Playing effective NBA defense is more about dictating shot location than contesting shots.
To wit, here are effective field-goal percentages (which accounts for made 3-pointers being worth 50 percent more than made 2-pointers) of every NBA team for each of the five commonly used zones of the court: Restricted Area, In The Paint (Non-RA), Mid-Range, Corner 3 and Above the Break 3.
As you can see, teams are generally lumped by location on the floor.
Even the worst-finishing team in the Restricted Area (Cavaliers) shoots way better there than anyone does from In The Paint (Non-RA) or Mid-Range.
The worst team at Corner 3s (76ers) is also more effective from there than In The Paint (Non-RA) or Mid-Range, though the gap isn’t quite as wide.
Everyone except the Pistons shoots Above the Break 3s better than anyone shoots from the In The Paint (Non-RA) or Mid-Range, and only the Heat’s In The Paint (Non-RA) shots – someone is practicing their floaters – fares better.
Clearly, you don’t want to shoot from In The Paint (Non-RA) or Mid-Range. Even the best teams from those zones are inefficient relative to other areas on the court.
That’s why defending a shot that is already being taken matters only so much. The bigger key is preventing shots from certain zones being taken in the first place and promoting shots from others zones.
Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.
When both join forces…
Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.
It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.
Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.
So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.
Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:
The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”
I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.
But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.
Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice
So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.
Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.
Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.
Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.
Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.
But at least the Lakers won.