Fact or Fiction: Tyrus's jumper improved this year.

Much discussion is made of Tyrus Thomas's jump shot.   Does he shoot it too frequently?   Did he get better at shooting it this year?   Should Tyrus just stick to trying to dunk the basketball, etc..  

I wanted to test out how much his jump shot has improved over the past two seasons.   To do so, I've looked at a variety of different sources to get different perspectives on his jump shot and how it's changed over the past two seasons.
82games.com Information:

Year Att% eFG% Astd% FT%
2008/9 55% 35% 77% 78.30%
2007/8 47% 35.20% 78% 74.10%
2006/7 28% 20% 69% 60.60%

82games.com tracks the percentage of shots Tyrus takes as a jump
shooter, and the effectiveness of those shots.   Looking at his three
seasons in the league, we see a sharp jump in eFG% for his jump shot
between year one and year two as well as a large jump in percentage of
jumpers in his offense.   In year three, we see another sharp increase
in percentage of jumpers in his offense, but his effectiveness at a
jumpshooter is flat, actually falling by .2%.   

Tyrus's FT%, a good indicator of how solid his form on his jumper is,
matches this pattern as well, taking a large jump from year one to year
two though it has a moderate increase in year three.   In all fairness,
at 78.3% in year three, there's not really that much upwards mobility
in the stat that relative to other jumper shooters anyway.

What is interesting is that Tyrus's free throw percentage suggests that
he would be a great mid range jump shooter when his eFG% shooting
jumpers shows quite the opposite.

One problem with 82games.com data is it doesn't really show much about
the type of shots Tyrus is taking as a jump shooter.  Are they far mid
range jumpers, are they close jumpers, are they contested or not
contested.   So I decided to look up NBA hotspots to see how Tyrus did
on the mid range jumper and manually added up his percentages for each
month of the year for the past two seasons to see his rate of change.
2008/09 Hotspots

Position Nov M Nov A Dec M Dec A Jan M Jan A Feb M Feb A Mar M Mar A Apr M Apr A Tot M Tot A
Left Baseline 1 4 5 7 0 4 2 6 3 9 1 2 12 32
Left Wing 2 6 1 2 4 13 1 6 3 7 1 4 12 38
Center 2 5 4 6 2 8 4 8 3 10 2 5 17 42
Right Wing 2 9 1 6 7 13 8 13 2 13 2 5 22 59
Right Baseline 1 6 4 7 1 6 2 5 6 15 0 5 14 44
Total 8 30 15 28 14 44 17 38 17 54 6 21 77 215
Percentage 26.7% 53.6% 31.8% 44.7% 31.5% 28.6% 35.8%

2007/08 Hot Spots

Position Nov M Nov A Dec M Dec A Jan M Jan A Feb M Feb A Mar M Mar A Apr M Apr A Tot M Tot A
Left Baseline 0 3 0 2 0 3 3 8 1 5 3 4 7 25
Left Wing 3 7 1 3 1 4 3 4 2 4 3 6 13 28
Center 1 2 2 4 2 5 4 8 0 1 1 4 10 24
Right Wing 2 4 2 5 2 7 2 7 0 1 4 6 12 30
Right Baseline 1 1 0 0 2 2 1 3 2 6 2 4 8 16
Total 7 17 5 14 7 21 13 30 5 17 13 24 50 123
Percentage 41.2% 35.7%/td> 33.3% 43.3% 29.4% 54.2% 40.6%

First, you my ask, why are these percentages so different from
82games.com percentages if they're both measuring jumpers.   The answer
is that they're measuring different jumpers.  82games.com is measuring
all jump shots while hotspots is measuring jumpshots only in a specific
categories, and I'm using the mid range data, since we can be confident
that Tyrus isn't attempting 15 foot hook shots.

The Hotspot tables show that there really was little pattern to his
jumper's success.    Overall, his efficiency on the mid range jumper
was higher in 2007/08 than 2008/09.   From a month-to-month
perspective, Tyrus's best months with the jumper were Dec 08 and April
08.    He generally showed a declining trend in his jump shot from
December to the end of the year though in 08/09.

After looking at the hotspots, I wanted to check out one more source
for advanced statistics to try and break down the types of shots Tyrus
was shooting.   I went back to my old standby synergy sports tech to
see what they had to say about Tyrus's jump shooting, unfortunately,
not broken down by month.

year Catch and shoot
Catch and shoot
2008/9 46/129 35.66% 24/71 33.8%
2007/8 27/61 44.26% 15/43 34.88%
2006/7 2/18 11.11% 3/15 20%

Synergy's stats seem to show the same trend that NBA hotspots and 82games.com shows.  
Tyrus's jumper doesn't appear to have improved from 07/08 to 08/09.  
He's taking a lot more jumpers, but his percentage of makes on open
jumpers has plummeted year to year dropping almost 10% while his
percentage on defended jumpers has only dipped slightly. 

