Brian DiMennaKirk Goldsberry has a very interesting article up over at Grantland, with the premise being that not all missed shots are created equal and that certain players’s misses are put back on offensive rebounds more often than others. He deems these Kobe Assists after Kobe Bryant, who has been the league leader in this over his career. This makes some intuitive sense as the considerable attention Kobe draws when he goes up for a shot attempt, naturally creates opportunities on the offensive glass. It’s also worth noting that Kobe’s enjoyed playing with a pretty impressive array of bigs for the bulk of his illustrious career.
For our purposes, Goldsberry calls attention to the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony and notes that a far higher percentage of Melo’s misses from close range result in putbacks than his mid-range shots, perhaps providing a little comfort to those who quibble with his occasional over-reliance on that particular part of his arsenal:
Although the Knicks love to rebound and put back Carmelo’s close-range misses, they very rarely put back any of Carmelo’s mid-range misses, and Knicks fans’ subconscious knowledge of this may explain their groans about mid-range Melo. By conventional numbers, Carmelo is a fairly average jump shooter and a slightly above-average close-range scorer, but when we look more broadly at the basketball sequences these numbers take on a completely different tone. The Knicks rebound 55 percent of his close-range misses but only 14 percent of his mid-range misses. When he is close to the basket, good things happen that field goal percentage will never be able to explain. All Carmelo misses are not created equal.
Naturally, this is just a sophisticated way of proving what most even casual observers of the Knicks over the last few years can attest: When Melo is attacking the basket, the world is a good and wonderful place.