Thursday, July 18, 2013

From Way Downtown

Upon being asked why he shot so many three's, Antoine Walker responded: "Because there are no four's." (Sports Illustrated, August 2005, Adam Duerson.)

One of the most daring and challenging shots is the super long-range three pointer. Three's are already difficult at the NBA distance, and you don't get an extra point for shooting even further out, but there's something intimidating in seeing an opponent take a 30 foot jump shot and swish it. Using b-ref's play index, I tabulated all the super long shots from 2001 to 2013, including the playoffs, to determine who was truly the best at these absurd distances.

The 27 to 29 foot range is a more typical "from way downtown" range. Curry, not surprisingly, is king here, while another accurate sniper in Nash brings up second. Even though Curry is still a young guy, he has over 200 such attempts, so his range is definitely plus 27 feet. Villanueva is, however, surprising, as he's not known for high percentage shooting or deep range like JR Smith is. The list is populated either by precise snipers or guys known for bombing/chucking away. At the other end of the spectrum is Allen Iverson, who shot 16.3% on 245 attempts. This distance is definitely a problem for most shooters, as the average percentage over the 13 years was 29.4%.

Table 1: 27 to 29 foot shots, 2001-2013, >100 FGA
Player
FG
FGA
FG%
%Ast
Stephen Curry
87
208
41.8
52.9
Steve Nash
52
129
40.3
42.3
Charlie Villanueva
45
114
39.5
100.0
J.R. Smith
101
263
38.4
77.2
Mike Dunleavy
43
114
37.7
97.7
Brent Barry
47
125
37.6
85.1
Mike Miller
78
208
37.5
85.9
Ray Allen
105
287
36.6
79.0
Joe Johnson
129
353
36.5
72.1
Dirk Nowitzki
37
102
36.3
83.8
Jameer Nelson
38
107
35.5
63.2
Mike Bibby
114
326
35.0
91.2
Caron Butler
35
101
34.7
60.0
Eric Gordon
44
127
34.6
88.6
Vladimir Radmanovic
35
102
34.3
94.3
Brandon Jennings
44
129
34.1
56.8
Chris Paul
51
150
34.0
52.9
Deron Williams
36
106
34.0
47.2
Paul Pierce
70
208
33.7
82.9
Clifford Robinson
40
119
33.6
97.5
Chauncey Billups
124
370
33.5
54.0
Kyle Lowry
36
109
33.0
58.3
Rasheed Wallace
71
218
32.6
100.0
Aaron Brooks
37
114
32.5
73.0
Vince Carter
93
288
32.3
72.0
Tim Thomas
41
127
32.3
97.6
Jamal Crawford
82
255
32.2
67.1
Derek Fisher
54
168
32.1
79.6
Kyle Korver
55
172
32.0
90.9
Michael Redd
44
138
31.9
81.8
Antoine Walker
72
227
31.7
93.1
Peja Stojakovic
41
130
31.5
82.9
Rashard Lewis
40
127
31.5
80.0
Louis Williams
38
121
31.4
47.4
Gilbert Arenas
78
249
31.3
61.5
Ben Gordon
46
149
30.9
63.0
Jason Richardson
53
172
30.8
84.9
Al Harrington
38
124
30.6
100.0
Baron Davis
114
374
30.5
45.6
Mo Williams
52
172
30.2
69.2
Tracy McGrady
80
271
29.5
66.3
Rafer Alston
45
153
29.4
71.1
Stephen Jackson
55
187
29.4
74.5
Hedo Turkoglu
52
177
29.4
75.0
Antawn Jamison
35
120
29.2
100.0
LeBron James
64
220
29.1
40.6
Chris Duhon
43
148
29.1
72.1
Chucky Atkins
53
184
28.8
92.5
Kobe Bryant
168
585
28.7
69.6
Danny Granger
32
113
28.3
96.9
Nate Robinson
33
118
28.0
60.6
Quentin Richardson
47
169
27.8
89.4
Reggie Miller
30
109
27.5
83.3
Jason Williams
61
222
27.5
55.7
Dorell Wright
27
101
26.7
88.9
Metta World Peace
42
158
26.6
76.2
Andre Iguodala
30
114
26.3
53.3
Jason Terry
36
137
26.3
83.3
Stephon Marbury
41
157
26.1
39.0
Jerry Stackhouse
28
110
25.5
82.1
Kevin Durant
29
116
25.0
82.8
Lamar Odom
43
177
24.3
67.4
Lindsey Hunter
24
108
22.2
75.0
Monta Ellis
24
109
22.0
54.2
Jason Kidd
22
115
19.1
72.7
Allen Iverson
40
245
16.3
72.5

