basketball, NBA

Mid-Range dead? Pickup always knew…

Kirk Goldsberry tweeted the below image (I added some notes on there) out a few days ago. (He is a great follow on Twitter and has some cool illustrations. He made a really cool map of the NBA’s most important moments, players, etc. Anyway.) And it caught my attention. This image coupled with the “Steph Curry effect” portrays what fans of the game have come to expect. It is what Daryl Morey tried to do with James Harden and the Rockets. And while the game may make Coach Popovich sick, this wave has been building and is here to stay.

However, this shot chart isn’t new. It may be new to the NBA, but this is what it has always looked like in pickup basketball.

No. This has always been the shot chart of city league, 7AM Saturday ball, or pick up ball at the park. The average Joe has always known that the mid-range is really, really, really hard. No one is trying to penetrate, rise up, and hit a 10′. Here is why:

  1. When playing pick up spacing is terrible. And the defense sluffs off.
  2. Lack of spacing = more folks hanging around the paint
  3. Shooting a mid-range shot is hard.
  4. Fast breaks, turnovers, second shot attempts, etc.
    • Here is just one example drive and then shoot steps:
      • First, you have to drive the ball past or create some separation from primary defender, all the while not dribbling it off your foot or getting it stolen
      • Second, you must stop before reaching the paint and rise up with the ball
      • Third, you must then take said ball up with you in air and shoot
      • Finally, it has to be with finesse! It is a shot that takes a LOT of work
I added my own commentary…

Next time you see a pick up game, watch. 90% of the shots will be from these areas.

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