Stats Analysis: UCLA Shot Charts

The Bootleg's Basketball Stats Analyst Cameron Tana offers the faithful a comprehensive look at the types of shots UCLA takes, and usually makes, and what Stanford's defense can do, or not do, to help themselves if they want to successfully take down the Bruins.

In last season's series analyzing shot chart data, the theme was effective field goal defense depends on forcing teams to shoot two-point jumpers, as opposed to the higher value three-point shots or higher percentage layups and dunks. This year's Stanford team has got it half right as it has the lowest percentage of field goal attempts that are three-pointers (3PA/FGA) in the country according to kenpom.com. However its 3PA/FGA of 24% does not give Stanford an advantage, because its two-point percentage defense ranks 306th in the country at nearly 52%. The resulting defensive effective field goal percentage is over 51%, 279th in the country. One of the reasons behind these low rankings is that Stanford allows more layup and dunk attempts than two-point jumper attempts. According to play-by-play data on gostanford.com, 52% of opponents' two-point attempts are layups and dunks.

Thursday night's opponent UCLA is well suited to take advantage of this Stanford weakness. Kenpom.com ranks the Bruins 5th in the country in effective field goal percentage at 56%, which is the main factor in its 3rd best adjusted offensive efficiency of 121 points per 100 possessions. UCLA does not rely on the three-pointer to achieve this efficiency as it ranks only 232nd in 3PA/FGA . Instead, its two-point field goal percentage is in the nation's top 10 at 55%.

According to shot chart data from cbssports.com, 52% of UCLA's two-point attempts are layups and dunks. The Bruins do a great job of finishing these close shots, making over 68% of those attempts. UCLA's efficiency and usage of these three types of shots are shown in the following table. Effective field goal percentage weighs made three-pointers by an extra 50%.

The starting backcourt of Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday are pretty efficient with their two-point jumpers. It is UCLA's other scorers who lose efficiency drastically if forced into two-point jumpers. Josh Shipp and Alfred Aboya especially struggle with jumpers within the key, shooting a combined 12 for 57 from that area of the court. The following table shows the individual breakdowns and effective field goal percentages. Note that cbssports.com shot chart data do not match official statistics exactly.

One strategy that would make use of this breakdown is to not bother helping on Collison or Holiday to try to force them into two-point jumpers. The benefit of forcing them into two-point jumpers may not be great enough to offset the increased risk that the two leading assist men on the team will find the other players for highly efficient layups or three-pointers. As shown below in a table based on cbssports.com play-by-play data, the other players rely on being set up as many of their makes are assisted.


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