One of the most prominent narratives of the 2018-19 NBA season is about the dominance of Moreyball across the league – an overriding aversion to low-efficiency mid-range shots, in favor of Morey-approved looks at the rim and from three. What does this shift look like? Is the typical three-pointer really that much more efficient than the typical 18-footer? How radically has league-wide shot selection really changed? And can this change be traced to Morey’s Rockets?
Manu Ginobili retired last week after a 16-year, 4-championship career that will likely see him land in the HOF and was undoubtably great. When a player has a run as long and as durably impactful as Manu’s, there’s a natural tendancy to remember him as you last watched him play and to forget the explosive, luxuriously maned 25-year-old rookie. To remind myself of the player that Manu was been throughout his career, and to get a better understanding of his trajectory as a scorer, I’ve put together a statistical summary of where on the court Manu got his shots, how efficient he was from different spots, and how this changed over his career.
People like arguing about the relative greatness of great basketball players. This desire often sees itself expressed in…less than optimally informed ways. One way to help sharpen such arguments is to get a better feel for which players are more or less similar to each other, and thus what specific player comparisons are most salient fodder for Twitter spats. Such is my task in this post: to arrange the best scorers of the past several decades into distinct flavors, determined by where an the court they get their looks.