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Stat of the Week: Morey percentage

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In this week’s edition of SOTW, I go outside the box a bit and track the most valuable shots on the floor.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Statistically speaking, the most valuable shot in the NBA is a layup at the rim, followed by a three pointer from the corner.

Through many years of analyzing shot selection this has become common knowledge in NBA circles. Getting to the free throw line can also be quantified as a valuable skill, given the high points per possession it yields.

There are many shot metrics that quantify percentages, but few that look at the value of shots in these three areas in combination. For now, I will start basic by looking at the total amount of shots the Denver Nuggets attempt in these areas versus overall. In tribute to Daryl Morey, I will call this the “Morey percentage.” Shooting numbers are current as of Sunday, January 15th.

Morey Percentage for Nuggets players

TSA stands for total shots attempted this season, and MS% is the amount of these “valuable” shots divided by total shots attempted.

Here are three takeaways from the above chart:

The Veterans need work on shot selection

For most players, the goal should be to keep MS% as high as possible. The number that I’m looking for players to cross in MS% is 70 percent. With a facilitator like Nikola Jokic on the floor and an additional point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay, there are a limited amount of reasons for this Nuggets team to be settling for mid range looks. If they are open, fine, but that should only account for a small portion of the looks, rather than the contested ones that occur due to lack of ball or player movement.

Wilson Chandler, Jameer Nelson, and Will Barton present the main issues in this regard. Each of the three love to create their own looks off the dribble and too often settle for a sub par midrange jump shot. Only Nelson has a legitimate case to be taking these shots in a contested situation, as he makes 46.2 percent of his shots between 16 feet and the three point line. Danilo Gallinari also shoots nearly 20 percent of his total shots (including free throws) in between 16 feet and the three point line, but Gallo is saved by his high free throw and three point totals.

Nikola Jokic is excluded from this exercise

Why? Just because he’s the star doesn’t mean he gets special treatment!

Well, until you take a look at his efficiency that is:

Shot Distance (feet) 0-3 3-10 10-16 16-<3 3P
Nikola Jokic field goal percentage 71.2% 56.8% 61.3% 52.4% 35.7%

Those percentages in the mid range are simply ridiculous. Anything above 45 percent is pretty good, and on decent volume, Jokic is shattering those numbers. To my knowledge, there is nobody in the entire NBA shooting that well from those distances. He more than makes up for taking these types of shots, so with him, MS% is basically a non-factor. For players that don’t shoot efficiently from those zones (AKA 98 percent of the NBA), MS% is definitely advisable.

Juancho Hernangomez needs more minutes

Over 92 percent of Hernangomez’s total shot attempts come from the most efficient areas on the floor. This is no fluke. When watching Juancho operate on the floor, he understands his role perfectly as a complementary player, spacing the floor all the way to the corners or cutting hard to the rim. He shoots above 60 percent from 0-3 feet and above 40 percent from beyond the arc, so the only question is why he doesn’t receive more time? It might be in Denver’s best interest to move on from one of their veteran forwards that don’t operate as well within the flow of the offense. Hernangomez has shown a willingness and an ability to do exactly what he should be doing in his limited minutes, and it’s time to see just how talented he is in extended minutes.

That’s it for this edition of Stat of the Week. Make sure to comment down below what I should cover next!