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Do the Hornets have the worst shot selection in the league?

Apr 5, 2011, 6:23 PM EDT

Trevor Ariza

Ryan Schwan of Hornets 24/7 thinks so:

Over at hoopdata.com there is a wonderful statistic called XeFG%…

[The X] stands for “expected”.  Hoopdata keeps track of how well players shoot from different ranges and calculates the NBA average from each of those ranges.  Armed with that information, the site can determine what the expected eFG% is for each type of shot in the NBA.  For example, they know that the average eFG% for a shot taken from 10-15 feet away from the basket is 39.2%.

So how do these numbers tell us the Hornets have the Worst Shot selection?  Hoopdata tracks the type of shots the Hornets take, and here’s the percentage of their shots from each distance.

Team At Rim <10 Feet 10-15 Feet 16-23 Feet 3-Pointers
NOR 25.6% 15.3% 10.7% 28.9% 19.3%

That particular set of shots is expected to generate an eFG% of 48.4%, which is the worst in the league.

Schwan goes on to explain that the Hornets take fewer shots at the rim than almost any other team, are in the bottom third in the league in three-point attempts, and take a ton of long two-point jumpers, which are universally far less efficient than shots at the rim and three-point attempts.

The one thing XeFG% doesn’t cover is free-throw attempts, but New Orleans only ranks 14th in free-throw rate, which isn’t nearly enough to make up for its inefficient shot selection. When Chris Paul was the runner-up for the MVP award in the 2007-08 season, the Hornets were second in the league in offensive efficiency, but they haven’t been an elite offensive team for some time now, and currently rank 18th in offensive efficiency. A healthy Chris Paul can still run an offense as well as anybody, but it’s clear that the Hornets need to incorporate some new offensive wrinkles in order to get better shots.

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