponents miss their 3s - just 28.3% shooting allowed (good for 2nd nationally). When you combine percentage with frequency, we were the most (or second most - St. Louis finished 5th in 3fg% and 5th in 3PA%) difficult team to score against from beyond the arc.

Also, some of the national rank is fluky - in 2009, we allowed a greater percentage of attempts, but nonetheless finished higher (5th, rather than 11th).

Kedsy
02-24-2012, 07:41 PM
Interesting that the one year out of these that we ranked outside the top 10 nationally in taking away opponents' threes was a national championship year.


I wouldn't ascribe too much significance to that. The difference between us and Wisconsin (which finished 10th) was a single 3 point attempt (say, Gordon Hayward's half court heave). Also, our team that year was particularly good at making opponents miss their 3s - just 28.3% shooting allowed (good for 2nd nationally). When you combine percentage with frequency, we were the most (or second most - St. Louis finished 5th in 3fg% and 5th in 3PA%) difficult team to score against from beyond the arc.

Yeah, the key to our superb defensive rating in 2010 was the fact that our opponents shot the worst three-point percentage against us in Duke history. In that case, the fact that they tried more three-point attempts than usual turned out to be a really good thing for us.

Edouble
02-25-2012, 01:48 AM
I think you're trying to prove your point with some highly faulty arithmetic. Don't know how you define "great", but in any world where the big men shoot 70%, the three-point shooter oughta at least be shooting 55%!!;)

Ah, so it's OK if you throw out numbers from out of a hat, but not me? Right...

Edouble
02-25-2012, 01:59 AM
This is a faulty argument. Do great inside shooters have games where they shoot 70% from the field? Sure, so what? Last night Andre Dawkins shot 67% from 3 (same as 100% from a 2-point shooter; how often does that happen?). He got fouled twice on three pointers (and he only made 4 of the 6 free throws, which was still 18% of his total points). He has had 9 games this year where he's shot 50% or better from threeland (32% of his games played) -- which of course translates to a 75% or better two-point percentage.

In contrast, this year Jared Sullinger (generally considered to be the best, or at least one of the best, big men in the country) has shot 70% or better four times this season (15% of his games played; and note that only two of those games were 75% or better). In those four games, 10 of his 83 points came on free throws (12% of his total points). I don't know how many of his points came on rebounds of his own misses, but since he didn't miss so much, probably not so many.

What is your point? It's like you are talking just to be argumentative. You say it's a faulty argument and then you agree with it? 70% from the field...so what? I think that's the whole point of this discussion. Big guys shoot a higher percentage than 3 point shooters. Conversely, 3 > 2. Have you been following along?

Sure... Dawkins has had games where he shoots more than 40%. In a very famous basketball game, Christian Laettner shot 100%. You may have heard about this game. I'm not gonna go crazy and use it as an example in this argument!


Which brings up another faulty element of your argument -- while it's true that three point misses go long...

I never said that. Classic straw man argument.

Edouble
02-25-2012, 02:11 AM
In that case, big men have statistical variation in how well they shoot too, just like outside shooters.

How many times have you seen a big guy "disappear" or "get shut down" for a game? Maybe their percentage is more consistent but their output can vary widely based on the defense and scoring pace for the game.

The other factor to consider is, how many great big men are there in college basketball? Maybe one per year coming out of high school would qualify as "great," and if he actually lives up to expectations then he'll be gone in a year. Conversely, there are probably 5-10 excellent three point shooters in each class. And Duke gets all of them :) So if you're going to build your program around a particular style of play, relying on three-point shooters is more "dependable."

Finally, if you look at past National Championship winners, they all have excellent talent obviously but you can't really make any generalizations as far as them all having a dominant big man, or all having a sharpshooter. I think having solid guard play is probably a safe rule of thumb, but in the end it's overall talent and team play that matter

Yeah, I agree, everyone has statistical variation. For a season or a career though, big guys have a higher shooting percentage, generally speaking. They shoot their shots closer to the basket. There is always some crazy kid at a DIII school that shoots like 57% for 3 though.

My opinion is that I don't see quality big guys "disappear" as much as 3-point shooters. A big guy can score 4 points, but still get 10 rebounds and just by being big, can have a presence in the lane, intimidating, altering shots, etc. Most great 3 point shooters don't have other abilities to affect a game. Guys like Redick and Curtis Staples aren't great defensive players, nor do they dish out a lot of assists. My point is that there are things to consider outside of shooting percentages.

