There is much discussion in the basketball community surrounding the value of the midrange shot following a Sun-Times article from Joe Cowley that discussed the Bulls analytics department wanting Zach LaVine to limit his mid-range attempts, and a segment on ESPN's The Jump, discussing the same topic. On Tuesday morning Matt Moore of the Action Network chimed in, offering up the statistics that clearly support the notion that LaVine should be shooting many, many more 3-pointers than 2s.
OK I’m up for this today.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) October 15, 2019
-Rachel mentions it’s a good shot if it goes in and a bad shot and it doesn’t. But YOU DON’T KNOW IF IT WILL OR NOT BEFORE YOU SHOOT.
Zach LaVine shot 35.8% on mid-range shots last year. That’s not analytics, that’s a math fact. He shot 37% on 3’s! https://t.co/OjquwWkQ29
While Moore's points were solid and backed up by the numbers, NBA superstar Kevin Durant offered up his opinion from a player's perspective. Durant backed up LaVine's quote of "sometimes there's nothing better than putting the ball in your best playmaker's hands and letting him get the shot he needs rather than the one you want." KD commented that he has seen too many players pass up wide-open midrange shots to force up 3-pointers or contested shots at the rim, with analytics having an influence on the shots that players take, referring the mid-range as "forbidden."
It’s not about me, I see dudes passing up open shots in the mid range, like wide open, to force passes to the 3 point line or force up bad finishes at the rim.— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 15, 2019
Them game is going towards 3s and lays only so why would anyone work on that shot? If it wasn’t forbidden then players would work on it and they would develop that shot.— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 15, 2019
Durant went on to comment and respond to users' comments on the situation. In one response Durant agrees with a user who states that he is teaching his son to work on his mid-range game first and shoot 3-pointers once he is strong enough, stating "that's how I was taught."
Moore had some fun with the response from Durant, stating that when he initially tweeted about the topic, his intentions were not to get into a debate on the value of mid-range shots with an active NBA player who is already among the all-time greats.
NOTE: When I said “i’m up for this today” I did not mean “I’m up for debating the value of shot quality with a future Hall of Famer.” To be clear.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) October 15, 2019
Moore's original sentiment agrees with what the Bulls' analytics department is trying to accomplish. LaVine has always been a good mid-range shooter but last year alone he shot 35.8% on mid-range shots and 37.4% on 3-point attempts.
It is obvious that players still need to have to players who can hit mid-range attempts, as some of the best teams in the league—including recent NBA champions Toronto and Golden State, who finished second in the league in percentage of points coming from mid-range shots—have relied on players who can generate solid mid-range attempts in high-leverage moments. But Durant's point is important to note too.
Durant stated that you have to be "confident to make any shot" but countered that whatever you work on the most is what you will be best at. He doubled down on that point, saying most primary scoring options in the NBA shouldn't worry about analytics and should play off of feel, rather than numbers.
Ultimately, there has to be a balance.
As we have seen through the preseason, taking fewer shots from the mid-range has certainly appeared to benefit LaVine's game, as he is currently fourth in the league in preseason scoring, averaging 23.3 points per game through three contests. But taking what the defense gives you, especially when you are as confident of a player as Durant or LaVine, still needs to be emphasized.
In what should be a huge season for LaVine, he will again have a high-usage rate as he looks to lead the Bulls to a bounce-back season and mid-range shots, while limited, will still be a part of his shot profile.
So as far as Chicago Bulls fans should be concerned, this is a win-win. LaVine has clearly taken to heart was the Bulls' analytics department is preaching by shooting fewer mid-rangers but he still understands that that shot is going to be necessary for certain moments. So when LaVine is open from mid-range in 2019-20, the Bulls coaching staff will likely be saying the same thing Durant did on Tuesday morning, "Shoot em Zach."
Lauri Markkanen is 7-feet tall. Cristiano Felício is 6-feet-10. It’s safe to say they’re big guys, which would lead you to believe they wouldn’t be scared by much.
In a preseason outing to 13th Floor Haunted House in Chicago, Lauri and Felício showed that height doesn’t mean you’re immune to spooks (especially when Benny the Bull is let loose in the haunted house control room).
Watch them try to maneuver their tall frames through cobwebs and zombies in the video posted to the Bulls’ Twitter here.
Viewers beware, ghastly ghouls and frightened NBA stars await you.
Despite all the screaming, the Bulls players sounded like they had a fun night. Lauri even responded to video on Twitter saying that while maybe he got scared a little, he ultimately had a good time.
Ok maybe I got scared couple times🙄 It was fun though!! 🤣🙏🏼 https://t.co/GfYMW6pBR6— Lauri Markkanen (@MarkkanenLauri) October 15, 2019
Hey, if they can face-off against monsters and chainsaw mascot maniacs, taking on the other teams in NBA won’t seem so bad!Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.