Another Example of the Potency of Kevin Martin's Ordnance: The 20/60 Club

You may remember last spring's assessment of Kevin Martin's unprecedented offensive arsenal, in which I showed that our shooting guard put up the most effective "free throws & threes" season in NBA history, shooting better than 40% from behind the arc while earning 9.5 FTAs per game. No player shooting 40% on threes (with at least one longball attempted per game) had ever drawn so many as nine FTAs on average. Only one other player -- another famous #23, Michael Jordan -- had drawn eight FTAs a game and shot 40% from three. Threes and free throws are (obviously) incredibly important, and no one in the game combines the weaponry like Kevin Martin.

(Note: Martin re-joined his own club this season, assuming his stats don't vary wildly in the remaining games. Only this time he went over 10 FTAs per game [!!!] while shooting 41% from three. And this has been a down year with an ongoing injury. Incredible.)

Here's another notch for Martin's totem.

True Shooting percentage, a metric I use often, measures shooting efficiency. Field goal percentage is the basic metric to measure shooting efficiency, but as most of you know it's not the best use because it doesn't take into account three-pointers. Three-pointers are a big deal, obviously, and shooters who make them should be credited with all three points a make earns. Using FG%, going 2-4 from three is the same as going 2-4 from two-point range. On the scoreboard -- which is what matters -- going 2-4 from three means six points; going 2-4 under the rim means four points. As such, the TS% for the three-point shooting scenario is 75% (six points in four shooting possessions) and the TS% for the two-point shooting scenario is 50%.

But what about free throws? Those matter too! How many times this season has someone referred to Martin as inefficient because of his 42% field goal percentage? Of course, Martin is among the most efficient top scorers ... because of his foul-drawing ability. True Shooting percentage says that points scored from the line should be credited in your shooting efficiency, too. If a player shooting 3-10 from the field (all twos), but also draws 8 FTAs (and makes them all), he has scored 14 points and used 14 of his team's possessions (assuming the FTAs didn't come on and-1s or technical fouls). On the scoreboard, this counts the same as a player who shoots 7-14 (all twos again) and draws zero FTAs. Again, if it counts the same on the scoreboard, it should count the same in our shooting percentage metric. With TS%, it does.

(Note: It almost does. TS% uses an estimator for shooting possessions used by free throws -- FTA x 0.44 -- to account for and-1s and techs. This has been proven to be extremely accurate on a large-scale basis, but can be a bit off in single-game situations. In those instances, the analyst can look at the play-by-play and actually count the possessions used by FTAs.)

True Shooting percentage is really the egalitarian shooting percentage metric. It doesn't discriminate as to how you get your points -- it's method is to count all your points, count all your shooting possessions, and measure the efficiency. (The actual formula, including the aforementioned FTA adjustment: [Points / {FGA + (FTA x 0.44)} / 2]. If you don't divide by 2 at the end, you get what is known as Points per Shot, or Points per Shooting Possession. Since two is the standard value for the basic basketball basket, dividing Points per Shot by two gives us something resembling FG%, which is safe and reassuring.)

In basic parlance, a 55% True Shooting is about average, or a bit better. 58% is considering good, efficient. 60% is sort of a gold standard -- hit this and you're quite efficient. A big man who has a really high FG%, like Joel Przybilla -- provided he doesn't also take and miss a ton of free throws -- will have a TS% approximately his FG%. We consider a 60% FG clip to be really great for big men (and too high a standard for guards). So it makes intuitive sense that a 60% TS would be considered strong.

This season, 20 players would have seen at least 1,000 minutes have a TS% at 60% or higher. This is typical. Four of these players also score more than 20 points per game (Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and [ahem] Martin). Last season, 24 players ran a 60% TS or better, and three of these players (Stoudemire, Howard, Martin) scored 20 points or better. In 2006-07, 18 players made a 60% TS and four of them also hit 20 ppg (Martin, Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming).

You get the points: even the best scorers aren't this efficient, and there are only a couple current players who perform this unholy alliance of high production and high efficiency. One of them is Sacramento's star shooting guard.

I took a look at the entire 20 ppg/60% TS club, and sussed out how many 20/60 seasons each club member registered. This is the result. (Note: I put together the list late last week, when Paul was under 60% TS. He's at 60.2% right now -- if he stays above the line, he'd be a first-time inductee into the club. He's not on this list, but he very well could be at the end of the season.)

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The 20/60 Club

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 11 seasons (1971-72, 1977, 1979-86)
Adrian Dantley: 9 seasons (1977, 1980-82, 1984-88)
Reggie Miller: 6 seasons (1990-93, 1996-97)
Charles Barkley: 7 seasons (1986-92)
Kevin McHale: 5 seasons (1986-90)
Kiki Vandeweghe: 5 seasons (1982-86)
Artis Gilmore: 4 seasons (1972, 1975, 1978-79)
Michael Jordan: 4 seasons (1988-91)
Amare Stoudemire: 4 seasons (2005, 2007-09)
Kevin Martin: 3 seasons (2007-09)
Magic Johnson: 3 seasons (1987, 1989-90)
Bernard King: 3 seasons (1981-82, 1984)
Karl Malone: 3 seasons (1990, 1993, 1997)
Zelmo Beaty: 2 seasons (1971-72)
Larry Bird: 2 seasons (1987-88)
Bill Cartwright: 2 seasons (1980-81)
Brad Daugherty: 2 seasons (1992-93)
Walter Davis: 2 seasons (1979-80)
Dwight Howard: 2 seasons (2008-09)
Kevin Johnson: 2 seasons (1991, 1997)
Sidney Moncrief: 2 seasons (1983, 1986)
Chris Mullin: 2 seasons (1990-91)
Larry Nance: 2 seasons (1986-87)
Dirk Nowitzki: 2 seasons (2001, 2007)
Shaquille O'Neal: 2 seasons (1994, 2003)
David Robinson: 2 seasons (1991, 1995)
Ray Allen: 1 season (2001)
Dana Barros: 1 season (1995)
Rick Barry: 1 season (1969) [Note: Hurt by lack of three-pointers during his era.)
Wilt Chamberlain: 1 season (1967)
Patrick Ewing: 1 season (1989)
George Gervin: 1 season (1977)
Penny Hardaway: 1 season (1996)
Dan Issel: 1 season (1982)
Moses Malone: 1 season (1979)
Yao Ming: 1 season (2007)
Calvin Natt: 1 season (1985)
Drazen Petrovic: 1 season (1993)
Glen Rice: 1 season (1997)
Jeff Ruland: 1 season (1984)
Peja Stojakovic: 1 season (2004)
Orlando Woolridge: 1 season (1985)
James Worthy: 1 season (1986)

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We have a special cat on our hands, ladies and gentlefolk. We're all piss-and-vinegar'd up about the Worst Season Ever, but please don't let this devolve into a "BUT CAN HE DEFEND?!?!!!!!!?" thread. Would you tell Monet to write a sonata?

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