Medium range jumpers

Most basketball fans have heard the saving "the lost art of the medium range jumper". Basically, what this statement implies is that with the implementation of the 3-point line in the 80's, players focused less on jump shots from 12-18 feet. Players tend to practice ethier the 3 point shot or low post moves, but rarely anything in between. I wanted to explore this issue and figure out if this was fact or fiction.

The best place to explore such issues if the main "sabermetric" basketball site Here we see detailed shooting stats from all regions of the court. If you simply look at the overall shooting percentage, you will find that all but 4 players shot below 40% from the field, ranging from Shaq at 61% all the way down to Baron Davis at 37%. However, big tall players have their percetage inflated due to the high frequency of dunks and layups. We all know shaq couldnt make a 15 foot jumper to save his life. So are NBA players proficient in the medium range shot and who are the best? Only 74 players shot above 40% on 2 point shots outside the paint, just over half of all eligible players with Jason Terry leading the league at 49%. Based on the large number of players shooting above 40% from these intermeidate shots I cant say that it is a "lost art", however many of the games elite players have shockingly low percentages. Lebron shot 37.5, Carmelo shot 37.9, McGrady shot 35, and Iguodala shot 34.8%.

As I have stated before, the skill level in the NBA is other worldly. A guy like tyrus thomas who was fairly dominant in his one year in college due to his freakish athletisims was 4th to last in 2 point shots. If you can't shoot, you really cant play in the NBA. The low percentages of guys like Lebron and Melo is partly due to their shortcomings in that department, but it is also a product of taking so many shots, many of which are bail-out shots at the end of the shot clock. Clearly they make up for it by scoring inside shots and more importantly take 10 free throws a game. Other stars like Bryant, Wade, and Nowitzki shoot in the mid to high 40% range.