NBA Players Scoff at Mathematical Model Suggesting When to Shoot

Interesting application of math to sports.

In analyzing teams’ shot quality, shot rates and shot percentages, Skinner found that the average NBA squad has a 4 percent probability of shooting the ball when left with 15 seconds on the shot clock in their final possession. The ideal rate is 12 percent.

Skinner didn’t offer guidelines for exactly when a team should shoot. So many variables exist, particularly the subjective nature of defining a quality shot, that it’s difficult to say for certain when a shot attempt is worthy. But Skinner’s data showed teams could increase their average points-per-possession from .86 to .91 if they took the ideal shot instead of milking the clock. That works out to about 4.5 points per game. — NBA Players Scoff at Mathematical Model Suggesting When to Shoot