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.

Miami reportedly not interested in Ryan Anderson trade with Houston

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The rumor had been out there for a few days, the Houston Rockets would be interested in trading Ryan Anderson — a contract and player they have tried to move for more than a year now — to the Miami Heat for Tyler Johnson or James Johnson. Rockets’ fans liked that idea, for good reason.

The Heat… not so much. From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Regarding rumors about a Heat trade involving Houston forward Ryan Anderson, that’s not something that interests Miami at this time, according to a league source.

Both USA Today and ESPN have floated the idea of Houston trading Anderson and a draft pick to Miami for Tyler Johnson or James Johnson. But while that would appear to interest the Rockets, it’s not something the Heat has found appealing.

Acquiring Anderson would increase Miami’s luxury tax bill, because Tyler Johnson is making $19.2 million each of the next two years compared with $20.4 million and $21.3 million for Anderson. James Johnson is due to make $14.4 million, $15.1 million and $15.8 million the next three seasons, but the Heat values his skill set.

This is often how rumors get more momentum among fans than they have traction with teams. The USA Today’s Sam Amick is incredibly well connected and doesn’t publish things frivolously, and this was clearly something that the Rockets kicked around. As they should. However, to make a trade work both sides need to feel they are winning it, and it’s hard to make a good case the Heat thought they were going to be in a better position after this trade. So it dies. As do 98 percent of trade talks between teams.

It takes two sides in getting something they want (or, in some cases, can live with) to make a trade actually work. Which is why they are hard to pull off.

 

 

Oscar Robertson’s 1971 championship ring sells for $75,948 at auction

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Oscar Robertson, one of the NBA’s all-time greats and one of only two men to average a triple-double for a season, was recently given the NBA’s Lifetime achievement award. And with good reason — he was a legend on the court, but off the court his lawsuit paved the say for the NBA/ABA merger and the freedom of modern free agency.

In his career, he won just one title, with the Bucks in 1971. (He got it when he joined the Bucks and paired with a young Lew Alcindor — not yet Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — just a reminder for the “count the ringzzzz” crowd that basketball is now and always was a team sport that requires multiple stars and quality role players, plus a little luck, to win a title. Nobody can do it on their own and context matters.)

Robertson recently put his championship ring up for auction, and it fetched $75,948.

That was one of 51 items from The Oscar Robertson Collection put up for auction, which also included game-worn jerseys, his Indiana State championship ring from high school, and more.

Jahlil Okafor says he’s “learned how to identify and manage different stressors such as anxiety”

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Jahlil Okafor is trying to take advantage of his chance with the New Orleans Pelicans this season.

He talked about it in an Instagram post, and most people focused on the pictures of his improved physique. Which is improved.

My summer of transformation: First off I want to thank @idanwan & @dzandertraining for getting after it with me the moment my season ended. Grateful to have two of the best in their respective fields work with me all summer. Although the physical changes in this photo are evident, their has been extreme growth unbenounced to the eye. I’ve learned how to identify and manage different stressors such as anxiety. Learning how to identify certain stressors has also allowed me to over come them. Often times because of my size and profession people may view me in a certain way, but in reality I deal with the same struggles as countless others. Mental health awareness is a cause I will fight for the rest of my life and if you’re struggling today don’t be afraid to speak with someone and seek help. I would like to thank @kevinlove and the @playerstribune for helping me identify my feelings and informing me what I was dealing with was in fact normal. 6 weeks left in the off season; with a lot more work to do!

A post shared by Jahlil Okafor (@jah8) on

However, the text was interesting:

I’ve learned how to identify and manage different stressors such as anxiety. Learning how to identify certain stressors has also allowed me to over come them…. Mental health awareness is a cause I will fight for the rest of my life and if you’re struggling today don’t be afraid to speak with someone and seek help. I would like to thank @kevinlove and the @playerstribune for helping me identify my feelings and informing me what I was dealing with was in fact normal.

NBA players stepping forward and admitting they need help dealing with mental challenges and illness is a good thing. Kevin Love helped Okafor, and hopefully Okafor talking about it will help others.

Okafor has a clean slate in New Orleans. He missed much of last season due to injury, and between his time with the Sixers and Nets he was on the court for just 353 minutes total. In New Orelans there are bench minutes available (behind Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic, and Julius Randle, but Okafor needs to show he can run the floor and play the up-tempo style the Pelicans employ. Okafor’s below the rim, back-to-the-basket offensive game, plus he poor defense, have held him back. If he’s got his body and mind right, maybe some of that can change.

Rockets waive R.J. Hunter, he’s a free agent. Again.

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R.J. Hunter has just not been able to find a home and stick in the NBA. He was a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2015 and expected to be a sharpshooter at the NBA level. He went on to play in 35 games for Boston his rookie season, but during the following training camp they cut the former Georgia Tech shooting guard. The Chicago Bulls picked him up on a non-guaranteed minimum contract, he played a total of three games for them, then was cut loose. Houston eventually had him on a two-way contract the second half of last season, where he played five games for the big club and spent most of the season in the G-League.

He played for the Rockets at Summer League and averaged 11.2 points a game on just 40 percent shooting. Now, the Rockets have cut him loose, too. Via Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (for now, he moves over to The Athletic in the coming weeks).

Hunter will look for another chance in the NBA via the G-League, although he may be at the point he considers the overseas money he could earn.

In the G-League last season, playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, he averaged 20.4 points per game with an impressive 60.4 true shooting percentage, and shot 37.7 percent from three. However, he has never been able to transfer those numbers, or anything close to it, over to the NBA level. He has tried to broaden his game and be more than a shooter, but the consistency has just never been where he needs it to be.

He has talked about learning and maturing through all of this. Hopefully he has, and it pays off for him at his next stop. Wherever that may be.