Your idea concerning the dearth of bigs and a 3 point offense being more "reliable" is interesting. I would point out that Coach K likes to build an offense around the personnel he has, albeit that does usually include some awesome 3 point bombers as you mention.

Edouble
02-25-2012, 02:29 AM
He also had plenty of games where he shot below 50% (even games below 40%). Don't confuse outliers with averages. When discussing what is an effective strategy for maximizing the liklihood of winning, it's the latter that's important.

This is so condescending.




Now you're making up numbers. Not a good way to support a statistical argument.
No, I'm approximating. If I said that big guys shoot free throws a million times more often than 3 point shooters that would be making up numbers. Don't confuse your dictionary with your thesaurus.

Would you really disagree that big guys get fouled 10x more often than 3 point shooters? I thought I was being pretty conservative. I would say for every guy that gets fouled shooting a 3 in a game, you see 10 fouls from someone being hacked in the lane.




This is where you're completely missing the argument. It's already been conceded that 3 point shooting has a higher standard deviation (getting "cold" is an misunderstanding of the probabilistic event that is shooting).
No sir. People get hot. People get cold. If things were all statistics, there would be no point in tipping the ball up. You could just run some numbers in your calculator while the Crazies cheered.




The use of caps is totally unnecessary, and it doesn't make you correct.
I thought it was like half unnecessary. I thought it was for sure necessary with the vowels, and then there were some consonants that I was SURE it was necessary.




Ryan Kelly missed a three pointer, and grabbed his own rebound in last minute of the Carolina game. That's not a statistical argument of course, but missed three pointers also lead to offensive rebounds.

Wait... NOT a statistical argument? You just came down on me in this very post for making a non-statistically sound argument! Isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?!?!




Three point shooters do occasionally get fouled, and usually convert those free throws at a higher rate than inside players. In other words, your statement that "a 3 pt shooters offensive productivity is just based on his shooting %age" is completely false.
Yeah, that's my point. It's VERY occasional (note that "very" is in all caps, therefor it is correct).

If it's completely false, please explain why. Seriously. Don't just say it.

CLW
02-25-2012, 08:48 AM
I totally agree that shooting a high percentage of shots from 3 leaves you more vulnerable to high variance in your offensive output than a team that shoots two's. I disagree with the statement that shooting 33% from 3 is the same as shooting 50% from 2. There are so many other factors that go beyond shooting percentage to change this. While it's true that you'd get an extra rebounding opportunity from 3, it's generally harder to rebound them. You do get some long ones from 3, but you never get the gimme rebound where someone misses a layup and can just put his own shot back. More importantly, you're free throw rate will be much much better shooting twos. It's tough to get fouled shooting 3's, and it's shown in Dukes games. Against a lot of big teams this year, Duke has had trouble drawing fouls during the normal course of play. You have to be aggressive to get a lot of fouls and 3's are as passive a move as there is.

Someone mentioned that Duke is only 70th in the country in 3PA/FGA, at 37.5% of our shots from 3. That number jumps all the way up to 40.5% if you only look at conference play, which suggests that the season number is artifically low from some easy games in the non-conference. The other thing that I can only talk about from what I've seen and can remember is that Duke's percentage of shots from 3 goes way way up against bigger teams. Duke's big men do a really great job when they have a definite size advantage, but against teams that can match their size, they really struggle and the team rely's on jump shooting much more.

All of this being said, does Duke really have a choice in the matter? They only have one guy who can consistently get into the lane, and teams can collapse the lane on him more than others, because he won't pass it back out against double and triple coverage as often as others would. Even including Rivers, Duke has small guards so when they do drive into the lane, they often can't get all the way to the rim without getting blocked so they have to pull up and take a lot of low percentage floaters. That was a shot that Nolan really had down, but no one on this team makes it enough to force defenders to respect it compared to a layup. You have some big guys who can score from the block, but their primary move is a passive hook shot. It's much lower percentage than a power move, you won't get fouled as often (which isn't all bad considering their FT%), and it's almost impossible to grab you're own miss with it. Duke's free throw rate is pretty high, but a lot of that has to do with Duke leading by 2-3 possessions at the end of so many games which causes teams to start fouling intentionally before the shot clock is even turned off. This is another stat that is artificially high on the year from easy non-conference games. Duke's full year FT rate is 45.5%, but only 37.9% in conference play.

