Royce Young at DailyThunder had a post yesterday focusing on Jeff Green’s scoring strengths and weaknesses from different areas of the floor. The post was in response to Green’s 25 point output the other night against Charlotte, where he spent his time dichotomously attacking the basket or launching threes, and wondering what kind of potential he has for developing a consistent mid-range game.
As part of the discussion, Young used a table showing Green’s FG% from each area of the floor for his three seasons in the NBA. This breakdown seemed to lend itself perfectly to inserting Expected Points and Point Differential, so I decided to wade in.
If you’ve missed my other posts on the subject, Expected Points uses a player’s FGA from each area of the floor and multiplies it by the average number of points scored on that type of shot to come up with an Expected Point total from that area. The Expected Point total can than be compared to the actual number of points a player scored from that area to arrive at a Point Differential. This point differential is an expression of how a player shot compared to the league average, but I like that the comparison is drawn with actual point totals.
Below is a table showing Green’s Expected Points, Actual Points and Point differential for each area of the floor over the past three seasons (all numbers are per 40 minutes):
Green has scored at a better than expected rate at the rim in all three of his seasons in the league. However, other than a good showing last season on shots from 10ft. and in, and a strong 3PT shooting performance two seasons ago, he has scored at a below expected rate from everywhere else on the floor. This has dragged his overall Point Differential into the negative range all three seasons. He has never had a year where he scored at an above expected rate on mid-range or long jumpers.
I would describe the changes in his Point Differentials year to year more as fluctuations than improvements. Last season, was his best overall in scoring on mid-range and long jumpers, but he saw a huge decline in his scoring rate on 3PTs which dragged down his overall point differential. There certainly don’t appear to be any trends which would indicate a sudden growth in his long range shooting this season, which could push his scoring from those areas to an above expected rate. It seems a good strategy for the Thunder and Green would be to focus on shooting long jumpers only when wide open, and absolutely necessary. If the team is going to count on Green for efficient scoring contributions, getting him the ball on the move and close to the basket would appear to be the best strategy.