Happy new year, everyone. Without a game tonight or much to talk about, I've decided to take my StatMuse obsession to another level by explaining a player's shot chart. You'll need a Beta Code to access StatMuse, so if you don't have one and need a chart, feel free to reach out. I've already posted several to my Twitter account.
This one belongs to Tony Wroten, who has a shot chart that has been a fruit of the analytical mind's eye since he started playing in an expanded role for the 76ers at the beginning of last season. Simply put - he avoids the mid-range shot at almost any cost, with a shot chart reflecting that.
See his chart below. For reference, the darker the color, the higher the percentage relative to league-average on similar shots.
Nearly everything is behind the three point line or in the paint with only nine mid-range attempts. Despite this he's an inefficient offensive player overall. How is that possible? And how does his game affect how this shot chart looks? The main thing you should note is this: Wroten's shot chart is completely driven by his severe left-handedness.
Wroten is so one-dimensional with his dribbling that it affects his shot distribution. And when he can't go left, because he avoids shooting from anywhere but the paint or behind the three point line, he's more likely to pull up from his weak side of the floor.
If you look at the chart about as if you were standing on the floor, Wroten pulls up from the right side of the rim behind the three point line more often than on the opposite end of the court. That's because teams try to force players away from the paint and to the sidelines as part of nearly every modern NBA defense. A guard that can drive into the middle of the paint can pass anywhere on the floor, whereas someone driving along the baseline has limited reach on his passes.
When Wroten is positioned on the right side of the court, defenders will always force Wroten to his right, his weak hand. Instead of driving at every opportunity on the right side of the floor straight to the rim, he tends to either pull up, pass out of the spot, or take a dribble and a step-back three. Neither shot in this situation is optimal, especially since the primary on-ball defender, standing to his left, will have an easy defense of Wroten's lefty jumper, because his body doesn't come between the defender and the basketball.
Combined with an inconsistent, awkward release, his jumpers from that side of the court have a lower percentage. Additionally, his midrange shots are all above the key or on that same side of the paint, likely because he tries to go left or gets stifled against the shifted defense, or because his right-handed dribble just isn't strong enough to drive all the way from behind the three point line to the rim consistently.
On the other side, it's a different story. Wroten will drive from the three point line to the rim against anyone, even going left along the baseline, and defenses give him more respect when driving, allowing him more open space on his three point shot. It's why his shooting percentage is higher so far this year from the strong side of the court.
Relatedly, Michael Carter-Williams also shoots more from that side of the court. It may be why the two have failed to mesh as a unit, as a strong-side for one of them disappears.
Wroten's shot chart is a marvel, but developing a mid-range game or floater used on the right side of the court may not be a terrible idea. But more importantly, someone needs to teach Wroten how to dribble with his right hand, or to somehow put him in position to do so less in the meantime while he's still one-dimensional.