The Fetishized Mid-Range Jumper, Starring Carl Landry and Jason Thompson

Sunday against Cleveland, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson combined to play 87-1/2 minutes.

  • In the first quarter, Thompson took three shots: one at the rim, a 13-footer on the right baseline, a 15-footer from the free throw line. He made all three. Landry took six shots in the quarter. He made a 15-foot baseline jumper, an 18-footer from the top of the key, and one basket at the rim. He missed one at the rim, a 9-foot jumper in the key, and a 17-foot left angle jumper. So the pair took a combined six mid-range jumpers, and made three. Encouraging, right?
  • In the second quarter, Thompson took four shots: a one-foot bunny (made), an eight-footer from the left side of the key (made), a 19-footer right angle pop (missed), a 19-footer from the left baseline (missed). Landry took two shots in his six minutes in this quarter: a right elbow 18-footer (made) and a 16-footer from the left baseline (missed). For the quarter, the pair was 2-5 from the mid-range. For the game, the forwards are now five of 11 from mid-range, and 2-3 at the rim.
  • In the third, Thompson took just two shots: a bunny at the rim (missed) and a 12-foot left angle pop (missed). Landry took five shots (and his only pair of FTs in the game). Landry made a six-foot jumper in the lane, and three shots from the left angle (from 15, 17 and 19 feet). He missed a 19-footer from the right angle. The forwards are now 2-4 at the rim, and 9-17 from mid-range.
  • In the fourth, Thompson took two more shots: a nine-foot hookish deal (made) and a top-o'-the-key 19-footer (missed). Thompson also earned (and made) four FTs. Landry took four shots, missing them all. There was a nine-foot jumper in the lane, a 19-footer from the right angle, and 20- and 21-footers from the left side. On the quarter, the pair was 1-6 from mid-range. On the game, the pair finished 2-4 at the rim (50 percent) and 10-23 (43%) from mid-range.

Now, did the mid-range jumper abandon the forwards late? I mean, after all, the dudes shot 50 percent on jumpers in the first quarter, nearly 50 percent through the first half, and 53 percent through three quarters. Ought we chalk the fourth-quarter cold spell to an "Aw shucks!" and a "Dag nabit"?

Do you know what Carl Landry shoots from the mid-range (6-23 feet) this season? Forty-one percent. And Thompson? Thirty-nine percent.

So ought we expect these gentlemen to shoot 53 percent from mid-range for the game, as they did through three quarters? Or ought we expect them to shoot closer to 43 percent, as they did over the entire game once you account for the awful fourth?

This game -- and a large of Thompson's season, frankly -- wasn't about good shots not falling. It was about mediocre shots not falling as expected. We all love Jerry Reynolds, but there is nothing automatic about a jumper from either of these guys. We see the makes, the smooth makes, and we remember them. But the misses are plentiful, and this shot is just not effective. For almost no player in the league, really. Even the incredible Beno Udrih -- his least effective shot is from 16-23 feet! The mid-range shot is death to offense, bottled and sold as versatility. You want versatility in your big men? A jumper is not it. Passing skill, defense, speed and ballhandling skill in transition, rebound -- that's the type of versatility you want. The big man jump shot is just a gateway drug to bad offense.

The three teams which take the greatest share of their shots from 16-23 feet are Chicago, Washington and Miami. Those teams' rank in offensive rating are, respectively, 27th, 25th, and 19th. This is not a coincidence. The mid-range shot blows, and the Kings ought to stop encouraging so many from these able and strong big men.

Forty cakes to HoopData for the, uh, data.

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