With LeBron James at the helm, the Miami Heat have redefined what it means to be efficient, leading the entire NBA in Effective Field Goal percentage for a second straight season. As eFG% accounts for the extra point given to shots behind the arc, it speaks to the kinds of shots Miami seeks. However, while Miami was second in the league in 3-point percentage last season (.398), they are only 10th this year (.372). While we still have about a month left in the season, I wanted to take a closer look at the individual players and see whether any drops or rises are significant enough to examine closer.
Today we'll examine Mario Chalmers, the NBA's top point guard (in his head anyway)
Mario Chalmers Shot Chart: 2012-2013 vs. 2013-2014
'Rio's overall 3 point shooting has been relatively consistent the past three seasons (39%, 41%, 39% this year), but his attempts have fallen from 4 a game the past two seasons to only 3 a game this year. His accuracy from the key has fallen a bit, but he's compensated by being incredible in the left corner and still solid in the right corner.
With his attempts from beyond the arc slightly down, this would lend credence to the idea that Chalmers is attacking the rim quite a bit more than prior seasons, evidenced by his career high 45% shooting, and a career high assist percentage (24.3%, 5 assists per game). Let's look a bit deeper with NBA.com's shot distribution chart.
Mario Chalmers Shot Distribution: 2012-2013 vs. 2013-2014
Chalmers has significantly cut down his top of the key and free throw area jumpers in favor of more attempts right at the rim. He has nearly doubled his rim attempts from 21% of his shots at the rim last season to nearly 40% this season. His finishing ability has been rather consistent both seasons as seen in his shot charts, but his free throw rate is at a career high (2.7 attempts per 36 minutes). Contrasting with these changes is that his corner distribution has been nearly identical during the past two seasons.
Chalmers has never been great at top of the key attempts from 3 so it seems like he and the coaching staff made a concerted effort to redistribute his attempts this season in order to better maximize his efficiency. By sacrificing a few 3s and midrange attempts for more forays to the rim while still firing from the corners, Chalmers has taken a another step in adapting for a team that requires it's point guards to spot up and make the right decision while the "positionless" stars dominate the ball.
He's had a rough little stretch recently and it's worth noting he's averaging a career high in turnovers per 36 minutes (2.8), but Mario Chalmers remains a very important cog in the Miami Heat offense. He's been the most reliable 3 point marksmen on the team for the past three seasons so as much as we fans (and LeBron!) harp on him for some careless mistakes at times, we should remember how vital he is to Miami's success on both ends of the floor
Tomorrow we conclude "From Downtown" by looking at Mr. "Big Shot Bosh" himself, Chris Bosh.