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True Shooting Percentage is the Truth

Last year, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan led the NBA with a 64.3 field goal percentage. But Jordan stinks at the free throw line (38.6%) and doesn’t make three-pointers. Was he really the most accurate shooter? Of course not.

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After all, if Kevin Durant goes 5-for-10 (50.0% field goal percentage) on three-pointers, and Jordan goes 7-for-10 (70.0% FG%) on two-pointers, Durant has just outscored him 15-to-14 even though his field goal percentage is 20 points lower! That’s where True Shooting Percentage comes in.

TS% factors in threes and free throws. Here's the calculation:

POINTS divided by (((All Field Goal Attempts) + (ALL Free Throw Attempts X 0.44)) X 2)

The calculation is based on the expectation that two-points per shot attempt is a perfect outcome. That's why all field goal attempts are multiplied by two. But why are free throw attempts multiplied by 0.44?

If you go to the free throw line in the NBA, you usually get two free throws. So why not free throw attempts times 0.5? A two-shot trip to the line would be 0.5 + 0.5, equaling one field goal attempt. Right?

Well, not every trip to the line results in two free throw attempts. If you get fouled while making a basket, you go to the line for one shot (an "and-1"). And in the NBA, technicals result in one free throw. It's based on an assumed league average. So no, TS% isn't perfect, but it is much better than FG%.

The top five in TS% last season (minimum 40 games and 20 minutes per game):

1. Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks: 67.1%
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: 64.7%
3. LeBron James, Miami Heat: 64.0%
4. Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks: 63.7%
5. Shane Battier, Miami Heat: 62.3%