NBA Championship Teams Shooting Further From the Rim According to Math Research by National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)

MoMath study examines the evolution of shooting of championship teams from 1992-2019 and how it is impacting the game of basketball

NBA championship teams are shooting further from the rim according to math research done by the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) in New York. MoMath, the only math museum in North America, examined the evolution of the shooting of championship teams from 1992-2019 and how it is impacting the game of basketball.

MoMath’s research, led by MoMath’s Advisory Council Past Chair Tim Chartier, reveals that all teams in the NBA are shooting further from the rim than ever before. For example, the 2019 Houston Rockets averaged a shooting range nearly four feet further from the rim than the 1998 Bulls championship team.

MoMath’s research demonstrates that basketball is becoming more of a perimeter shooting game than it was back in the 1990s. The distance players are shooting from the rim has increased along with the amount of shot attempts players are taking further out from the basket. If you compare the long-range shooting of the 2019 Warriors to the 1992 Chicago Bulls championship team, the Warriors have attempted 2,824 three-pointers during the regular season which is six times the amount of three-point attempts from the Bulls in 1992 (454). Steph Curry has attempted 810 three-point shots this season, nearly doubling the amount of three-point attempts of the entire Bulls team. During the 1996 finals, the Chicago Bulls championship team only took 12 shots that were 5 feet or further from the three-point line and did not make a single one. During the 2019 finals, the Warriors took 63 shots 5 feet or further and made 17. The Raptors shot 24 and made 9.

“Looking at every shot in the 2019 playoffs, the data shows that not only are more three-pointers being taken, but long-range shots have gotten even further from the net,” explains Tim Chartier. “One of the biggest impacts this is having on the game is that teams are able to score more points quickly simply due to the number of three-pointers they are making. In the past 10 years, teams who were behind by 15 or more points in the fourth quarter have gone on to win the game 2.5 times more often than the previous 50 years. Long-range shots are also influencing how defense is being played, as players now have to actively defend anywhere on their half of the court because their opponents are shooting further from the three-point line.”

About Tim Chartier
Tim Chartier is MoMath’s Advisory Council Past Chair who frequently works in data analytics with a specialty in sports analytics. Chartier runs a sports analytics group at Davidson College called “Cats Stats” and works with Davidson College athletics. Chartier’s work has expanded beyond college sports, completing projects for ESPN, the New York Times, the U.S. Olympic Committee, NBA, NFL, and NASCAR. In addition to Chartier’s teaching and research, he has authored various award-winning books, such as Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing, which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and When Life is Linear: From Computer Graphics to Bracketology, which won the Beckenbach Book Prize as a distinguished, innovative book.

About the National Museum of Mathematics
MoMath, the only math museum in North America, is located at 11 East 26th Street on the northside of popular Madison Square Park in Manhattan and is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. For more information, visit momath.org.

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Shannon Duer