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.

Check out Lakers’ stretch of hitting 15 straight shots to end third quarter (VIDEO)

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The Lakers lost to the Wizards because they are young, inconsistent, and defend like traffic cones at times.

But that young Lakers core also has its moments.

Los Angeles strung together 15 straight made buckets to end the third quarter Tuesday night. Some of it was flukey, like Corey Brewer driving and finishing contested layups like he’s Kyrie Irving, but there were things Lakers fans should want to see such as D'Angelo Russell draining threes, Jordan Clarkson working hard off the ball and his teammates finding him, and Julius Randle just attacking.

After this run the Lakers led by 13 going into the fourth, but lost the game.

It’s official: Joakim Noah cleared to play, 20-game suspension starts tonight

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What this ultimately means is next season the Knicks should have Joakim Noah available just before Thanksgiving.

Noah has been suspended 20 games for testing positive for a banned substance, but because he was out due to knee surgery the suspension did not start until he was “physically able to play.” Noah said on Tuesday that he had been cleared, but that was just by the team doctors. He also had to be cleared by the NBA’s doctors (because if teams could cheat they would).

That happened Wednesday, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Noah’s first season in New York after signing a four-year, $72 million deal has been a disappointment. To put it kindly. He’s not been completely healthy, and any observer of him the past few years had to wonder if he would ever be fully healthy again. He had lost a step from the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year before the Knicks signed him. The Knicks don’t need him to necessarily be that dominant a force again (although it would be nice), but they need to get more out of him and see if he is a fit next to Kristaps Porzingis for now as the Knicks try to build a roster for next season that can play a little defense. And the triangle.

Report: Pacers bring back Lance Stephenson in time for playoffs; deal for three-years, $12 million

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The Indiana Pacers need healthy bodies for their playoff run, and they had three rotation guys injured between Al Jefferson, Glenn Robinson III, and Rodney Stuckey. Wednesday, the Pacers waived Stuckey to create an open roster spot to bring in some help (they were not going to pick up his option for next season anyway).

Who are they bringing in? The prodigal son Lance Stephenson returns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The surprising part of the deal was the security Stephenson got, as first reported by Adam Zagoria at his blog — three years, $12 million, with a player option for the final year. (This has since been confirmed by other sources.) Other teams were looking at giving Stephenson a 10-day contract, the length of the Pacers’ offer is a surprise.

Stephenson played in six games for Minnesota recently, averaging 3.5 points per game off the bench, but an ankle sprain kept the Timberwolves from really having to decide whether to keep him for the season. Stephenson knows how to create shots for himself and can be a good defender when focused, something we saw with the Pelicans at the start of this season — he became a key part of their rotation averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game until he tore his groin.

It’s a little strange to see him back in Pacers colors. It will be particularly strange if the Pacers stay in the seven seed and the Cavaliers remain the two-seed setting up a first-round playoff series. Because I don’t think any of us need to see this again.

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Tuesday’s win gives Wizards first division crown since 1979

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Divisions are almost forgotten in the NBA. They exist still as quaint reminders of days gone by, but they don’t matter other than as a potential tie breaker with a non-division-winning team. Winning your division doesn’t even guarantee a team a playoff spot anymore.

Yet, the last time Washington had won a division title they were in the Atlantic division and when you turned on the radio you were likely to hear that new hit Heart Of Glass by Blondie. It was 1979.

That was until Tuesday when John Wall led a 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter against the Lakers to get the Wizards the win and the SouthEast division title.

According to CBSSports.com, that 38-year division title drought was longer than any team in any major U.S. professional sports — NHL, NFL, and MLB.

Congrats to the Wizards. They also have locked up home court in the first round, and they are currently the No. 3 seed in the playoffs (who they face in the first round is up in the air still as only three games separate seeds five through nine).

With Scott Brooks at the helm this feels like a far more dangerous — and healthy — team heading into the postseason. Wizards fans have waited a lot time for a team like this.