A Look at Vince Carter's Shot Selection in Game 1 Against the Charlotte Bobcats | Magic Basketball

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Apr 20

Video Analysis: A Look at Vince Carter’s Shot Selection in Game 1 Against the Charlotte Bobcats

AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

When Sunday arrived and the Orlando Magic faced off against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1, it was generally assumed that Vince Carter was going to do what he’s been doing for the past few months. What’s that?

Play good basketball.

It’s no coincidence that the Magic took off in the second half of the regular season and performed — statistically, at least — like the best team in the NBA, in large part because Carter had settled in comfortably as the No. 2 option alongside Dwight Howard. Carter dominated games for stretches at a time (see his 48-point performance against the New Orleans Hornets), performed efficiently, and played exactly the way everyone envisioned he would play when he was acquired in the off-season by general manager Otis Smith. By contrast, when Carter struggled in January, it was because he settled for jumpers, played passively, and generally looked out of sorts.

So, when Orlando needed offense from someone not named Rashard Lewis or Jameer Nelson, especially in the second half, Carter tried to pick up the slack but the results weren’t pretty. To be frank, they were downright awful.

The question that many people are asking, of course, is why did Carter struggle on offense? What did Carter do wrong?

Honestly?

Not a whole lot.

That may be surprising to read but it’s the truth.

There’s a lot of misses and not a lot of makes in this shot chart but looking at it tells only part of the story. Yeah, Carter didn’t connect on a ton of jumpers but the question that really needs to be asked is whether or not he took good shots? Let’s take a look at Carter’s shot selection, shall we?

A vast majority of Carter’s shots were quality looks. Granted, there were some possessions when Carter should have attacked the basket (as he did a few times in the game, looking to draw contact and get to the free-throw line) when he was matched up against Boris Diaw on a switch instead of settling for jumpers and making life more difficult for himself but those situations were, surprisingly, few and far between. Also, it should be taken into account that there were a couple of times when Carter was given the basketball with the shot clock winding down and forced to put up some high degree of difficulty shots, which did nothing but exacerbate his inability to make a shot and further hurt his stat-line.

It’s easy for someone to look at the box score, notice that Carter attempted and missed a lot of shots, and come away with the opinion that he played poorly. And Carter did play bad, let’s not lose sight off that fact. However, given the type of shots Carter attempted, it becomes clear as to why head coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t worried too much. Van Gundy went even as far as to suggest that he wouldn’t mind if Carter took the exact same shots he attempted in Game 1 because he probably would make a majority of them the next time around. Statisticians in sports always talk about players regressing to the mean, in which they post an outlier on either side of the spectrum and this is a prime example of that. Carter is too good of a shooter to go 4-of-19 from the field with the type of shots he took, even if it was against the best defensive team in the league like Charlotte. In the end, the averages should even out.

Via Synergy Sports Technology:

2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
P&R Ball Handler 39.3% 486 0.95 85% Excellent
Spot-Up 19% 235 1.09 81% Very Good
Isolation 12.3% 152 1.02 93% Excellent
Transition 7.1% 88 0.97 19% Below Average
Post-Up 6.7% 83 0.95 76% Very Good
Game 1 vs. Charlotte Bobcats Trans Post-Up P/R BH ISO Spot-Up
Number of Possessions 1 3 7 4 3
FGA-M** 0-1 0-3 2-7 1-4 0-3

*points per possession
**one of Carter’s field goals did not have a play type

Don’t be surprised if Carter bounces back and has a good game for the Magic in Game 2, especially if he gets the same type of shots he got in Game 1.

That’s something to look out for tomorrow night.

13 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Kevin

Hah.

@Raptor

Yeah, that's what Kevin McHale said. Good catch.

Raptor
Raptor

Nah, "chose a good time to finally make a shot"

Kevin
Kevin

Did the announcer at the end of that video really say Vince "chose a good time to make a fuckin' shot," like it sounded like? Craziness. That was on TNT!

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@derek

Yeah, in that sense, I agree. Carter should have cut his losses, so to speak, and attack the basket more in the second half to compensate for the fact that his jumpshot wasn't falling.

@Pookeyguru

Thanks. As for your thoughts on Carter, you nailed it.

Pookeyguru
Pookeyguru

Excellent stuff Eddy. The point that VC took shots that he should take is the more important point. There were a bad shots that VC probably shouldn't take, but VC's strengths outweigh his weaknesses. The worst I saw was the missed layup that he made harder by doing an up & under near the basket. Still, I thought for the most part VC did what he's capable of. He just missed his shots on Sunday.

derek
derek

i agree with van gundy, there were only 2 "bad shots". the rest were quality (not including the shot clock winding down ones) but yea when he was 3/10 or what ever he should've realized that his jumper wasnt working and just keep driving to the basket. i know he wasnt getting calls, but if his attempts are coming in the paint 1) howard is there to clean up 2) it's a higher percentage shot (relatively speaking)

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@malars

No, Carter won't get calls shooting jumpers and he should be more aggressive attacking the basket when his shot isn't falling from the perimeter but the point of this write-up was to show, despite all that, his shot selection wasn't bad. Nevertheless, I agree with your statement.

@JP

Excellent thoughts, I would agree. When I looked at the video, I was amazed myself that Carter missed a lot of shots he usually makes. Quality looks, too. Sure, Carter settled for jumpers here and there but his shot selection wasn't much of an issue (seemed worse than it actually was).
_______

Good discussion.

malars
malars

@JP
Possibly, but he won't get any calls shooting jumpers from the perimeter either, so he can't be shy to attack the basket because he isn't getting the calls. If he is tentative and primarily settles for jumpers, he'll be less effective. He can't expect to get the calls and just needs to remain aggressive in attacking the basket. He's got the big fella in the paint to get his back if he misses...

JP
JP

Malars,

Im playing Devils Advocate here a little, but maybe Vince settled for jumpers more becuase he realised he was less likely to get calls by driving (like Ricky and Eddy have alluded to in earlier comments)?

JP
JP

Yeah, this definitely looks like outlier material. Theres only two shots there (maybe 3 if we count the manner of the postup-fadaway near the end of the vid?) where as a Magic fan, Im upset with Carters choices.

Two of them were deep into the shot clock. These are bad posessions but really should be considered as a negative mark on the whole team, not just Carter. The rest were all good or very good looks that simply werent executed. It happens. He had two clear 3 attempts in the first half (one in transision and one in the corner) where he was absolutely right to shoot it and they simply didnt fall. If our players (including Carter) are taking those particular kind of threes, no worries. In fact, we should be pleased that we're getting those looks.

This was also against a defense that is arguably as good as our own too.

malars
malars

That video just reaffirms what I thought while watching the game, that he settled for WAY too many jumpers. Some of them were open looks that he normally hits, but when he realized that his jumper wasn't working, he should have been more determined to drive to the basket. Let's hope he makes the adjustment in game 2.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Ricky

Correct. That didn't help the cause, either.

Ricky
Ricky

Not to mention the fact that Carter was seemingly fouled everytime he drove to the basket.