Have you guys ever watched a movement sketch for a specific example from the play-by-play data on NBA.com? Circles, designating the players on the floor, dance around the court as they mimic the real player movements. Normally, it's rare to see more than a couple of circles stationary for any significant length of time.
That's why, when watching this movement chart depicting the Pelicans second to last offensive possession with 39 seconds remaining on the game clock against the Toronto Raptors was particularly painful. Once the ball got across halfcourt, the circle noted with the number 1, bounced around the perimeter for about 14 seconds before shooting the basketball several steps inside the arc with the number 7 draped all over him.
In real time video, Tyreke Evans contested jumpshot against Kyle Lowry looked equally as horrible.
From that spot on the floor, 16 feet out to the three point line, Evans is making 33.8% of his attempts this season. As expected, the field goal percentage drops when it's a contested shot (the defender is standing at a distance four feet or less): 22.2% (4-18).
Why, why take THAT shot?
Almost a minute earlier, Evans got a screen from Alexis Ajinca above the three point that led to a lay-up. At a minimum, why not try something like that again? This really hits hard when you examine Evan's shot chart in fourth quarter crunch time situations.
At the instance, Evans settled for last night's 19 foot jumper, David Wesley's analysis probably spoke for all of us:
Nooooooo.....I've said it before, I'll say it again. When it's game-winning shots, you have to go to your strengths. That right there was a wasted possession.
Shooting jumpers, let alone contested ones, amid a stagnant offense in the waning moments of a close game are anything but a strength for not only Tyreke Evans but a vast number of other prominent guards. Check out the shot charts of some of these other highly regarded players in the league with 5 minutes or less remaining in the 4th quarter when the difference in the score is 5 points or less.
These three NBA darlings have combined to make just 18 of their 78 attempts from midrange out to beyond the three point line. That comes out to 23.1% with the game on the line. Sure, it's better than Evans 0-15, but at the end of the day, it's all bad basketball.
Settling for bail out shots are overwhelmingly a losing proposition for the vast majority of NBA players. Now, I don't care if the opponents want to maintain the status quo (like Lowry did just moments before Evans' hero attempt), but I'd love to see the Pelicans, and in particular, Tyreke Evans change his ways. That attempt could have cost the Pelicans the win. The fantastic efforts of Luke Babbitt, Norris Cole, Alexis Ajinca among others, could have all been all for naught.
Next time, let's just run some real offense that results in a shot attempt by a player that has at least a reasonable chance of success. The Pelicans slim playoff hopes may end up depending on it.