For Duke, it's all about matchups. If they draw some teams without 6-10 to 7-0 guys in the middle, they can try and play a more traditional game. If they draw big teams, they will have to shoot 3's. I just don't see Duke beating good teams with size without taking and making a good percentage of 3 pointers.


It actually doesn't have much to do with the quality of the non conference schedule, but the size of those teams. Many of those quality mid majors and even some of the high majors (Michigan) don't have much size, and the bigs they do have aren't intimidating defensive presences to keep duke out of the lane. The difference between Duke' s conference and non conference 3PA/FGA is 3.4% (38.0 to 41.4) after the FSU game. I looked at the 7 or so teams from high major conferences who both had at least a shot at he tourney and were at or above Duke's level of taking threes. I found none with a differential between non conference and conference play of more than 1.9%, meaning that Duke's differential is a striking 79% higher than it's closest peer. He big difference between Duke and those teams is that most of them have either little size, little depth or both on the interior. Duke adjusts its style of play big time depending on the size of its opponent. The high variance of 3's is a scary proposition come tourney time and the best way for Duke to avoid it would be to draw smaller teams like Mizzou or Marquette in regional games. If Duke ever plays a team like Kentucky of Syracuse, you can bet that close to if not more than half of Duke's shots will come from 3.

I agree with SCMatt here. I think there really isn't much of a choice other than to "play the lottery" if/when this Duke squad matches up against some of the bigger/better teams in March.

I also saw that we traditionally have tried to keep teams 3PA% way down as a defense. This would make sense if/when your Coach believes he has the better squad and wants to take losing via "the lottery" out of the question.

For this team I think we might have to play "the lottery" on both ends of the floor should we make a deep run.

uh_no
02-25-2012, 11:54 AM
Alright, I figured I'd bring some stats to this thread....

Anyway, I'm going to look at two things: the standard deviation of 2 and 3 points makes, and the skewedness. Before we can analyze the two data sets separately, we probably want to show that they are independent.

The R^2 value of the relationship between 3% and 2% is .08.....which for all practical purposes, whether we're shooting well from 3 has no effect on whether we're shooting well from 2.

We can thus look at the data without worrying on whether a bad/good 3 pt shooting night affects our 2 pt shooting...which makes some of the analysis easier.

The first thing we'll look at is simple made percentage.

So far on the season we make 39% of threes and 51% of twos. Ignoring fouls and rebounds and the what not, that gives us 1.17 points per three point shot and 1.02 per 2 point shot. Fine.

Next we'll look at standard deviation from game to game. This will effectively tell us on average how close is any individual game's shooting percentage to the season mean. The naive way to do this would be to take the shooting % of each game and subtract it from the season average. This is silly though, as it would mean a game where we shot 0-1 would have as much weight as a game where we shot 20-30...and that won't really show what we want, which is effectively whats the deviation of our scoring output because of the variance in making that particular shot. THerefore I scaled each game based on the number of three point attempts, so the more we take, the more sway that game has...which makes sense.

(Sum((num_made-season%*num_att)^2)/num_games)^.5

Basically we're averaging the squares of the difference between the number of shots we made each game and the number we should have made based on the average.

This gives us a standard deviation of 1.9 for 3 pointers and 3.3 for two pointers, which works out to 5.8 and 6.6 ppg respectively. This means that if we take the number of points we SHOULD have scored in a game on 3 or 2 point shots based on our season average and the number of shots we took from each range, in 68% of those games, we will be within 5.8 points from 3 pointers and 6.6 points on two pointers. So this says that there is actually MORE variance in our two point shooting than three point shooting.....WAIT WHAT????

Yes, we are more consistent game to game shooting from 2 than we are from 3.....who saw THAT one coming....not me!

Okay, there's one more thing I want to look at before I am done spewing my statistical babble: skew. Skew is basically which direction the graph has a tail on. Check the wiki page on it. Basically if our shooting percentage is skew left, it means that we are more likely to have an exceptionally bad shooting night than an exceptionally good one. I used a similar equation to the one for standard devation above:

Sum((num_made-season%*num_att)^3)/std_dev^3

We find that our skew for 3s is -9.7 while for 2s it's 5.9. But what does this mean? It means that most games are good shooting nights, but a good shooting night is not hugely better than average, but there are bad shooting nights, and these nights are really bad.(look at the chart on the wiki page for a more intuitive picture of what this is). For 2 point shooting the opposite is true. We don't have many truly horrid 2 point shooting nights, but we can have some really really good ones.

