Good Touch, Bad Touch


Before I get started, a hat tip to Madison Dan, which got me thinking about this more.

To introduce this topic, I want to take a moment to discuss one of the smartest and most insightful players to ever play the game. His accolades include words like All-Star. And Champion. He introduced the concept of 'Big Three' to Boston long before KG and Ray ever arrived. He brought his talents, and a title, to South Beach years before LeBron. The only reason we talk about Michael Jordan as the greatest to play the game and not this man is "because there are no fours." That's right. I'm talking about the man, the myth, the legend: Antoine Walker. When I discuss good touches and bad touches, Antoine Walker was way ahead of his time in knowing the proper time and place. 'Toine took almost all of his shots either at the rim or from behind the arc. Easily the two most efficient spots on the floor. And that is what I want to look at with our Wolves. Are we applying 'Toine's logic? Or, despite threes being available as a shot selection, should TWolves players be asked why they're taking so many long twos?

At this point in time, I'd like to invite all readers to take a brief bathroom break or grab some food or refreshments. Once everyone is back in their seats, we'll reconvene after the jump. I hope you'll join us.

Ahem! Everyone! If I could have your attention!

Thank you.

It looks like everyone is back and ready to go, so without further ado, let's begin. Please hold any questions/comments/rude remarks until the end.

Let me begin with this hopefully working chart of shot locations. The data is all available here. I took the liberty of turning the attempts into a percentage of their total shots. And yes, Anthony Tolliver apparently tries very hard not to have any rounding issues with his numbers. I did not fudge those. They are not even rounded. Do the math yourself, from previously mentioned link.

Player Name TM Pos GP Min % Good shots % Bad Shots WS/48 At Rim 3 to 9 9 to 15 16 to 23 Threes
Anthony Tolliver MIN PF 15 22.6 82.50% 17.50% 0.088 22.50% 2.50% 5.00% 10.00% 60.00%
Nikola Pekovic MIN C 6 12.2 73.53% 26.47% 0.082 73.53% 20.59% 5.88% 0.00% 0.00%
Derrick Williams MIN F 15 18.5 71.88% 28.13% 0.12 39.06% 9.38% 1.56% 17.19% 32.81%
JJ Barea MIN PG 6 18.7 65.17% 34.83% 0.116 33.71% 8.99% 8.99% 16.85% 31.46%
Kevin Love MIN PF 15 39.6 63.54% 36.46% 0.215 35.91% 11.05% 9.39% 16.02% 27.62%
Wesley Johnson MIN SG 15 22.3 61.76% 38.24% -0.004 17.65% 5.88% 4.41% 27.94% 44.12%
Luke Ridnour MIN PG 15 31.9 50.52% 49.48% 0.132 13.40% 7.22% 7.22% 35.05% 37.11%
Ricky Rubio MIN PG 15 31.8 48.86% 51.14% 0.149 26.14% 6.82% 7.95% 36.36% 22.73%
Darko Milicic MIN C 15 18.6 47.06% 52.94% 0.032 47.06% 41.18% 7.84% 3.92% 0.00%
Wayne Ellington MIN G 13 20.6 45.00% 55.00% 0.114 5.00% 8.33% 5.00% 41.67% 40.00%
Anthony Randolph MIN PF 12 12.7 44.19% 55.81% 0.103 41.86% 16.28% 13.95% 25.58% 2.33%
Michael Beasley MIN SF 7 31.6 39.01% 60.99% -0.06 29.08% 13.48% 16.31% 31.21% 9.93%

Let me just point out some observations before I let you make your own:

