Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who needs to shoot if you can drive - a case for Tyreke Evans

Over the last five years, Tyreke Evans went from Rookie of the year to being a disappointment. Alongside Josh Smith, he is a punchline for people that shouldn't shoot.
And his shot chart still is red as a baboon butt.
But by in-depth video analysis (I saw two quarters of a Pelicans game recently) and thanks to the nba.com/stats data, I saw some weeks ago that there is some value to Tyreke. So, after he got #StatLineOfTheNight honors and praise by Zach Lowe, I decided to be an opportunist and post this figure:
(Click to enlarge)
Tyreke drives the most (per minute) off all players & his team scores quite well on those drives

So, here are the points that speak for his actual efficiency:
  1. he takes 75% of his shots at the rim
  2. On these shots, he hits 50%
  3. Which is even more impressive as every opponent should know that Tyreke is about to drive
Two important side notes:
First, simply looking at percentages for shots near the rim does not adjust for Fastbreaks, where you would expect a much higher percentage. For example, LeBron hits a staggering 75% close to the basket - but he is also part of way more fast breaks than Tyreke. Having that said, LeBron's field goal percentage on drives is still an otherworldly 63.3%
Second, Tyreke's field goal percentage from outside gets probably worse to the fact that he only takes shots from the outside if he really has to - but that would need different data or video analysis to be proven.

In summary, a drive is a good thing. Scoring 1.2 points per drive would lead to 120 points per hundred possessions (surprising, I know...) - which would be a league leading offensive efficiency.
The fact that Tyreke can drive effectively so often, while everybody knows what he's about to do makes it really impressive. Having that said, I probably still would not pay him 12 million per year. ;)


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