Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
You know earlier this summer I wrote about Utah Jazz shooting legend Jeff Hornacek. (Waay back July 26th, oh you didn't know? At SLC Dunk we averaged 4.3 posts a day during Q3 -- Jul, Aug, Sept -- we didn't take a break. Because Jazz fans deserve year round coverage of the team they root so passionately about). Back then I looked at how Jeff shot when he had the green light. The reason for this was a patient I was seeing then in real life told me that he felt like he could make more if he took more. Yes, a larger sample size is more accurate in showing how good (or poorly) you really are, but it got me thinking. Sports psychology is a big deal, after all I'm always talking about a young player's need for comfort and confidence on the court. Maybe this also affect how shooters shot?
So I looked into Jeff and the green light game. I looked at every game (regular season and playoffs) that he played in a Utah Jazz uniform. And I divided that into games where he had the green light to shoot, and other times when he was the round peg put into the round hole in the Jazz offense. (Passing up shots in order to work it into Karl, etc) For Jeff, and the 1990's NBA, I looked at the green light game as a game where he took 3.0 or more three point attempts in a game.
This year Randy Foye is killing it from three, and he seems to have the perma-green light. The fact that he does seems to dove-tail quite nicely with my own reckless, unaccountable bogging. (Seriously KOC -- if this is how you think of your most passionate fans and supporters, who love the team so much they use their free time to share that love with the rest of the world, then suck an ancient
dick, perhaps your own will do? lolly pop.) So then, to look at Foye, because he's playing in a new NBA with new norms, I put his "Green Light Game" to be 4.0 3PTA or more.
Here are their results side by side:
In both cases you see the percentage increase in MADE threes is higher than the percentage increase in ATTEMPTED threes. This means, if you don't get it -- that taking more attempts has an affect upon making more threes at an improved rate. I do think it IS sports psychology here, like how to 'get rolling' it's better to shoot layups or get free throws before shooting from distance (sorry Andy, if I looked into it I wouldn't be surprised to find data that backs it up -- while in the realm of logic, it should have no real effect at all).
Both Hornacek and Foye have taken 1000s of threes every year of their life since highschool, so why should it matter if they take 3 or 4 in a game? It should not. But it does. They more into the feel of the game, they get more 'touches', and their shooting instincts get a better chance to come through, instead of having to rationally micromanage when and where they can take shots. (e.g. "Coach will only give me 7 a game, and probably no more than 2 threes all game, better not jack it on my first two touches even if I'm open . . . ")
We learned from Horny's shooting that with a green light you shot better, and wished he got the green light more. Randy has the green light all season long, and while the sample sizes for Randy are small -- the positive change is quite big. SO KEEP SHOOTING!
Btw, as an aside, you can imagine that for a shooter a 'red light game' is only going to make you look worse than you really are. But I think Alec Burks and the perma-red light would know more about that this season than Randy, with the perma-green light.