What does that say to me? yes there is a bit of a lottery factor from three point shooting. But its not because there is a higher variance in our three point shooting game to game, Its just that when we are going to have a shooting night that is outside a standard deviation or so, its much more likely to be a bad shooting night than a good one (from 3 pt). (and that last line isn't techincal...just intuitive) Does this mean we should change our strategy? that's for the rest of you to debate...since there are so many factors that come into play.....these stats don't tell you how you should structure your team or game plan. THey simply show a few things about the results when taking 3 and 2 point shots.

For those that are interested, if we remove the cupcakes (presbyterian, davidson, colorado state, uncg, wmu, and penn) the numbers are as follows:

2pt 3pt
%: 49 37
std: 5.9 5.8 ppg
skw: 7.2 -5.8

So interestingly, these are the teams that we'd be likely to see starting in the second round, and we see that the standard deviations in ppg are a lot closer than they were over the full season (mostly due to not being able to score two pointers so easily....but the three point number is about the same), The skew also paints the same picture as it did before. THe magnitude is less, but this is due to the lessened overall average, and still paints a similar picture as the anaylsis before.

One season sample size is small, but you really can't compare these numbers across seasons or teams anyway, since as people have mentioned, it's highly dependent on the quality of the shooters and the shot opportunities. If i have time, i'll try to get numbers from some past teams

Wander
02-25-2012, 12:03 PM
That was awesome uh no. The combination of standard deviation and skew really capture what we're looking for. It'd be cool if kenpom could look at these stats nationally across all teams.

uh_no
02-25-2012, 12:17 PM
if anyone is interested:

for last years team

3 pt:
37% or 1.11 ppa
6.3 points stddev
-11.4 skew

2pt:
52% or 1.04ppa
8.6 points stddev
5.3 skew

So the only difference is that last year's teams offensive output on the whole was much more up and down....again, i'm not sure the predictive value here....because individual seasons and the tournament in general are such small sample sizes.

gus
02-25-2012, 01:01 PM
if anyone is interested:

for last years team

3 pt:
37% or 1.11 ppa
6.3 points stddev
-11.4 skew

2pt:
52% or 1.04ppa
8.6 points stddev
5.3 skew

So the only difference is that last year's teams offensive output on the whole was much more up and down....again, i'm not sure the predictive value here....because individual seasons and the tournament in general are such small sample sizes.

Thanks for running the numbers. I am surprised by the result, but still think the opposite would be true in a general case. Regardless, your data seems to support my belief: that this Duke team should be shooting threes.

uh_no
02-25-2012, 01:11 PM
Thanks for running the numbers. I am surprised by the result, but still think the opposite would be true in a general case. Regardless, your data seems to support my belief: that this Duke team should be shooting threes.

Yup. I'm trying to think of what other teams would be good to look at.....perhaps carolina from 09?....but yeah if only i had a database of stats in an easily readable form :/

gus
02-25-2012, 01:22 PM
If it's completely false, please explain why. Seriously. Don't just say it.

I did explain why. I think you need to reread my post.

SupaDave
02-25-2012, 01:45 PM
Didn't want to start a whole new thread on this but it seems that we are a different team when Andre isn't getting his shot. We drive it to the hole much much more. He seems to be our lynchpin and I think the word is out. When he's allowed to shoot we can blow teams out.

cspan37421
02-25-2012, 01:58 PM
Didn't want to start a whole new thread on this but it seems that we are a different team when Andre isn't getting his shot. We drive it to the hole much much more. He seems to be our lynchpin and I think the word is out. When he's allowed to shoot we can blow teams out.

Yes, I agree to an extent. But in 10 min he had 3 turnovers and 0-3 from the field. I think the 3 TOs led to reduced minutes. He can do some things that will "allow" him to shoot more, and good defense + low turnovers are a couple of them.

Boy, looking at the box: we had 7 assists (on 20 made shots) and 12 turnovers. Hmm.