Before this becomes too much of a Tyrus bash fest, it's important to
remember that Tyrus's overall FG% and TS% both climbed fairly
significantly from 2007/08 to 2008/09 which means other parts of his
game were improving quite significantly to make up the gap.  Especially
given he took a much larger percentage of jumpers this most recent
season while scoring well below his FG% and TS% taking them.

However, the general idea that Tyrus's jump shot improved his jumper appears to be fiction.

For some more Tyrus talk, I just bumped across this post on blogabull.com covering a similar topic.   The author seems to discuss Tyrus overall rather than just looking at the jumper though.


Leave a comment
  • Your FT% in the first graph is backwards.

    Personally, I don't mind him shooting them. I wish he'd not when he's not making them, but I think the 15-17 footer is going to be a big part of his game, and if not from him, from some big as a part of this offense. Him making that shot is going to open up Deng slashing more than any 2 guard shooting threes.

  • I think the problem for Tyrus is that he is JUMPING with his jumper. Because he has such giant hops, he releasing with a lot of height and additional upward momentum. He should probably focus on more of a set shot or less height when he jumps, which could come closer to his free throw mechanics.

  • The thing with Amare is, he'll test his range early, and quickly adjust to play within it. As the game goes on, he'll try to extend it, but he won't just bullheadedly shoot the shot he wants to make until it goes down. I imagine that Nash probably taught him that, I wonder if Gordon's mentality is rubbing off on TT.

  • Unfortunately, the one area of Thomas's game that has not improved and is not likely to in the future, is his brain.

    Thomas is likely too dumb as a human being to be a great or even good basketball player. For some reason people seem to think that this is a mean thing to say, but it is a fact of like in all walks of life.

    He doesn't have the mental capacity to understand the game, to work hard enough at improving, or frankly to even try hard enough when he is actually playing. That is why he played so little in the 4rth quarter and overtime of the playoffs against the Celtics. His coaches and probably his teamates see this problem firsthand.

    Thomas is just a huge tease, all body, no head and no heart.
    Maybe we can send him to see the Wizard, of OZ that is.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think this is a classic example of youth being wasted on the young. In any profession, it takes a lifetime to gain a truly wide perspective on things, and understand it at many different levels. Take into account that it's not just the game we're talking about, but also a variety of life skills I'm sure most of us struggled with at his age (and I'm not much older, but I sure did just a couple years ago). For people who have likely been praised their entire lives for their basketball skills, they need some good mentoring on work ethic and wider basketball strategies.

    I don't know anything about TT's intelligence (based on his speaking, he seems to have been raised right, anyway), but I don't think intelligence is even as important as being guided by a good mentor. Truth is, the Bulls need a big man's coach.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm new to the site but the display name says it all. Does Thomas not look like Rodman physically...? Why can't this guy become a rebounding force like Rodman? Forget the jump shot, it will improve in time if he continues to work hard.

    I'm sure Paxson is no fan of Rodman so throw out the idea of him potentially working one-on-one with Tyrus in the offseason, but can the coaching staff get him to watch some tape of Rodman? There's no reason why Tyrus can't play effectively much like Rodman. Rodman used to give center's fits on defense even though it was blatantly obvious that he was too small to play down low. I remember Shaq looking like he wanted to murder him on the floor several times.

    I'm sure there will be plenty of people saying I'm full of shit but come on and use your imagination a little bit. Look at the them both in jerseys and tell me that they don't look similar. I envision Tyrus's ceiling being a poor man's Dennis Rodman with a bit more offensive efficiency (throw in that jumper along with a solid FT shot along with MONSTER dunks). Any thoughts...?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I see Noah much more along those lines. Tyrus has the athleticism to be whatever he wants to be, so long as it leverages his finesse. Noah is just going to have to work his ass off every second he's on the court, and he has the mentality to do it.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I see what you're saying but Rodman was very talented himself (much like Tyrus). It's not like Rodman just worked his butt off all the time. Whatever the reason, he was just able to see where the ball was going to bounce off the rim the moment a shot left a guy's hand.

    I disagree about Tyrus being able to do whatever he wants. He is just not skilled enough and it has become blatantly obvious that he has many limitations. Tyrus needs to work on what he does well and work on doing it excellently (if that's even a word, i.e. rebounding and interior defense). His offensive limitations can be offset if VDN learns what a back door cut is and if Rose is smart or savvy enough to execute these basic plays. It's no secret as to why Tyson Chandler "woke up" after he got traded to N.O. (Byron Scott > VDN, Chris Paul > Derrick Rose).

    I see Noah being more like a Chandler at his ceiling (hopefully minus the injuries). Which goes hand in hand with what I think: Tyrus/Noah are incompatible together as starters...Noah/Aldridge would make a hell of a lot of sense. Paxson made a big boo-boo with that one, but it's water under the bridge. One of them has to go and it seems like Tyrus is the guy....I didn't feel like Tyrus should go before the trade deadline but I am feeling that way now. His play between Dec.-Feb. warranted him having some value to lure a team to give up on a Bosh/Stoudemire-type of player. Now, if I'm Kerr or Colangelo, I stay away from the Bulls unless they're willing to give up Noah.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree Doug and I think that Tyrus needs to understand that he is not Lebron and he will never be Lebron. Instead, by focusing on things he can control and be very effective doing he could become a hell of a player. The fundamentals part is due to the fact that he's never had good coaching (maybe a year under Skiles but I don't think Skiles wanted him or liked him so he didn't bother).

