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October 02, 2012

Why 18-foot jump shots don't do much for Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap

    New Charlotte Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said Monday he’s not high on his team taking a lot of mid-range jump shots this season. I asked him to explain why.

                “Math,’’ Dunlap replied, adding every sport is a little into “Moneyball’’ reasoning these days.

                “Moneyball’’ was the bestselling book about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, and how he used nuanced statistics to build a more cost-effective baseball roster. In basketball, if you grid a court -- charting the likelihood a player will make a shot, versus that shot’s potential value -- the mid-range jump shot isn’t an optimal bet.

                It works this way: Driving to the rim often creates a high-percentage shot, plus the bonus of a potential trip to the foul line. And a made three-pointer pays 1 ½ times the value of any jump shot inside the 3-point line.

    Dunlap isn’t saying he’d bench somebody for taking an open 18-foot jump shot. But he watched a lot of video from last season, and saw the Bobcats constantly defaulting to those shots.

     “We really want to play off the rim, the paint and the open 3(-pointer). I’m not big on middle jumpers,’’ Dunlap said. “The Bobcats took more of them last year than anybody in the NBA. They’re the least valuable shot you can get, where the most valuable is the free throw.’’

    “You need to attack the rim in one manner or another. Getting to the free throw-line says that you’re doing a lot right.’’

                Dunlap used point guard Kemba Walker to illustrate his point: Then-rookie Walker was great last season at penetrating to within six feet of the basket, but had limited success finishing those plays successfully. Dunlap said it’s the coaching staff’s challenge to help Walker discover how to turn that dribble-penetration into baskets and shooting fouls.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 2, 2012 at 08:02 AM | Permalink


A lot of coaches will tell you that long 2pt shots are the worst. If you going to shoot form 18ft, you may has well take 2 steps back and shoot the 3...

Posted by: truth_cutz | Oct 2, 2012 8:09:43 AM

The more of Dunlap I see, the more I like him. He's certainly not going to nod off during games like the last coach. I'm starting to understand why George Karl is so high on him - his limitless energy, his desire to teach the players what they need help with, his understanding of the nuances of the game. It took 8 years, but I think we finally found our coach for the long haul.

Posted by: J | Oct 2, 2012 8:20:10 AM

It's refreshing to hear Dunlap talk basketball. I'm sure some of these things are commonly heard around NBA teams but it does allow us fans to learn a little.

Posted by: buckshot jenkins | Oct 2, 2012 8:33:23 AM

Cats who can attack the rim: MKG, TT, Bismack, Hendo

Cats who can drain the 3: Gordon, Mullens, Taylor, Williams, Carroll

Teach Kemba and Sessions how to feed these guys at the right time and you have the balanced attack Dunlap wants. It's not going to be an overnight thing but if the cats make steady improvement it's gonna be fun to watch.

Posted by: apauldds | Oct 2, 2012 11:44:44 AM

This "article" is in direct opposition to the quote that was attributed to Dunlap in the article on Tyrus Thomas.

"Offensively, he has some wonderful 18-foot kill spots (optimum places to score)."

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/10/01/3571299/searching-for-a-rebound.html#storylink=cpy

Posted by: knhart | Oct 2, 2012 7:10:43 PM

The 20 foot jumper is a problem. The 15-18 footer is an essential part to any balanced offense. If your team is a drive and kick model......you can watch the orlando magic of recent years and see how many championships they've won.

meanwhile, how many 17 foot jumpers has kobe made a living off of in the triangle. I agree with the logistics of his point, but the mid-range game is something great teams have. it's something that realistically can't be taken away because other threats are more deadly.

and it's the absolute best part of henderson's game. I'd also probably prefer mullens a few steps in than from the 3 line. he's probably a higher % shot. Here's some math......if a guy is a 50% mid range shooter and a 30% 3 point shooter, the mid range is more points per shot. You're also more likely to get fouled on a 15 footer than on a 3.

the logic is there, but the application depends on the individual player and their strengths. kemba walker for example should not be shooting 3's until he can make 36% or more.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 2, 2012 8:07:36 PM

Last season the Cats were mostly stuffed in the paint and generally low percentage from everywhere else. I'm not sure the 2012 roster changes will solve those problems.

Posted by: Airbrush87 | Oct 2, 2012 8:18:37 PM

The mid range J is one of the most beautiful part of the game. Dunlap needs to have a talk with mj.

Posted by: crymeariver | Oct 2, 2012 8:56:29 PM

I think the coach is wrong if he's thinking of taking the mid range shot away as a weapon. It's the long range two pointer he should be taking out of the offense but even then, it should be player to player. Coaches know that players shoot the long range two poorly so they attempt to channel opposing players to that area and it creates less fouls for the offense. But to blanket can the mid range is dumb. It's actually a lost art and very effective, the one around the foul line, in the playoffs.