With Austin's speed, you would think he could be a little ball-thief, leading to easy buckets. He had no steals, and averages less than one per game. We average 6 steals a game but only had 2. We rank #190 in steals per game. I miss our ability to fast break on steals! Bring back Showtime to Durham!

Dukeface88
02-25-2012, 02:03 PM
Yes, we are more consistent game to game shooting from 2 than we are from 3.....who saw THAT one coming....not me!



I can't say I saw it coming, but in retrospect it isn't surprising. Our paint scoring, both from the post and from drives, is really dependent on match-ups.

Jderf
02-25-2012, 03:42 PM
Alright, I figured I'd bring some stats to this thread....

(...)

What does that say to me? yes there is a bit of a lottery factor from three point shooting. But its not because there is a higher variance in our three point shooting game to game, Its just that when we are going to have a shooting night that is outside a standard deviation or so, its much more likely to be a bad shooting night than a good one (from 3 pt). (and that last line isn't techincal...just intuitive) Does this mean we should change our strategy? that's for the rest of you to debate...since there are so many factors that come into play.....these stats don't tell you how you should structure your team or game plan. THey simply show a few things about the results when taking 3 and 2 point shots.


There it is. Thanks, uh_no. This is exactly what I was aiming for before. I think my posts would have looked like this if they had been done by someone with more time and also some actual competence. Stellar, stellar work.

Kedsy
02-25-2012, 04:31 PM
This gives us a standard deviation of 1.9 for 3 pointers and 3.3 for two pointers, which works out to 5.8 and 6.6 ppg respectively. This means that if we take the number of points we SHOULD have scored in a game on 3 or 2 point shots based on our season average and the number of shots we took from each range, in 68% of those games, we will be within 5.8 points from 3 pointers and 6.6 points on two pointers. So this says that there is actually MORE variance in our two point shooting than three point shooting.....WAIT WHAT????

...

We find that our skew for 3s is -9.7 while for 2s it's 5.9. But what does this mean? It means that most games are good shooting nights, but a good shooting night is not hugely better than average, but there are bad shooting nights, and these nights are really bad.(look at the chart on the wiki page for a more intuitive picture of what this is). For 2 point shooting the opposite is true. We don't have many truly horrid 2 point shooting nights, but we can have some really really good ones.

What does that say to me? yes there is a bit of a lottery factor from three point shooting. But its not because there is a higher variance in our three point shooting game to game, Its just that when we are going to have a shooting night that is outside a standard deviation or so, its much more likely to be a bad shooting night than a good one (from 3 pt). (and that last line isn't techincal...just intuitive) Does this mean we should change our strategy? that's for the rest of you to debate...since there are so many factors that come into play.....these stats don't tell you how you should structure your team or game plan. THey simply show a few things about the results when taking 3 and 2 point shots.

This is very cool analysis. Thank you.

I bet we're unusual about our 3-point shooting having more variance than our 2-point shooting, which argues (as you point out) that taking a lot of 3-point shots makes sense for us. My guess is the skew is more typical, and probably gives life to the "live by the three, die by the three" mantra. Especially when our poor games have occurred in 28% of our games this season (8 of 29 so far we've shot worse than 30% from 3).

dcdevil2009
02-25-2012, 04:55 PM
I'm really liking this stats debate over the value of threes or twos, but it seems like some of the numbers are focusing more on the individual shooting the ball than the overall impact on how the team does. I'd agree with Edouble that a guy shooting a two is more likely to get his own rebound for a second shot opportunity than a guy shooting a three, but isn't that kind of irrelevant? Wouldn't the more important stat be whether Duke as a team is more likely to get an offensive rebound on a three or a two? If Miles misses a shot from close and gets his own rebound that's great, but it's not any better or worse than Austin missing a three and Miles getting the offensive rebound. I don't have the numbers to back it up, but I would think that threes and long twos are more likely to lead to offensive rebounds that shots from inside 8-10 feet. But on the other hand, it seems like missed threes also lead to more fast breaks for opponents than missed twos because of the long rebounds. I'm not sure what stats would be important to figuring out the team impact of threes v. twos, but I think the points-per-shot numbers someone gave earlier in the thread is a great starting point. Another thing that might be helpful is points-per-possession on possession that begin with a two or a three point shot. Although it might get dicey with multiple shot possessions, it might be an indicator of how much we're looking to create certain shots or taking what the defense gives us.