For shots 28 to 39 feet, certainly long enough to quality for deep three-point shooting but also excluding distances that are definitely "half-court desperation heave" length, Brent Barry appears to be the most accurate, although it's in limited attempts. (27 feet was excluded because of how popular it was; clearly it was still within the normal range of NBA shooting.) Mike Bibby, surprisingly, has taken a large sum of these shots while maintaining great efficiency. Some of the other names that are near the top of the leaderboard aren't surprising -- Mike Miller, Arenas, Joe Johnson, Vince Carter, and Stephen Curry. One notable guy, Antoine Walker, definitely takes a lot of deep three's but is (of course) not very accurate. Some other stars like James and Kobe like to heave long shots but have low percentages. Carmelo, for example, has taken 52 of these but only connected on 7.7%. But the award for worst shooting goes to former high school to pros point guard Telfair, who shot 30 of them and made zero.

Table 1: 28 to 39 foot shots, 2001-2013, >30 FGA
Player
FG
FGA
FG%
%Ast
Brent Barry
16
37
43.2
75.0
Mike Bibby
49
123
39.8
87.8
Jose Barea
13
33
39.4
69.2
Mike Miller
26
69
37.7
80.8
Gilbert Arenas
32
92
34.8
50.0
Joe Johnson
50
148
33.8
66.0
Nick Van Exel
10
31
32.3
40.0
Vince Carter
35
109
32.1
60.0
Marco Belinelli
12
38
31.6
75.0
Steve Nash
10
32
31.3
50.0
Ronald Murray
12
41
29.3
66.7
Louis Williams
16
55
29.1
37.5
Clifford Robinson
9
31
29.0
100.0
Dirk Nowitzki
10
35
28.6
70.0
Stephen Curry
13
46
28.3
53.8
Rasheed Wallace
11
39
28.2
90.9
Al Harrington
9
32
28.1
100.0
Kyle Korver
14
50
28.0
78.6
Lamar Odom
16
58
27.6
75.0
Jamal Crawford
33
120
27.5
57.6
Eric Gordon
11
40
27.5
100.0
Rafer Alston
11
40
27.5
100.0
Kyle Lowry
12
45
26.7
16.7
Aaron Brooks
13
49
26.5
76.9
Kevin Durant
9
34
26.5
77.8
DeShawn Stevenson
10
38
26.3
60.0
J.R. Smith
27
104
26.0
66.7
Nate Robinson
14
54
25.9
71.4
Chris Paul
15
58
25.9
60.0
Paul Pierce
16
62
25.8
81.3
Ben Gordon
9
35
25.7
55.6
Mike Dunleavy
9
35
25.7
88.9
Stephon Marbury
22
87
25.3
40.9
Tracy McGrady
23
92
25.0
65.2
Derek Fisher
14
56
25.0
57.1
Chucky Atkins
12
48
25.0
75.0
Jordan Crawford
10
40
25.0
50.0
Kevin Martin
9
36
25.0
77.8
Jeff McInnis
8
32
25.0
50.0
Rudy Gay
8
32
25.0
37.5
Steve Francis
12
49
24.5
16.7
Antoine Walker
17
73
23.3
94.1
Brandon Jennings
9
39
23.1
66.7
Monta Ellis
8
35
22.9
50.0
Hedo Turkoglu
12
53
22.6
58.3
Peja Stojakovic
12
53
22.6
75.0
LeBron James
25
111
22.5
24.0
Cuttino Mobley
8
36
22.2
75.0
Antawn Jamison
7
32
21.9
85.7
Chris Duhon
10
48
20.8
80.0
Stephen Jackson
12
58
20.7
58.3
Shane Battier
9
45
20.0
66.7
Tyronn Lue
8
40
20.0
50.0
Metta World Peace
7
35
20.0
71.4
Kobe Bryant
38
191
19.9
71.1
Ray Allen
14
71
19.7
78.6
Caron Butler
12
61
19.7
33.3
Bobby Jackson
7
36
19.4
14.3
Baron Davis
24
126
19.0
41.7
Chauncey Billups
16
84
19.0
43.8
Jerry Stackhouse
7
37
18.9
71.4
Jason Williams
14
78
17.9
42.9
Andre Iguodala
10
57
17.5
30.0
Jason Terry
10
59
16.9
70.0
Deron Williams
7
43
16.3
14.3
Michael Finley
5
31
16.1
60.0
Devin Harris
7
44
15.9
28.6
Jamaal Tinsley
5
32
15.6
100.0
Mo Williams
9
59
15.3
66.7
Ricky Davis
5
34
14.7
40.0
Earl Watson
5
35
14.3
20.0
Morris Peterson
5
35
14.3
60.0
Jason Kidd
10
72
13.9
70.0
Andre Miller
5
36
13.9
20.0
Jameer Nelson
5
37
13.5
80.0
Allen Iverson
9
67
13.4
66.7
Quentin Richardson
6
53
11.3
66.7
Jason Richardson
7
63
11.1
57.1
Raymond Felton
5
45
11.1
60.0
Carmelo Anthony
4
52
7.7
50.0
Eddie House
2
30
6.7
50.0
Sebastian Telfair
0
30
0.0
N/A

