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The initial thought behind pure shooting came from total offense created, a metric that I created along with B/R's Kelly Scaletta in order to quantify offensive impact in one number.
This time, though, only one factor matters: shooting the ball.
How the shots were created doesn't matter, nor does the team's offensive rebounding or anything of that ilk. It's just about the percentage of the time that a player can put the ball in the basket.
A basketball court can be split up into five different areas, as sites like Hoopdata.com have done. Those zones are as follows: at the rim, three to nine feet, 10 to 15 feet, 16 to 23 feet (technically, the 23 is a fluid number because of the break in the three-point arc, but I'm simplifying it to 23) and three-pointers.
Each of the zones also has an average field-goal percentage based upon all the shots taken by NBA players over the course of the 2012-13 campaign. Those averages are as follows, according to Hoopdata:
- At the rim: 64.7 percent
- Three to nine feet: 39.9 percent
- 10 to 15 feet: 41.9 percent
- 16 to 23 feet: 38.4 percent
- Three-pointers: 35.9 percent
The metric known as "pure shooting" is derived from those zones. It's split up into multiple components, and each component score is calculated by finding the difference between the player's field-goal percentage from the zone in question and the average value (so that a positive score represents a better-than-average performance), then by multiplying that difference by the number of attempts per game from the area.
However, there are a few wrinkles.
Scoring at the rim isn't factored into the equation. While shots there are technically, well, shots, they aren't what we've come to think of as pure shooting. That involves more than just layups and dunks, so rim attempts don't matter.
Additionally, the three-point component receives a multiplier of 1.5 to account for the fact that a three-pointer is worth 1.5 times more than a two-pointer. For the purposes of justification, consider the following hypothetical.
- Player A takes 10 shots from three-point range and 10 shots from three to nine feet. He makes 49.9 percent of the closer shots (10 percent above the average) and 55.9 percent of the further ones (20 percent above the average).
- Player B takes 10 shots from three-point range and 10 shots from three to nine feet. He makes 59.9 percent of the closer shots (20 percent above the average) and 45.9 percent of the further ones (10 percent above the average).
If there were no multiplier, the players would receive the same pure shooting score. But that's illogical. Player A is clearly the superior shooter because he's providing more points for his team with the same number of attempts, even though he's the same total percentage above average.
I calculated pure scoring for 172 players' 2012-13 campaigns by adding up all of these components. In order to qualify for the rankings, a player had to be on the court for at least 24 minutes per game (half the length of a typical game, as it's necessary to play in order to make enough of a shooting impact to matter) and suit up in at least 20 contests.
From there, I've found each team's top representative, based on the current rosters, not where the players called home in 2012-13. These rankings show each team's top qualified pure shooter, sorted from the worst of the best through the best of the best.
You'll also see the individual component scores for each player, just for your added edification.