The Mid-Range Shot Still Has a Place in the League
In today’s NBA, the mid-range jump shot seems to be dying out. With the rise of advanced analytics, efficiency fads, and three-point shooting, many tend to shy away from the mid-range game. The most famous coach for despising the mid-range shots is Houston Rockets head coach, Mike D’Antoni, who likes to stress only layups or three-point shots in his offensive scheme. While it is somewhat understandable for teams to be focusing more on long-range shots to compete with teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, there is actually still room for the mid-range game. How you may ask? If you take a deep look, you would be surprised at how effective the mid-range shot is still today.
The Mid-Range Shot: Where it Stands in Today’s NBA
The Mid-Range Shot: Stars who Excel at it
Like it or not, the mid-range jump shot is the bread and butter of more stars in the league than you would think. We already know how adept guys like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant are at it, but there are a few other stars who utilize it effectively. Players like Devin Booker and CJ McCollum have both shot above 45 percent from 10-16 feet this season. Other players like Jamal Murray and Kemba Walker are also finding success from mid-range and they are both hovering around 45 percent from 10-16 feet this season.
Other players have also experienced a ton of success from mid-range. One of the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson, is also deceptively great from mid-range. Last year, Thompson averaged 47.8 percent shooting from 10-16 feet. Not to mention, he also tallied a field goal percentage of 44.5 percent from 16 feet to three-point territory. That is correct, one of the best deep ball shooters in the league is also great at the mid-range jumper. As if that was not enough, then how about the reigning Finals MVP? This season, Kawhi Leonard has shot 45.9 percent from three to 10 feet, 45.5 percent from 10-16 feet, and 45.7 percent from 16 to three-point territory. By now, it should be pretty clear that the league’s elite players are great at this lost art and still utilize it, despite the current fad of “threes or layups.”
How it Has Benefited Teams
Believe it or not, most of the past champions have been great mid-range shooting teams. Last season, the Toronto Raptors ranked seventh in the league in terms of team shooting percentage from 8-16 feet as they struck it at a rate of 43.5 percent. Two seasons ago, the Golden State Warriors also showed their dominance from mid-range as they finished fourth in the NBA with a percentage from mid-range of 16.7 percent.
Not to mention, Golden State also finished ninth in the league from the 10-14 foot range in the 2016-17 campaign. For the Cleveland Cavaliers in the magical 2015 season, they shot 45.1 percent from 15-19 feet which was good enough for first in the league from this range. As we can see, the past three teams to have won a title in the past five years have finished in the top 10 in a key middle of the arc shooting category. Coincidence? I don’t think so. It is clear that the mid-range shot still has a place in today’s NBA despite what the stats may tell you.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images