Are top-of-the-key 2s more efficient than standard mid-range jumpers? If so, why?

So, Michigan has insanely good shot selection. The most obvious source of this is the 3-and-rim strategy that Michigan is good at running.

But I notice that good Michigan shooters have, from the Beilein days of Stauskas and Walton to the Howard team with guys like Livers, been willing to rise up off of a pick and take longer 2-point jump shots just underneath the top of the key. That is the definition of a long midrange jumper… but good Michigan shooters have taken them for years. There were a couple more against Wisconsin, as shown here:

Now, it’s good shooters that are generally taking them off of ballscreen action. So is there a general principle here that makes those better shots? Is it that a quality jump-shooter can make an open mid-range shot a quality shot, and that’s a good way to get them? is the positioning of the backboard important, increasing the possibility of a bounce-out that could result in an OREB?

I’d love to hear takes from people who have looked at this closer than I have.

Wisconsin’s defense is designed to funnel people into those shots. I don’t think there’s any notable percentage difference between baseline jumpers and jumpers from the elbow other than different players usually take them.

Playmakers usually attack in the middle of the floor where you have a lot of options to drive, pass, shoot, etc. A lot of baseline mid-range jumpers are maybe worse shots because they could have been catch and shoot corner threes.

There’s also an idea that “all mid-range shots is bad” which isn’t really accurate. It very much depends on situation in the shot clock, who is taking the shot, how it is guarded, etc.


To answer your question Stephen, from a player’s perspective shots in the middle are generally easier for shooters. Just helps to have that backdrop with the backboard right there. Especially with pull ups since you have to quickly get your eyes on the rim.

That’s certainly my experience. I assume Dylan or Kirk Goldsberry or anyone else do not have my own personal shot chart on hand, but it’s be blue as can be from corners and baseline, and at the very lest somewhat less blue from the middle and elbows and wing.