The Big, Bad Atlanta Hawks

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm

During the playoffs, I noticed Atlanta attempting a remarkable number of jump shots.

It turns out what they did was quite astounding:

The chart above displays a breakdown of field goals attempts in the 2010 NBA playoffs.  Atlanta attempted the third highest percentage of mid-range shots. Only two other teams made it to the second round of the playoffs while shooting 36+% of their total FGA from mid-range: Boston (36.18%) and San Antonio (40.61%).  It doesn’t appear to be a recipe for success.

Generally speaking, the further away from the basket a player is, the lower the likelihood of making a shot. So mid-range shots maintain a similar level of difficulty as 3-pointers, but they remain 1-point less valuable.  Therefore, mid-range shots are the worst of these three kinds of shots.

However, I didn’t find the Hawks game play blog-worthy because of their poor shot selection alone – I found it fascinating that a team as big and athletic as Atlanta would settle like they did.

Since Mike Bibby was moved to Atlanta in 07-08, the Hawks have had one of the most consistent starting lineups in the NBA, as well as one that presents exceptional matchup problems.

Listed at 6 feet-8 inches tall, SG Joe Johnson is tied with Sasha Pavlovic and Devean George as the tallest guards in the NBA last season (min. 30 games played).

Thus making the Hawks the only team in the NBA last season with four starters over 6-8.  Only Orlando (with Vince Carter), Toronto (DeRozen) and Utah (up until Brewer was traded) routinely put out starting lineups with four players over 6-7.

The Hawks size and vast skill set have privileged them with one of the most dynamic starting 5’s of the past three seasons.    Yet they still find themselves in trouble when it comes to playing inside, as demonstrated in the chart above.

Statistics were gathered using nba.com/hotspots and Basketball-Reference.com

For the purposes of this post, the following definitions were applied:

Short Range is represented by the red area;    Mid-Range – gray area;    3-PT Range – blue area


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