I was watching the Knicks-Hawks game yesterday, and before it started the commentators were of course talking about Amar’e and Carmelo. One of them, I think Doris Burke (not 100% on that), said that both shoot a decent percentage. I guess I can’t say I’m surprised; they’re both big-name players and assumed to be among the best playing right now, so people tend to say nice things about them. Other analyses suggest otherwise, particularly for Carmelo, but we don’t even have to go there. As Burke was talking, they splashed up a table with both players’ main stats (points per game, of course, field goal percentage, rebounds per game, etc). And there it is for everyone to see: Carmelo is shooting about 45%. Is that actually good?
According to ESPN, Carmelo is 71st out of 113 qualifying players, or below average. To be fair, Carmelo improves if you consider points per shot, but only to 43rd. That’s only tied for 6th among all qualifying small forwards, putting him a hair above average for his position (the list has 17 names, and he’s only .01 and .02 points ahead of the 8th and 9th guys). We don’t even need to talk about Wins Produced or plus/minus on this one; a quick look at the numbers Burke directly references tells you this was a bad call. I guess you could argue that she really meant ‘decent’, as in average, when she said that, but then you would have to apologize to Amar’e, who shoots at a much better rate (51% FG% and a higher point per shot than Carmelo despite not taking threes or being as good from the line).