uh_no
02-25-2012, 05:17 PM
I'm really liking this stats debate over the value of threes or twos, but it seems like some of the numbers are focusing more on the individual shooting the ball than the overall impact on how the team does. I'd agree with Edouble that a guy shooting a two is more likely to get his own rebound for a second shot opportunity than a guy shooting a three, but isn't that kind of irrelevant? Wouldn't the more important stat be whether Duke as a team is more likely to get an offensive rebound on a three or a two? If Miles misses a shot from close and gets his own rebound that's great, but it's not any better or worse than Austin missing a three and Miles getting the offensive rebound. I don't have the numbers to back it up, but I would think that threes and long twos are more likely to lead to offensive rebounds that shots from inside 8-10 feet. But on the other hand, it seems like missed threes also lead to more fast breaks for opponents than missed twos because of the long rebounds. I'm not sure what stats would be important to figuring out the team impact of threes v. twos, but I think the points-per-shot numbers someone gave earlier in the thread is a great starting point. Another thing that might be helpful is points-per-possession on possession that begin with a two or a three point shot. Although it might get dicey with multiple shot possessions, it might be an indicator of how much we're looking to create certain shots or taking what the defense gives us.

I think that would be a project for someone not me :P to go through game logs and look at the results of our missed shots: did we get the rebound and a quick score (tip in/kick out) did we get the rebound and reset the offense, did they get the rebound and fast break, and did they get the rebound and reset. I think that while we may be able to theorize about one being better than the other, I think we'll find the correlation between the shot type and us getting the offensive rebound is insignificant.

Fine ill do it:

we offensive rebounded 7 of our 14 missed twos 50%
we offensive rebounded 5 of our 18 threes 27%

so in our sample size of 1, we rebound our missed twos at a significantly higher rate....almost twice as much in fact

now for an expected value analysis:

E of 3 pt shot: .25*3+.75*.27*Epos
E of 2 pt shot: .5*2+.5*.5*Epos
Epos: .46*E3pt+.54*E2pt

Solving this all we get

approx 1.4 pts per possesion (not counting fouls)
1.03 pts per possesion which starts with a 3 point shot
1.35 pts per possesion which starts with a 2 pointer


This will vary depending on our shooting for the day

We got fouled on 0 three point shots today....and i'd include the information about missed shots from 2 pt fouls, but ESPN doesn't indicate whether the foul shots were on a shooting foul or in the bonus, but in this case, they would only increase the lead that 2 point shots had over 3 point shots.

Going forward, I may try to do this on a game by game basis....counting fouls and offensive rebounds, what is our expected ppp filtered by the shot it starts with

Greg_Newton
02-25-2012, 05:38 PM
I think the point is that a crucial component of any good offense is the ability to attack and make the opposition defend the rim. As long as you have the ability to do that, via slashing or post play, then it's fine to bomb away and ride the hot hand; the three-pointer is a great long-term option as far as upside and percentages go, but it's undebatable a higher-risk/higher-reward option than "safer" shots near the rim. I also think it's kind of arguing semantics to argue that that kind of offense is the same sort of "lottery"; if a you're getting to the rim and drawing contact, it's simply up to you to will the ball in the hoop or draw fouls; it becomes a game of power and intensity rather than skill and touch. Different scenario than launching the ball from 20+ feet away with a defender flying towards you and hoping you didn't kick your arm out 1/4" too wide on the release.

Anyway, if you're a less talented team looking to pick off a few superior squads, high-risk/high-reward is great. If you consider yourself a top dog and complete team, though, it's a bit risky to put all your eggs in that one basket; season-long percentages don't matter much in a single game, and there's a lot of game-to-game variance in 3-point shooting %s. This means you're much more vulnerable on your bad nights if your offense is mostly 3-point shooting... which, really, is the measure of most elite teams. Case in point, we've shot 28/83 from 3 in our 4 losses, good for 1PPS.

There's also the fact that shooting a live-action 22-footer isn't a pure percentage play like gambling with cards or something. There's a ton of human element that goes into it, and there's never any guarantee that the percentages will revert to a previous mean. Every shot is unique and not influenced by past results whatsoever.

However...

