The three point shot is one of the most exciting things to watch in basketball. There is no denying the fact that it’s a very powerful weapon for a team to possess. Like anything though, too much of even a good thing can sometimes result in negative outcomes. A good basketball coach knows the right balance and uses the shot to their advantage as opposed to their detriment.
How the Game of Basketball Has Changed
Since the 3-point shot was introduced it has provided more parity in the game of basketball. It has helped good shooting teams win games they may not have in previous years and has assisted in a lot of late game heroics. It can be a good weapon, but at what point is it a detriment to your team. Every basketball coach should analyze their teams and determine if the 3-point shot is helping or hurting their team.
Here is a simple formula to help you find how the 3-point shot is affecting you team.
Adjusted Percentage Formula
1.) Divide 2-point makes by 2-point attempts to get your 2-point shooting percentage and do the same to get your 3-point percentage.
2.) Take points made by 3-point shots and divide by 2 to get the 2-point value of your made 3-point shots. Take the number of made 2-point FGs and add the 2-point value of your made 3s.
3.) Divide that number by the total number of FG attempts to get your teams Adjusted Percentage
4.) Compare your 2-point shooting percentage to your Adjusted Percentage. If the Adjusted Percentage is better than your 2-point percentage then the 3-point shot is helping your team. If the Adjusted Percentage is lower than the 3-point shot then it is hurting your team.
The Following is an Example of Where the 3-point Shot Has Hurt a Team
1.) 2-point makes/attempts – 20/45 = 44%
3-point makes/attempts – 4/15 = 27%
Total makes/total attempts = 24/60 = 40%
2.) 4 made 3-point FGS = 12 points 12/4 = 3 (2-point value)
20 (total made 2-point FGs) + 3 (2-point value) = 23
3.) 23 /60 (total FG attempts) = 38% (Adjusted Percentage)
4.) 38% (Adjusted Percentage) – 44% (2-point percentage) = – 6%
Interpreting the Data
The Adjusted Percentage should be used as a tool to determine the effectiveness of your 3-point shooting rather than the sole criteria that decides if you are an efficient 3-point shooting team. The stats need to be measured throughout the season to make an accurate measurement of whether there is a pattern that can help you determine if your team is shooting too many 3-point shots.
Situations may be different for each game depending on the opponent’s defense, the type of FG attempts, and who is taking the shots. In order to get more precise data, eliminate any FG attempts that may come toward the end of a quarter or shots that the shooter is fouled. If possible, the Adjusted Percentage should be calculated for each player. It will provide you with solid evidence that proves to players that they need to be shooting less 3-point shots and be more aggressive.
Also, you may want to get even more precise and calculate your team’s Adjusted Percentage against zones and recalculate it against man-man defenses to find a pattern in how defenses affect your shot selection. You need to decide what percentage difference from Adjusted Percentage and 2-point percentage you are willing to live with to determine whether you should encourage your team to attack the rim more. For some teams, you may be alright with being a few percentage points below your 2-point percentage.
Also, statistics may be misleading if you have a high 2-point percentage or if you get a lot of 2-point opportunities because the defense is on the perimeter guarding against the 3-point shot. In that case, the 3-point shot has been effective because it has allowed you to get more quality 2-point shots. The purpose of the Adjusted Percentage is to provide a tool for you to use to make a decision on 3-point shots for your team as well as individual players.
One of the worst things a basketball coach can do is direct their team by “gut feelings” as opposed to what the unbiased statistics show evidence of. Take control of your team’s future by calculating whether or not you need to be creating more 3-point shots for your team or if you need to work the ball inside more and look for easy buckets.