Table 3 is remarkable. Gilbert Arenas completely outclasses the competition. A three-point percentage of 47% is outstanding no matter the distance and on an all-time scale would be the best for a career; the fact that he's doing this from 30 to 39 feet with probably a few wild, Hail Mary shots is downright amazing. He's not just sniping from 30 or 31 feet, cheating the system: if you look at the 35 to 39 foot distances, no one made more than two shots, and those that did needed 15 to 25 attempts. The exception was Arenas, who made a startling 7 out of 12 shots from this super long distance. The three-point line is already 23 feet, 9 inches, and going out to the 35 to 39 foot range is like adding the free-throw distance to this remote location. Some other notorious long-range bombers are fairly high on the list, like Carter, Miller, and McGrady, but they are nowhere near Agent Zero's prowess. This is superhuman.

Table 3: 30 to 39 foot shots, 2001-2013, >20 FGA
Player
FG
FGA
FG%
%Ast
Gilbert Arenas
17
36
47.2
35.3
Vince Carter
12
38
31.6
41.7
Mike Bibby
8
28
28.6
37.5
Mike Miller
6
21
28.6
66.7
Aaron Brooks
5
20
25.0
40.0
Kyle Lowry
5
21
23.8
0.0
Dwyane Wade
5
22
22.7
40.0
Nate Robinson
5
22
22.7
60.0
Stephon Marbury
8
38
21.1
37.5
Earl Watson
4
20
20.0
25.0
Joe Johnson
8
40
20.0
37.5
Tracy McGrady
5
26
19.2
60.0
Jason Terry
6
33
18.2
50.0
LeBron James
12
67
17.9
8.3
Derek Fisher
4
23
17.4
0.0
Steve Francis
5
29
17.2
20.0
Kobe Bryant
12
70
17.1
58.3
Louis Williams
4
24
16.7
25.0
Lamar Odom
4
24
16.7
75.0
Jamal Crawford
8
55
14.5
50.0
Allen Iverson
3
22
13.6
0.0
Andre Miller
3
22
13.6
0.0
Andre Iguodala
4
30
13.3
50.0
Chauncey Billups
5
38
13.2
20.0
J.R. Smith
6
47
12.8
33.3
Tony Parker
3
25
12.0
0.0
Baron Davis
6
50
12.0
50.0
Caron Butler
4
37
10.8
25.0
Deron Williams
3
28
10.7
0.0
Jason Williams
3
29
10.3
33.3
Jason Kidd
5
51
9.8
40.0
Chris Paul
3
31
9.7
100.0
Ray Allen
3
32
9.4
100.0
Mo Williams
3
33
9.1
33.3
Paul Pierce
2
23
8.7
50.0
Morris Peterson
2
25
8.0
50.0
Jason Richardson
2
30
6.7
0.0
Jerry Stackhouse
1
20
5.0
100.0
Raymond Felton
1
22
4.5
100.0
Devin Harris
1
29
3.4
100.0
Carmelo Anthony
0
25
0.0
N/A
Mike James
0
21
0.0
N/A
Stephen Jackson
0
20
0.0
N/A

Andre Miller apparently cares little about his field-goal percentage and is the clear leader in hoisting up super-long shots (40 feet or more) and is tied with two others for the most made. In fact, since 2001, Andre Miller's three-point percentage including the playoffs has been 22.2%, but excluding the 40 foot shots it improves to 25.9%. There are a few familiar names here like Jamal Crawford, Kobe Bryant, JR Smith, but one guy who gets accused of protecting his field-goal percentage is LeBron, who's sullied his stats with 57 of these shots. Obviously, a lot of this is pure luck, as one or two lucky shots will completely change your percentage. The average percentage from this distance, by the way, was 2.9%. Another way to think about this is that the expected points per shot attempt is 0.088 points. Don't blame a close loss on refusing to take one half-court shot, but hey, a couple games here and there are affected by making these.

