Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
How shots are 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 multiple areas, as sites like NBA.com have done. Those zones are as follows: the restricted area, in the paint but outside of the restricted area, mid-range, corner three-pointers and above-the-break 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 2013-14 campaign. Those averages are as follows, according to my calculations and the databases at NBA.com:
- Restricted area: 59.9 percent
- Paint, non-restricted area: 38.74 percent
- Mid-range: 39.03 percent
- Corner three-pointers: 39.78 percent
- Above-the-break three-pointers: 35.16 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 in the restricted area 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 components receive 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 160 players' 2013-14 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 10 contests.
These rankings show the best of the best, and, just for your added edification, you'll also see the individual component scores for each player.
Note No. 1: This text is a modified version of what originally appeared here.
Note No. 2: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from NBA.com and Basketball-Reference. They're current as of Dec. 7.