Have you ever noticed how some players will take just a split-second too long when chucking up a 75-footer at the end of a quarter? If you have, then I’m sure you know that that’s a tricky way to maintain a sterling shooting percentage. And if you didn’t know, now you do and this sentence will self-destruct in 30 seconds.
Well, now that we’re all hip to the conversation, let’s talk about how the Oklahoma City Thunder got so in to not chucking these percentage-killers that their coach, Scott Brooks, actually had to have a talk with them about it, like they were learning the birds and the bees. From Daily Thunder:
It actually became enough of an issue with the Thunder that Scott Brooks felt the need to address it with the team a couple weeks ago.
“We talked about it, about seven weeks ago maybe, couple months ago, and we talked about it,” Brooks said. “I said ‘We have to shoot that shot. There’s still time in the game — shoot it.’ The only time we don’t shoot it is if we’re up and it’s the last seconds because you don’t want to do that.
“We had that talk and somebody on our team did not take it that same night, and then we all got on him,” he said. “The next night, somebody made that shot.”
Every player I asked about it remembered Brooks talk right away.
“Yeah he said something to us about it,” said Eric Maynor. “He was like, ‘I be peeping some of y’all be doing that.’ But he know me, I’m going to shoot it.”
I know this is probably a paraphrasing, but I really do like the idea of Scott Brooks sitting the Thunder down for a serious talk about wasted opportunities and then starting things off with, “I be peeping some of y’all be doing that.” I really, really hope that happened because that is NBA Coach of the Year kind of stuff.
Jokes aside, Scott Brooks is totally right and the Thunder should take those last second heaves. Even if they only make two a season, those two might happen to come in games where they end up losing by one. Who knows? That’s why you shoot it. And though Shane Battier is pushing for shooting percentage reform, even if these shots still negatively affect percentages, it’s still worth shooting because it does nothing but help your team. (Which, in turn, is probably why teams shouldn’t hold it against players who throw up these desperation heaves while negotiating contracts, which is exactly why a lot of players choose not to shoot them. It’s a vicious cycle.)
No matter what happens in the wide world of NBA last second shooting percentages though, I think we can all agree that Russell Westbrook has the most perfect quote regarding the practice of waiting to throw up a shot.
Russell Westbrook: “No. Nope … If I was considering about [statistics] I’d do a lot of s— different.”
Truer words have never been spoken.