Randy Witman

Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman on long 2s: ‘You know what? Those numbers you can stick… alright? You know, all you analytical people that take that’

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In simple terms, there are four types of shots by location:

  • Short 2s (at the rim)
  • Long 2s (defined here as everywhere else inside the arc, which is a different definition than commonly used)
  • Short 3s (corners)
  • Long 3s (above the break)

Here’s a breakdown of how many points per shot NBA teams score from each of those locations:

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This doesn’t account for how likely drawing a foul or turning the ball over is while hunting each type of shot, but you get the basic outline. Short 2s are ideal, followed by short 3s then long 3s. Long 2s should be a last resort.

That’s pretty intuitive. There are no style points for making a long 2 rather than a short 2 or a long 3 rather than a short 3. And because there’s typically greater distance disparity between long and short 2s than between long and short 3s, the gap in value inside the arc is greater.

Of course, not every team fits this model. Different players have different strengths, and that could shape where teams shoot from. Let’s look at the Washington Wizards (in red) relative to the NBA averages (still in blue):

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As you can see, the Wizards are better than league average at short 2s, short 3s and long 3s and worse than league average at long 2s. But the overall value of each Washington shot ranks in accordance with the rest of the league.

So, the Wizards should try to generate – in order – short 2s, short 3s and long 3s.

Easier said than done, obviously.

Defenses exist, and they’re trying, too. Really, defenses would prefer to contest every shot, but like offense, playing defense is hard. That’s why many good defenses focus on taking away short 2s, short 3s and long 3s – leaving the less-damaging long 2s open.

To counter, good offenses either get good long-2 shooters, or they work even harder to avoid shots from that range. It’s a constant battle.

Except in Washington.

See, the Wizards will gladly take those long 2s. Wizards coach Randy Wittman, via Kyle Weidie of TruthAboutIt.net:

“You take open shots. You take open shots. Where they are is dictated by what the defense does. If you predicate what kind of shot you’re going to take not based on what you’re doing reading the defense, you’re not going to get good shots. I just worry about goods shots.

You know what? Those numbers you can stick… alright? You know, all you analytical people that take that… You take good shots, that’s the most important thing. Maybe we’re not taking good midrange shots, maybe we’re taking contested ones. I understand the numbers are there for a reason, we look at the numbers, but to sit there and… We got a good, open shot we’re taking, I don’t care where it is.”

Opposing defenses are suckering you, Randy. Those shots are open for a reason.

No NBA team shoots worse on long 2s (37 percent) and has them comprise a higher share of their total shots (46 percent) than the Wizards.

Sometimes, offenses with bad players are stuck taking long 2s. Defenses just win the battle.

But the Wizards don’t have bad offensive players. After all, they rank perform better than league average at all other locations.

They’re just too content with an open long 2 because it’s open, and that has evolved into them actually hunting open long 2s. Wittman noticed an area on the floor where he could schematically create open shots, and he thinks he’s taking advantage.

Really, he’s playing right into the defenses’ hands. He should spend more time formulating a gameplan that creates open short 2s and 3s for his players. They’re capable of delivering.

Eventually, the NBA will hit an equilibrium, where defenses guard short 2s and all 3s so well, long 2s will become efficient again.

The Wizards aren’t there. They’re just playing foolishly.

Giannis Antetokounmpo called for 10-second violation on free throw (video)

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This Giannis Antetokounmpo 10-second violation was a year in the making.

Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, it was too little, too late. Antetokounmpo still finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, four blocks and two steals in the Bucks’ 115-107 win.

Iman Shumpert injures hand while missing open dunk (video)

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Plenty went right for the Cavaliers in their 126-94 win over the Knicks last night, but there were a few snags.

LeBron James and his teammates repeatedly failed the water-bottle challenge in the closing moments (though Kyrie Irving eventually nailed it).

Kevin Love‘s nose malfunctioned.

And Iman Shumpert injured his hand while missing an open dunk.

If Shumpert was faking as an excuse for missing, he sold it hard. Defending 4-on-5 on the other end, Cleveland ceded a 3-pointer. Then, Shumpert remained hunched over while the Cavs brought the ball up-court. It seems Shumpert might have been popping back in a dislocated finger, which jibes with him staying in the game – and shows his toughness.