I think that this team has a pretty good balance. Rivers can get to the rim, as can Curry when he's healthy. Mason can get 4-8 footers pretty consistently (aside from from the past few games), and Kelly makes a couple good moves to the rim each game. But more interestingly, we've got 4 guys who can absolutely light it up from 3-point land, plus Thornton (who can get hot) and even Cook (who, I swear, can shoot...). This is a whole different ballgame than the Redick days, when we were pretty much screwed if he was off; this team can have two or even three of it's prolific shooters struggle on a given night and still have a guy or two with a hot hand from beyond.

It's sort of like playing the lottery, but buying a few hundred thousand tickets. :p

UrinalCake
02-25-2012, 07:57 PM
I am totally digging this analysis and accompanying discussion, but there's also a factor involved called THE OTHER TEAM'S DEFENSE. We're not just playing horse and randomly choosing whether to shoot twos or threes. And variations in shooting percentages are not only attributable to luck. The other team has a lot to do with it, and Duke in particular will adjust their offense according to what the defense gives.

I was surprised by the offensive rebounding numbers. I really thought threes were more likely to allow an offensive board

uh_no
02-25-2012, 08:09 PM
I am totally digging this analysis and accompanying discussion, but there's also a factor involved called THE OTHER TEAM'S DEFENSE. We're not just playing horse and randomly choosing whether to shoot twos or threes. And variations in shooting percentages are not only attributable to luck. The other team has a lot to do with it, and Duke in particular will adjust their offense according to what the defense gives.

I was surprised by the offensive rebounding numbers. I really thought threes were more likely to allow an offensive board

Its one game, could be an outlier for all i know. I think the "defense argument" is normalized by the fact that better three point defense should result in fewer three point shots. Thus you can say that your shots are of good quality, at least the three point ones. Now, we know this is not always true. I think the lack of correlation between three and two point shooting is important. It means that if we're getting shut down outside, it doesn't mean we're getting shut down inside. THe idea is that you can sort of assume that we aren't being forced into taking bad shots.

IF a team has good three point defense, we shoot more twos and the formula accounts for the decreased shot attempts....and we still only take the good ones. If A team is shutting us down in both cases, then shots will all be equally 'bad' and thus the 3pt number is still meaningful....since it indicates that we can be forced into bad shots allowing for abnormally low %s.

I hope that makes some sort of sense. I'm sometimes better with numbers than with explaining the numbers :)

cf-62
02-25-2012, 10:04 PM
Some interesting blog entries on Kenpom over the past few days basically make the argument that 3 point shooting is essentially the lottery.

http://kenpom.com/blog/

Some games you are hot (win the lottery) some games you are not (live by the bomb die by the bomb). Over the course of the season it all averages out.

IMHO this in part explains Andre Dawkins. The kid can shoot but his game is largely catch and shoot from behind the arc. Games like tonight he won the Powerball but then others he will go 0 for and over the course of the season he will end up around 40%.

An interesting argument can be made that a 2010 style defense (sag/contain) so that you can stop easy buckets better is a smarter overall strategy and just pray you don't "lose the lottery" in a one and done format come tourny time.

It seems that against some of our better competition we have relied heavily on our outside shooting and in essence played "the lottery". Sometimes we win (UNC) sometimes we lose (Miami/Ohio St.). Does anyone else feel like our chances in March will largely be determined by whether we get "hot" and "win the lottery"?

Actually, given the propensity of 3 point shots to become offensive rebounds, it's oddly a severely incomplete analysis by Pomeroy. Back in the dark ages before stat29.com and kenpom.com (or anything.com), there was a local statistics prof that proved on the Coach K show that EVERY shot attempt should be a three pointer. We only do that sometimes.

As others have already pointed out, though, any statistical analysis fails to account for a motion offense philosophy of working the ball around, inside, outside, off the dribble, off the pass, etc. - all for the purpose of working for a "good" shot - regardless of distance from the basket.

uh_no
02-25-2012, 10:39 PM
Actually, given the propensity of 3 point shots to become offensive rebounds, it's oddly a severely incomplete analysis by Pomeroy. Back in the dark ages before stat29.com and kenpom.com (or anything.com), there was a local statistics prof that proved on the Coach K show that EVERY shot attempt should be a three pointer. We only do that sometimes.

As others have already pointed out, though, any statistical analysis fails to account for a motion offense philosophy of working the ball around, inside, outside, off the dribble, off the pass, etc. - all for the purpose of working for a "good" shot - regardless of distance from the basket.

