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Do NBA teams really need mid-range jumpshots?

Josh Smith takes a lot of them. Many fans want Greg Monroe to take more of them. But does anyone actually need them?

Stay in the post, take it to the rack, big fella.
Stay in the post, take it to the rack, big fella.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe you've heard to oft-repeated argument that Greg Monroe's necessary next step is a mid-range jumpshot. The theory is that if the defense has to respect his shot, it will open up scoring opportunities for himself and others.

I admit that there's intuitive appeal to this idea, but I've long argued against this idea. I don't think that Greg Monroe should be shooting mid-range shots for a variety of reasons: the mid-range jumper is the least efficient shot in basketball, why would Moose take them instead of shots from the post? Monroe's jumper is clearly not good enough yet, why should he take shots before he's ready?

Furthermore, in order for the pro-jumper argument to work, the team would need to see a significant uptick in other types of offensive efficiency (and prove that it's Monroe's jumper causing it, which seems difficult).

And of course, we are currently living in the Josh Smith era, and his mid-range game doesn't seem to be doing anything to help open opportunities for anyone.

Patrick Minton at The Boxscore Geeks has an interesting post about the Houston Rockets that seems to suggest that you don't really need those midrange jumpers in order to get good opportunities for your offense. While the Pistons don't have as many reliable three-point shooters as the Rockets, nor do they have a slasher like James Harden (sorry, Stuckey), there's still at least one obvious application here: stop shooting mid-range jumpers because they rarely go in, and you don't need them to have an effective offense.

Click through to read the rest (and stay tuned after Sloan, because they have some great stuff coming):

According to, the entire Rockets team has taken 167 15-19 footers this year. To understand just how low that number is, consider that LaMarcus Aldridge has taken 303 all by himself. Further, note that every defense that plays against Houston knows that they won't try to get those shots; they only take them about 4 times a game, or on about 4% of possessions.

And yet the Rockets, playing against defenses that know exactly what they are trying to do, manage to shoot 47.2% (above average), 53.5% from 2 (significantly above average), almost average from 3 (34.2%) and the team achieves Jeff Hornacek's "magic" threshold of > 51% eFG (52.8% eFG), as well as a 56.7% true shooting mark (again, way above average). It's worth noting also that the Rockets shoot only 31% from 15-19 feet. This idicates that perhaps these are "desperate" shots taken when the clock is winding down; that would make sense given the frequency.

In other words, running an offense where you only shoot threes and layups does not appear to make it easier to guard that team. [...]

The argument isn't settled just yet, and the Pistons aren't the Rockets as I mentioned above, but this should raise the question of whether the lowest percentage shot in the game is the next thing that Greg Monroe needs to add to his arsenal.

And Josh Smith just needs to stop.