Shot charts can tell you a lot about a player. They reveal the areas he prefers to shoot from and how good he was from that particular area, among other things. By painting a picture of what a player's offensive contributions were in the past, they allow you to project how this particular player will perform in the future.
But shot charts, at least the one's on NBA.com, aren't perfect. They split the floor into somewhat arbitrary sections that don't tell the whole story. Just because two guys shoot the same percentage at the rim doesn't mean they take the shots from the same area. One guy can be better from the left side, while the other guy does most of his work from the right.
Over at Nylon Calculus, the analytics blog for the HP Blog Network, they have created "A Better Shot Chart" that looks to correct some of the issues I mentioned above. Austin Clemens, the creator of these charts, goes into much more depth, so I recommend you check that out.
Clemens has created a database of these charts for every NBA player in any season going all the way back to 1996-1997, which is a phenomenal resource. This allows us to break down what the Magic will look like on offense next season by using last season's shot charts. This isn't an end-all, be-all by any stretch, but it's a tool that is worth examining.
Today, we will start with the guards that will be playing for Jacque Vaughn next season, though we can't look at the shot charts for rookies, so that means no Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, or Devyn Marble. (Considering how Payton and Gordon shot last season in college, I doubt too many Magic fans will be disappointed by that.) We'll then take a look at the forwards and centers on Orlando's roster in the coming days.
With that, we begin.
Yeesh. I knew Oladipo was a poor shooter last season -- he had one of the worst ShotScores in the league, per Grantland's Kirk Goldsberry -- but I guess part of me was hoping to see a little more red on his chart. He's great at attacking the basket, but as you can see, he struggled to convert when he got there. He improved at this as the season progressed, so I would expect him to be much better this season, but it's still a little concerning that he wasn't able to capitalize on one of his best strengths -- his ability to blow by his opponent.
He took a lot more mid-range jumpers from the right side than the left, despite shooting better from that left elbow. The majority of those shots came off the pick-and-roll, where Oladipo was so much more confident dribbling with his right hand, so the shots naturally came from the right side. He looked more ambidextrous at summer league, but I'm guessing this still remains a minor issue.
One more thing: Oladipo rarely shot the corner three last year. If he is going to transition to playing more shooting guard, one would expect him to have to take -- and make -- a lot more of those shots.
Fournier shot 38% from three point range as a Denver Nugget last season, but that doesn't begin to tell the whole story. He was dynamite from the right wing, which may be occupied by Channing Frye next season -- more on that in a few days -- but was ice cold on the left wing, where he actually took more shots. He was fine in the corners, where the Magic should hope he improves, but shot a little better from the right side.
The mid-range is almost nonexistent in his game -- Daryl Morey must love him -- but there was one spot on the left baseline where he couldn't miss. My guess: that's a bit of an anomaly.
He wasn't great in the paint, and struggled to hit what looks to be a floater, but it's nice to see that he attacks the basket. I'm not quite sure what to expect from Fournier next season -- he said he plans on having the ball in his hands more -- but his shot chart shows he has a good foundation to build off of with a bigger role in Orlando.
Last season was a weird one for Ben Gordon. He only played 19 games and was never a regular in Steve Clifford's rotation in Charlotte. The Bobcats waived him right after the deadline passed for played to be signed and eligible for the playoffs just to spite him. As an optimist, I'm hoping I don't have to put to much stock into this shot chart.
The 2012-13 season gives us a better image of what Gordon's impact can be. He was lethal from the corners and an all-around good three-point shooter. He also had a good mid-range jumper from the right side, and you could see remnants of the elite scorer he was in his time with the Bulls.
The Magic are betting on Gordon to deliver a season like 2012-13. They need him to inject some scoring into a team that was 29th in offensive efficiency last season. I'm not sure if he can, but save for that terrible season last year, it's hard to argue with his pedigree.
Green's contributions will be seen more in the locker room than on the court, but he is a shooter who loves the corner three. He distributed his shots almost equally between the corners, but was miles better from the right corner than the left. Whenever Jacque Vaughn calls his number, Magic fans have to be hoping he can knock down that corner three. But he's not going to be a high-volume shooter for Orlando, just like he wasn't in LA with the Clippers. Don't expect him to have a huge role in the offense.
Orlando's most recent free agent signing -- and likely its last -- loves the free throw line jumper, and with good reason; defenders need to be weary of that whenever Ridnour is running the pick-and-roll. He also hits the three from the right corner at a solid clip, and has the ability to bring a scoring punch to the Magic off the bench. Like with Green, he may find minutes hard to come by -- Oladipo, Payton, Fournier, and Gordon will all get playing time before him -- and will have to be a locker room leader, filling the role that Ronnie Price occupied last season. But when he's needed, he's shown the ability to be a solid offensive piece for Jacque Vaughn and the Magic.
By: Scott Fisher