Today we o redbounded 7/14 missed 2s and 5/18 missed 3s....not sure the propensity exists other than subjectively.....and it certainly didn't exist today

gus
02-29-2012, 02:10 PM
No sir. People get hot. People get cold. If things were all statistics, there would be no point in tipping the ball up. You could just run some numbers in your calculator while the Crazies cheered.

I disagree with you with your conclusion: the game would still be fun to watch.

But I was bored at lunch, so decided to look at Dawkin's three point shooting this season. Dawkins has been described as streaky, and lethal "when he gets hot"

According to all the game trackers on ESPN, he shot 66/158 this season -- 41.8%.*

This season, after a miss he is 28/66 (42%). After a make he is 38/91 (42%).

After two misses in a row, if he shoots another in the same game, he is 10/25. After two makes: 11/24. After a miss and a make: 23/54.

After missing three in a row, if he shoots another in the same game, he is 3/10. After three makes.... 3/10.

I'm sure if we took this out over all of his games with Duke we'd see a similar pattern: whether he has made his previous shots has no predictive value whatsoever on whether he'll make his next one.




* I think two attempts might be missing there, but I am not going to go through all the games to find it.

throatybeard
03-06-2012, 04:14 PM
Extremely a propos (http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/03/06/mapping_the_nba_how_geography_can_teach_players_wh ere_to_shoot.html?fb_ref=sm_fb_like_blogpost&fb_source=home_oneline).

Scoring efficiency by NBA court location:

2450

UrinalCake
03-06-2012, 09:17 PM
Awesome graphic, throaty. It's interesting how much more efficient shots from in front of the basket are than from the wings. Also, corner threes are as efficient as dunks, but short two-point shots from the corners are awful. Long two-point jumpers are not good unless they're straight on.

Kedsy
03-06-2012, 09:28 PM
Also, corner threes are as efficient as dunks...

The corner three in the NBA is shorter than elsewhere, so that might explain the extra efficiency. Probably wouldn't carry over to college, where I believe the distance is constant.

ice-9
03-07-2012, 05:25 AM
Nice work uh_no!

One thing to emphasize is that standard deviation isn't the best metric to measure the "risk" of 2-pointers vs. 3-pointers -- for that, skew is a better metric. For example, if playing against a team who can't stop dribble penetration and/or who can't alter shots in the post, we'd have a very high 2-point percentage that would actually increase standard deviation. Yet that's an argument for more 2-pointers than 3-pointers!

Ultimately I personally believe if you have good 3-point shooters that you should utilize them, but having a balance is best. I.e. maximizing the expected value of a shot no matter where you are on the floor. Good outside shooting opens up the inside, and good interior play opens up the outside.

We are a much, much better team when the Plumlees were scoring inside like they did that one stretch against UNC in the second half. The Plumlees were clearly scoring with an ability that isn't about "playing averages," but about bullying their way to the basket for a easy buckets. That's the kind of 2-point scoring we need more of. It'll force the opposing team to double our bigs which will open up our perimeter players for higher percentage shots.

I suspect games when we have bad 3-point shooting nights are caused more by good defence than mere bad luck. In those games, we need our inside players to command more attention from the defence.

ACCBBallFan
03-08-2012, 07:58 AM
Throatybeard makes a valid point. I'll use the two big guys I consider the Gold Standard as the example.

Bill Walton: 65.1%
Lew Alcindor: 63.9%

Walton scored 1767 points in his career at UCLA with 273 coming on Free Throws (15.4%), while Alcindor scored 2325 points with 439 (18.8%) coming via the Free Throw. This season, Dawkins, a 42.2% 3PT shooter has scored 277 points including 34 on Free Throws (12.2%).

So the percentage of points scored via free throws doesn't appear that large to me so it appears Duke is better off attempting 3 PT FGs and securing the bonus point from the field, especially considering Miles and Mason are not Lew and Bill.

(And yes, I realize I'm comparing career numbers to numbers from a partial season but that's okay because we ain't doing rocket science here we are discussing basketball.)When you adjust for getting 3 points versus just 2, that 63% FG% is equivalent to 42% from 3 land.

It still boils down to greater than 50% from 2 or greater than 33% from 3 is the low water mark.