    He needs the mentality of I am not going to allow an easy basket and I am going to get that rebound no matter what it takes. We all know he has the tools to do this quite well. All I'm saying that that he needs to put more work into the defensive end and the rest will fall in place. Defense wins championships and defense warrants playing time.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Sorry, I don't want to spam this but I have one last comment:

    "He had tremendous fundamentals and a mental desire to be THE best rebounder. Tyrus doesn't presently have either. If someone could instill Dennis's mentality and fundamentals into Tyrus he'd probably be even better than Rodman was."

    Can someone who lives in Chicago or Louisiana staple that onto Tyrus's door? Fundamentals can be taught and hopefully a mentality is capable of transformation...(for Rose too).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Here's the thing, when I say Tyrus can be anything he wants to be, 'want' is the key word. I think Tyrus is a dreamer, and right now, I think he has a pipe dream to be a wing type player, with an outside shot and driving abilities. If he turns that dream into desire, he can be that. If he truly wants to be an inside post presence, offensively and/or defensively, he can be it. And yeah, if he wants to be the best rebounder in the league, he can be that. That said, with his athleticism, and his already leaning towards being a wing in his head, if he can turn his dreams into desire, I think that's what he'll be. I don't think he has the chip on his shoulder required to be that killer rebounder. Noah does.

    People don't like Noah, and outside of Chicago and Gainesville, I don't think many people think much of his game. They don't like the way he looks, or acts, and if you haven't noticed, they tend to be pretty vocal about it. But he doesn't have the tools to be a great offensive player. He might develop some post moves, and I'd love to see him develop a 15 footer. But I doubt it will ever be good enough to do more than to let him be the killer passer out of the high post that he was in college. So, hopefully, he's going to turn it into being a defensive and rebounding monster, and I think that's pretty realistic with him. And you know what? That's going to make people hate him more, and that's going to drive him more.

    That's exactly what we need out of Noah. And if we get that, then Tyrus being an outside shooting, slashing, driving wing with decent rebounding and good help defense resulting in a lot of blocks will be what we need out of him. I think they could be very good together, if they both progress well.

    My worry is, Deng doesn't fit very well in that scheme, unless we get a 3 point shooting SG, who's also very strong defensively. Hopefully we can get more than an expiring like Shaq for Deng. In fact, if we had a better candidate to start at PF (can you say Deng for a top 5 pick to get Jordan Hill, or Deng and Hinrich for Amare or Bosh?), I wouldn't mind Tyrus getting a chance at SF. I wouldn't be surprised if he made it work, maybe even better than Deng would.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Rose's passive play scares me too, it could potentially limit his ceiling.

    Tyrus did steal us game one in OT...something that Vinny must have forgotten when he relegated him to the bench for much of the series. The contract issue does make sense because in my view, Thomas is not worth more than $5-7 mil/year unless he drastically improves.

    I think it's hard to improve fundamentals at the NBA level because most of these guys have such fat heads that they aren't willing to accept that they have been able to cut corners throughout their lives due to their athleticism. Also, NBA coaches are expecting these guys to have already learned them...which is why there should be a two-year college minimum so that the quality of both the NCAA and the NBA will improve their respective products. I don't give a damn about people's rights (the NFL does it and MLB/NHL actually have competent minor leagues so they can store youth and teach them how to play before they start their real careers), Lebron would've looked good in an OSU jersey.

    Tyrus is starting to remind me of Josh Smith, a bonehead with insane talent. Thank god Tyrus doesn't take as many bad jump shots...yet (though he hasn't been paid yet so the verdict is still out on that one). I still say keep him until he's reached his "potential" (unless the right deal comes up).

    "I don't think he has the chip on his shoulder required to be that killer rebounder. Noah does." - He needs it, that's where his game is best suited.

    I agree with you on Noah but I also think there's absolutely no reason why he can't develop a little half hook, or Magic's baby sky hook. While he is erratic, he seems to have pretty good hands. As long as he gets his playing time and the Bulls continue winning, he will improve. I just hope he doesn't get into a funk and sulk his career away, something I see as a possibility due to his erratic personality.

    Deng is just a perplexing case, I'll leave it at that.

    Now, I say go for Al Horford. Send a package of Hinrich and Jerome James/whatever they want. I know Atlanta would want expiring deals as their owners are money-grubbers a la Reinsdorf. I think a pairing of Noah/Horford would compliment each other well (as has been proven...2 championships).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Do you think Tyrus would still have his amazing athleticism if he bulked up to the point where he can dominate the boards? I don't mind him being back a bit to outrebound typical wings on longer bounces.

Leave a comment