Julius Randle did a really good job shooting the ball in that area between the rim and the 3-point line last year.
That statement should come as zero surprise to anyone with a set of eyeballs that watched more than a game or two of the Knicks’ last year. And yet, it’s still always nice to see some visual reaffirmation of just how much of a god Julius was from the midrange last year.
Here's a look at 2020-21 Lefties in the NBA.— BBall Index (@The_BBall_Index) September 9, 2021
Left-Right: shot quality
Up-Down: shot making (shooting proficiency adjusted for shot quality)
Zion & Randle
Create your own scatter plots & headshot charts:https://t.co/Xnn6TCH5qD pic.twitter.com/nue75LtZ3Q
Wow, look at Julius all the way up there in the upper left. It’s not necessarily the best thing that that’s where he falls on this chart. As the tweet explains, being further left on the X axis means that your quality of shots from the midrange is not great, and Randle was apparently in a class of his own as far as lefties shooting difficult midrange shots last year.
But his position on the Y axis shows that it didn’t matter one bit how hard Randle’s shots were last year — he made them all the same.
Julius was pretty much in a class of his own among big men in the midrange last year. Per Cleaning the Glass, Randle was in the 96th percentile for bigs in midrange frequency, shooting them on 50% of his attempts. That might not be the best thing in the world, except for the fact that he was also in the 58th percentile for conversion as well, shooting 43% from midrange. Being able to take basically a 100th percentile diet of midrange shots, but also convert them at an above-average rate, is a good skill to have, and it paid off for Randle big time last year.
All the way back in February, Benjy Ritholtz actually wrote a really great piece on that very thing at The Strickland:
Randle’s midrange game has been a true revelation this season, but nobody could argue in good faith that this is Randle’s ideal shot distribution, and some regression to the mean may be coming on these difficult jumpers. His current shot chart is the child of necessity; the result of the Knicks’ unhealthy offensive ecosystem. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons Randle has struggled so mightily in the paint in the last couple of years is because of the Knicks’ poor spacing, the consequence of their dearth of quality shooters.
Like with all players going into the presumably fan-filled 2021-22 season after a mostly empty-arena 2020-21, it’s probably reasonable to expect some regression from Julius from midrange next year. But even if he does, he’ll probably still be near the 100th percentile for his position and in a class of his own.