by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, June 9, 2006
In no other sport is there such a controlled experiment as the free throw. While statistical analysis of basketball can be more challenging than other sports in numerous ways, at least we have this. And it’s about time we took advantage of it.
Specifically, there is a weak connection between 3-point shooting and free throw shooting. Even though the connection is weak, it does appear that we can use it to our advantage when projecting how a player’s 3-point accuracy will change from one season to the next.
In this exercise, I took the top 100 returning players ranked by their 3-point attempts in 2005. Everyone from Syracuse’s Gerry McNamara (315 attempts in ‘05) to Lipscomb’s James Poindexter (165). I labeled the top 33 by accuracy as “good” 3-point shooters, and the bottom 33 as “bad.” I then sorted them by free throw accuracy in the same manner.