Table 4: 40 foot shots and longer, 2001-2013, >40 FGA
Player
FG
FGA
FG%
%Ast
Andre Miller
5
139
3.6
60.0
Jamal Crawford
3
93
3.2
0.0
Jason Kidd
5
86
5.8
20.0
Kobe Bryant
1
81
1.2
0.0
Baron Davis
4
76
5.3
75.0
Ronald Murray
0
70
0.0
N/A
Raymond Felton
4
68
5.9
75.0
J.R. Smith
0
68
0.0
N/A
Dwyane Wade
2
67
3.0
0.0
Jason Williams
2
66
3.0
50.0
Joe Johnson
2
65
3.1
0.0
Steve Blake
1
64
1.6
0.0
Andre Iguodala
3
63
4.8
0.0
Caron Butler
1
61
1.6
0.0
LeBron James
3
57
5.3
66.7
Ricky Davis
1
57
1.8
100.0
Chucky Atkins
1
54
1.9
0.0
Morris Peterson
2
53
3.8
0.0
Ray Allen
1
52
1.9
0.0
Steve Francis
1
52
1.9
0.0
Stephon Marbury
4
51
7.8
25.0
Mo Williams
2
51
3.9
50.0
Jason Terry
1
49
2.0
0.0
Anthony Carter
0
49
0.0
N/A
Michael Finley
2
48
4.2
0.0
Stephen Jackson
0
48
0.0
N/A
Derrick Rose
1
47
2.1
0.0
Carmelo Anthony
0
47
0.0
N/A
Tracy McGrady
0
47
0.0
N/A
Vince Carter
4
46
8.7
25.0
Devin Harris
1
46
2.2
0.0
Earl Watson
1
46
2.2
0.0
Manu Ginobili
2
45
4.4
0.0
Leandro Barbosa
2
42
4.8
0.0
Deron Williams
3
41
7.3
33.3
Darrell Armstrong
2
40
5.0
0.0
Paul Pierce
2
40
5.0
0.0
Nate Robinson
2
40
5.0
50.0

Three guys are tied for the lead in 40 foot shots, and oddly enough Shannon Brown with only 34 attempts is one of them. But what's impressive is that Van Excel and Tyreke Evans have 4 each with not more than 20 attempts. Given the crazy nature of these shots it's possible Tyreke won't make another one again, but he could take the crown of super-long shots. Some other long shot makers who showed up previously make the cut here again like Carter, Marbury, Walker, and Crawford. Arenas only made one out of 29 attempts, but there's nothing pathetic about a 39 foot range.

Table 5: 40 foot shots and longer, 2001-2013, >3 FG's made
Player
FG
FGA
FG%
%Ast
Shannon Brown
5
34
14.7
60.0
Jason Kidd
5
86
5.8
20.0
Andre Miller
5
139
3.6
60.0
Nick Van Exel
4
18
22.2
0.0
Tyreke Evans
4
20
20.0
75.0
Zach Randolph
4
36
11.1
0.0
Vince Carter
4
46
8.7
25.0
Stephon Marbury
4
51
7.8
25.0
Raymond Felton
4
68
5.9
75.0
Baron Davis
4
76
5.3
75.0
Antoine Walker
3
25
12.0
33.3
Marco Belinelli
3
25
12.0
33.3
Cuttino Mobley
3
30
10.0
66.7
Chris Duhon
3
35
8.6
0.0
Deron Williams
3
41
7.3
33.3
LeBron James
3
57
5.3
66.7
Andre Iguodala
3
63
4.8
0.0
Jamal Crawford
3
93
3.2
0.0

The longest shot in the b-ref database, by the way, is an 88 foot shot by Baron Davis from the 2001 season. So if any enterprising NBA player wants his name in an unofficial recordbook, here's one to shoot for if you don't care about your field-goal percentage. Now if only this were worth four points....

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