But it also doesn’t erase the shame of hurting yourself while missing an open dunk.

Gregg Popovich calls coaching Tim Duncan-less Spurs a ‘refreshing’ and ‘fun’ challenge

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs argues a call against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on November 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)–  For so many years, the San Antonio Spurs have been defined by their consistency, an unprecedented level of stability that has brought five championships and established the organization as a model franchise in professional sports.

The colors don’t change. The coach doesn’t change. The core never changed.

After 20 years and those five titles, change has finally come to San Antonio.

Tim Duncan, the tone setter from the moment he was drafted in 1997, retired last summer. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have taken reduced roles this season, and the Spurs brought in seven new faces as part of a rare roster shuffle as they try to retool around Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

“It’s been at the same time a challenge and a refreshing sort of situation,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “The team is changing personnel-wise and where the ball goes and a few different players so we have to do things a little bit differently. There’s a give and take, strategy wise, to fit the group. It’s been a lot of fun. Watching some of the young guys get minutes and develop has been fun.”

Fun because while the faces have changed, the results have not. The Spurs (18-4) have navigated the bumps in the road that come with unfamiliarity and have the second-best record in the league, tied the star-studded Golden State Warriors (18-3) in the win column. They have started the season 13-0 on the road and can match last year’s Warriors for the best road start in league history with a win in Chicago on Thursday night.

It hasn’t always been pretty for these Spurs. They’re not the same ruthless, precise machine that steamrolled the league during championship runs. They have had to muddle through things, overcome mistakes and struggle while they get acclimated to one another.

Newcomers like six-time All-Star Pau Gasol, steady veteran David Lee, Argentinian point guard Nico Laprovittola and shot-blocking center Dewayne Dedmon have had to work hard to integrate into a culture that is as enduring as any.

“You could see it in our games. Sometimes our offense is stagnant, our defense isn’t moving well or in our help positions,” Leonard said. “We have a big playbook on the offensive end. It’s just hard to learn it. It was hard for me to learn it. I didn’t get it down until probably my second or third year. We’ve just got to keep giving a consistent effort and being into the game and into our playbook and just keep moving from there.”

The result has been a team that tends to start slow, fall behind and then gradually digs its heels in. They are 5-4 at home, where they only lost once all of last season. They’ve lost to the Magic at home, were thumped by the Clippers and have not recaptured the breathtaking form they showed in a 29-point win at Golden State on opening night. But the wins keep coming.

“I think the first eight to 10 games was the coaching staff trying to figure out what lineups we’re going to play and there were a lot of changes, a lot of trying what works best,” said Gasol, who signed as a free agent this summer. “But now I think there’s more consistency, there’s more defined lineups. Guys know when to come in, when they’re going to play and what’s expected of them.”

The Spurs have won 13 of their last 14 games, and Popovich has leaned on his core more than he has in years to get them off to a good start. Leonard and Aldridge both average more than 33 minutes per game, the first time San Antonio has had two players averaging that much playing time since 2008-09.

“It’s been interesting to see how the team develops and comes together and who the leaders will be without Timmy being that overriding factor for so long,” Popovich said.

Leonard, for years the ultra-quiet storm trooper of the Spurs army, has been much more vocal this season. Gasol’s personality and approach have been a perfect fit as most expected and Ginobili and Parker are still there to help filled the void left by Duncan’s retirement.

And little by little, the new guys are getting up to speed.

“They’ve done a great job of making it easy for us and for Pop to throw them into the fire and trust them to know the system,” Green said. “We’ll continue to help them and they will continue to be sponges and absorb it.”

Kyrie Irving sticks water-bottle challenge before Cavaliers-Knicks buzzer (video)

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The Cavaliers were trying the water-bottle challenge on the bench late in their 126-94 win over the Knicks last night, but the national telecast showed Cleveland players only failing to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor – including an erratic attempt from LeBron James that bounced onto the court.

Thankfully, the local post-game show had an angle of Kyrie Irving nailing the bottle flip just before the game ended, his toss just leaving his hands before the final buzzer. Count it!