Breaking Down Space In NBA Analytics Finds Granger Among Top Shooters

SI's Zach Lowe offers up an interesting piece from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference currently going on in Boston which focuses on a study of how offensive players use space. Part of that includes a study by a Harvard professor Kirk Goldsberry who introduced his CourtVision analysis.

Goldsberry broke down the offensive end of the court into 1,284 square foot sections and then analyzed five years of field goal attempts to determine who the most efficient shooters are in the NBA. Kobe Bryant was the player who attempted shots from the most squares on the plot (1,071 of the 1,284). Danny Grangerwas tenth on that list of FGA spots, shooting from 948 squares.

That's not surprising given Granger's shooting prowess under Jim O'Brien. I wonder how many of those squares were behind the three-point arc and which squares (if any!) behind the arc, Granger did NOT shoot from.

Now the surprising info from this study is in the results to identify the efficient shooters. Goldsberry defined efficiency, or what he called Range%, by a player averaging at least one point per attempt from one square. Then he tallied up which players averaged at least one point per attempt from the most of the 1,284 squares (I know, this is killing me too since I'm an English major, hang on) to rank the top ten players in Range%.

Steve Nashcame out on top of that list averaging at least one PPA from 406 squares for a Range% of 31.6%. At this point, I figured Danny Granger would fall off the list but he did not. Granger also made the Range% list, checking in at number 10 with a one PPA from 331 squares or 25.8%.

The study used shots from 2005-06 to 2010-11 and reveals Granger delivers a skill-set for the Pacers that is quite valuable. It would be interesting to see his attempts this season as it seems Granger is less reliant on the jumper and probably hitting more of those squares closer to the basket than he has in the past.

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