  • Look at the link I've already provided twice and check out the league average for assist % from each location. I think that plays a large part in why shots from 3-23 are all fairly consistent. Shots from 16-23 are typically open and assisted shots and still don't drop very efficiently.
  • Good Touch: Nikola Pekovic: I don't care what position you play, that's a very high percentage of shots at the rim. I think the only Center who clearly has him beat (There's the data, do the math yourself. Or should I cut your steak for you as well!?) is Tyson Chandler. His shots have started to fall and I think he's probably been a lot more efficient the last few games.
  • Bad Touch: Corey-brewer-dunks-on-derek-fisher2_medium
  • Good Touch: I just got a whole new respect for Anthony Tolliver. This is a man who knows his own limitations, but also knows the limitations of the league as a whole. Very few shots taken between 3 and 23 feet. Good for him. This goes back to SnP's brilliant take on role players in the draft: Take guys who can either score moderately efficiently with the ball in their hands or a guy who can score extremely efficiently off the ball (SnP, feel free to fix the wording here). Tolliver does exactly that. And while his shooting efficiency has fallen off a bit this year, I have no doubt that this will change and he will start canning some open shots.
  • Good Touch: Can we start Tolliver at SG? Does this make sense to anyone else or am I just crazy (crazier)? I think he could adequately guard most 2s in this league and it would partially solve our lack of a good SG while opening some more time at the 3/4.
  • Bad Touch: Beasley looks even worse than I would have guessed. Gross. And he has shot well over the league average efficiency at the rim and behind the arc this season...
  • Good Touch: Nate-robinson-blocks-yao-ming_medium

  • Good Touch?: Wes takes a high percentage of good shots... and he still sucks (though he has looked pretty solid lately).

  • Bad Touch: Ricky could do with fewer in the 16-23ft range. I'd like to see more floaters in the 3-5ft range. That would be an incredible aspect to add to his game. More so than the ability to can a three, IMO.
  • Bad Touch: 0728_large_medium
  • Good Touch: I'd like to see numbers on Rubio's assists. It seems as if they're coming mostly from the rim and behind the arc (he's near the top in assists that turn into oops AND in assists that turn into threes, don't know where to find the numbers though). By far the most valuable assists. I could be wrong, but that would make his assists even more valuable.
  • Good Touch: Derrick Williams' shot is completely broken right now. And he needs to finish better when contested near the rim. That has nothing to do with this chart, but it's true. And if he can do this, he'll be one of those highly efficient guys without the ball in his hands and a perfect complement to Rubio. What happened to his shot anyways? I mean, we all knew he wasn't going to replicate his college performance, but he's not a top 2 pick if he can't shoot at least 35% from 3 with his skillset (which could develop). I'm not worried yet, but it's starting to get troublesome.
  • Bad Touch: Kevin Love needs to stop shooting threes when he's not in frontish of the basket. He looks bad from the corners and sides. Again, not from this chart, but I haven't been able to find shooting zones since seems to have removed them and ESPN only has them by game.
  • Bad Touch: Randolph's saving grace is that he's extremely efficient at the rim. He needs to cut out the dumb shots and he's an above average starter for sure.
  • Bad Touch: Beasley part deaux: He's not a shot creator. He's a shot settler. If he's not going to get to the rim, he has to pass the ball away and let someone else create. Once he starts jabstepping he should pass immediately. Start moving the second you get the ball and your shot with 8 second still on the clock won't turn into an 'all else failed iso' play. So talented... so bad...
  • Bad Touch: 628x471_medium

  • Looking at the WS/48, you'd have to think guys like Tolliver, Wes, Nikola, and Beasley will go up while Luke and Wayne might be the only ones who drop. I have no idea what will happen with Williams.

  • And back to Madison Dan's post: Bad Touch: He brought up a terrific point that Wayne is in a hot streak right now and his shots are still very similar to the past, maybe even worse. I have thought that about a lot of his shots, that they're not the smartest shots but they've been dropping anyways. Well hopefully that keeps up, but I'd rather seem him play more like Tolliver. If it's not a three, you better end up in the lane and near the hoop... unless he's wide open. Then it's just like a college three and I'm pretty comfortable with Wayne and Luke taking wide open long twos within the flow of the offense. Asa long-time backer of Wayne's though, it has been fun to see him finally playing well over multiple games. He's seemingly intelligent, too athletic, and too good of a shooter to not put together at least a respectable career as a high-end 6th/7th man or starter on the right team.
  • Good Touch: Adriana-lima4_medium

  • Notice anything I missed? I'm sure there are plenty of things to gather from a chart like this, even as simple as it is.


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