The last decade or so has seen a rise in a very specific way of approaching how a basketball team plays offense. Basically, people believe that mid-range shots should more or less be eliminated, and teams should strive for one of three things:
- Free throws
- Shots in the paint
- Three pointers
The logic is that it’s just not worth taking a shot from mid-range – league-wide, teams this season hit about 57 percent of their attempts at the rim, while the discrepancy between mid-range shooting percentage and three point shooting percentage wasn’t too huge, per StatMuse. That first thing makes sense, but if your team’s three point success rate is only 3-5 percentage points worse than its ability to hit from mid-range, it might as well fire away.
That’s why the shot chart that the Houston Rockets put forward on Monday night during their blowout win against the San Antonio Spurs was so amazing. The team hit a bunch of shots in the paint, a bunch of threes, and a bunch of free throws. They did not hit a single shot that was taken from mid-range.