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Richard Hamilton shoots more as reserve

Last night, I wrote about how much Richard Hamilton shot against the Bucks. And shot. And shot.

And missed. And missed. And missed.

In 26 minutes, Hamilton made just 4-of-17 shots. That’s extreme, but it’s not as atypical as you’d think.

This year and two years ago, Hamilton has dealt with a challenge he hadn’t faced previously in Detroit – coming off the bench. He hasn’t exactly hidden his displeasure with losing his permanent starting position.

  • In 28 games off the bench during this season and the 2008-09 season, Hamilton has taken 17.8 shots per 36 minutes.
  • In the 75 games he’s started those two years, Hamilton has taken 16.5 shots per 36 minutes.

And his ability to make those shots doesn’t explain the increase.

  • True shooting percentage as a starter: 52.28
  • True shooting percentage as a reserve: 51.52

My armchair psychoanalysis says when Hamilton loses the starting spot he desires, he tries to control what he can, namely his shot attempts. So, he chucks a bit more when coming off the bench.

Is that accurate? I don’t know. I think there’s truth behind the theory. I know there are numbers behind the theory.

Please don’t take it as any more than that.


  • Mar 2, 20113:27 pm
    by Phil


    Sample size seems too small. Additionally, the effect that coming off the bench has on Rip’s attempts and shooting percentage is negligible. A 1 shot increase per 36 minutes and a 1% drop in true shooting percentage are not large enough differences on which to draw any substantial conclusions.

    • Mar 2, 20113:36 pm
      by Dan Feldman


      Phil, 1.3 shots per 36 minutes is pretty substantial. It’s basically the difference between Dwyane Wade and Carlos Boozer.

      I agree, the true shooting percentage drop isn’t substantial. I didn’t include that to show Hamilton was shooting worse. I included it show he wasn’t shooting better.

      • Mar 2, 201110:00 pm
        by Brian


        Not to get too statistics-y here, but can we get the standard deviations on these stats (i.e. are these differences statistically significant)?  Could they be caused by his shot selection, and is this trend consistent between 2008-2009 and 2009-today?

  • Mar 2, 20118:21 pm
    by Bird


    If Rip’s coming off the bench, he’s most likely playing alongside lesser reserve players and therefore SHOULD be shooting more.  Not that complicated.

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