Had James Harden , who was chased off the 3 pt line into the middle had a midrange shot , the Heat would be sitting home ringless. This is Hendersons bread n butter . It was Mj's too. It's Wade n Kobe's primary weapon too.

Posted by: Ironman | Oct 3, 2012 7:54:02 AM

I say, I agree with you guys.
There is a reason we took all those shots from midrange. Teams said if you can make it take it and clogged the lane. If he(coach) is talking 6ft and under , I think that is what we have been trying to do.
I'm afraid Dunlap is going to find out quickly that attacking the rim "is easier said than done". The refs. are not going to give us the calls we want(ask DJ), then opponents clog the lane and then Their we are again, midrange jumpers!

Mullens yeah believe he is a couple of steps out of his range at the 3pt line "per Summer play"(except for the one night). However if he is going to take a long jumper may as well step behind the line.
CRAP! I don't even like talking about Mullens and 3's and long jumpers, he has so much to offer down low!!
So anyway definitly player to player.

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Oct 3, 2012 11:10:59 AM

he definitely has a post game. honestly, he SHOULD be our go-to guy this season. see where it takes him. he develops into a poor man's nowitski and we have our selves a team. if he doesn't, at least we know we can definitely afford to take a mcadoo type next year to play the post and not be multiplicative at the position.

i think summer league was different because it was mullens' first game experience launching 3's at will. if he develops that shot with consistency a la ryan anderson, rasheed, gallo or bargani, that makes us very dangerous. helps MKG and hendo and walker a ton. no question I'll take mullens shooting 3's over any of those guys. but he's money in the mid range. i mean "shooter"©antione fuqua should absolutely be his nickname. he's that old school middle america farm kid with a J. that's still deadly in this league.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 4, 2012 6:57:36 PM

NO question Automatic, count it! from midrange. I would love to see Mullens as our "go to"... Maybe it's just me, but you see the flashes its there, this guy could be a nightmare for other teams from just about anywhere... feed him down low, kick it out to him... so much! Instill the confidence, then he maybe strong on the boards, cherry on top!
Making him the go to guy gets me pumped thinking about it... 7ft. Big,Strong with that stroke... MAN! Get him to find his confidence, the inner mean streak maybe he could be a Middle class mans Nowitski.
Anyway maybe going a little far, but you can just see the flashes.

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Oct 5, 2012 11:00:35 AM

poor man's nowitski is good enough. the difference between the 2 is the handle and range. but mullens could be a better post player and a better defender if he decided to.

he's what? 23? he's got a good 3 or 4 years before he even enters his prime. they need to invest in these guys if they want results. biyombo is 20. there's no reason why in 3 years he can't have a dependable emeka okafor'esque post game. give you 12-15 points on the block mostly on put backs and a few dump offs and couple that with 10+ boards and 3 blocks. if we get THAT out of our frontline, point guard is the only issue and considering we will have a top 10 pick this year and quite possibly 2 the following year, we shouldn't have a hard time finding the right guy for that job.

then we could be looking at a

point guard to be named, hendo, mkg, mullens, biyombo lineup with walker, taylor, big man to be named leading the bench unit.

if we just develop what we have and ride out with them, there's a ton of promise in this group. it's not like we're looking at guys like terrence williams, cole aldrich, jimmer fredette, epke udoh, types not knowing if we have something at all.

we have guys who have IT just aren't ready yet. we just have to get them ready. get them consistent. walker probably won't ever be. mullens might not be. biyombo might not be. henderson is and will continue to be. mkg and taylor look like they both will be hendo'esque. the other 3 guys you have every reason to invest this entire season in trying to find out if they are or aren't.

no reason to give take playing time away from them and give it to sessions, gordon, and haywood until they prove they aren't going to become anything.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 5, 2012 2:14:11 PM

Mostly a Joke about Mullens(Middle class Nowitski).
Yes, young and still impressionable by a seems to be Motivating coach!

Biyombo(Emeka) softer more reliable hands. Sorry but this drives me nuts if nothing else(juggs machine with a softball or beachball?)!

MY opinion only, but I am going to find it hard to see the potential of these guys if Kemba is distributing. Hope I am wrong!
And hell yes there is talent to be "weeded" out or developed. Alot! more than people think.

No offense, just opinions and guess this is all talk for now... but GETTING READY TO FIND OUT!


Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Oct 5, 2012 11:06:37 PM

No misunderstanding I agree 100% with you. Concerned about Kemba and developing the other guys!

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Oct 5, 2012 11:15:24 PM

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