It’s nearly the regular season folks, which means it’s time to start contrived “countdown to tipoff” pieces. Our series will be called the Calculated Countdown, where we take a particular statistic from last season that corresponds to the number of days left till tipoff and analyze it in the context of this upcoming year. Today we’re looking at how Milwaukee increased their effective field goal percentage last season.
2 days till Tipoff: Milwaukee increased their effective field goal percentage by 2.8%
Effective field goal percentage is slightly different than the standard field goal percentage as it gives three point field goals twice the weight of a two point field goal. Last season, Milwaukee had an effective field goal percentage of 49.9% in 15-16, which ranked 17th in the league. As noted above, Milwaukee increased their eFG by 2.8% in the 2016-2017 season to 52.7%, leading to a Top-10 finish.
One of the factors that led to the improved eFG was Milwaukee’s ability to get shots at the rim. Milwaukee was one of the top teams in getting points in the paint. Many of those points came from dunks, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way with 194 dunks in 2016-2017. Milwaukee was also one of the top teams in the league in making baskets within five feet of the hoop. Much of that was a combination of Giannis and Jabari Parker getting to the hoop effectively along with Greg Monroe’s post ups.
An additional factor was increased and improved three point shooting from Milwaukee. During the 2015-2016 season, Milwaukee shot 1,277 threes and made 440 (both of which ranked last in the NBA), a point made worse by the Bucks only hitting 34% of those shots. The next season, the Bucks attempted 1,946 threes and made 720 for a 37% conversion rate. Although the threes made and attempted were both still in the bottom half of the league, the improved numbers were a contributing factor to the increased eFG. Swapping Michael Carter-Williams for Tony Snell was another major contribution. Adding players like Mirza Teletevoic, Malcolm Brogdon, Matthew Dellavedova and Michael Beasley also had a positive impact. Those four players had better shooting seasons than the departed players: Tyler Ennis, O.J. Mayo, Grevis Vasquez and the previously mentioned MCW.
With Jason Kidd seemingly letting the team shoot more threes, Giannis still being a Top-10 player in the league, and another consistent season from Monroe, it is possible that Milwaukee will be able to continue the rise of their effective field goal percentage. While it might not increase as drastically as last season, slow and steady improvements will benefit the offense.