NBA Shot Chart 2024: Surprising Insights You Didn’t Know

Share your love

As you dive deeper into basketball analytics, an NBA shot chart can give you a better understanding of a player’s strengths and weaknesses on the court. These charts offer insights on shooting patterns, preferred spots on the floor, and overall shooting percentages.

NBA Shot Chart Basics

Types of Shot Charts

There are two main types of shot charts:

  1. Basic Shot Charts: These charts display the standard shooting zones like corner 3, in-the-paint, and midrange, showing shot attempts and their outcomes (makes or misses). They offer a simple overview of a player’s shooting tendencies and success rates in different court areas.
  2. Advanced Shot Charts: These charts dive deeper into shooting data by incorporating advanced metrics such as shot types (layups, jump shots, dunks, etc.), player movement, and defender proximity. They give a more comprehensive picture of a player’s shooting performance, accounting for various factors that might impact shot outcomes.

Visualization Formats

When it comes to visualizing an NBA shot chart, there are several formats to choose from:

  • Heatmaps: Heatmaps use color gradients to represent shooting efficiency in different court areas. The warmer the color (e.g., red or orange), the higher the shooting percentage; the cooler the color (e.g., blue or green), the lower the rate. This format is visually appealing and lets you quickly identify hot and cold shooting spots.
  • Scatter plots: Scatter plots show individual shot attempts as distinct points on the court. Each point is color-coded to represent a made or missed shot, making it easy to see clusters of successful and unsuccessful shots. You can also customize your scatter plot by adding player movement or defender information for a more detailed analysis.
  • Zone breakdowns: This format divides the court into different shooting zones (ex. corner 3, in-the-paint, midrange) and displays the shooting percentages for each zone. This helps identify strengths and weaknesses in a player’s shooting game, informing coaching decisions and strategic adjustments.

Components of an NBA Shot Chart

Court Diagram

The foundation of any NBA shot chart is a scaled-down representation of the basketball court. The court diagram shows essential markings like the three-point line, free-throw line, and the key. Using this familiar layout, you can instantly relate shot data to real-world plays and actions.

Shot Locations

On the court diagram, individual shots are marked with small icons or dots. Each icon represents a specific shot taken by a player during the game. The icons are typically color-coded according to whether the shot was made (often green) or missed (usually red). This visual representation lets you quickly identify patterns and trends in a player’s shooting performance.

Shooting Percentages

Beyond just showing makes and misses, a comprehensive NBA shot chart also includes shooting percentages. Usually placed close to their corresponding shot locations, these numbers offer insight into a player’s efficiency in specific court areas. You can spot strengths and weaknesses by comparing percentages across different zones to inform your analysis.

Zone Analysis

Modern NBA shot charts often divide the court into various zones, such as the paint, mid-range, and three-point areas. Within each zone, aggregated statistics paint a clearer picture of a player’s shooting tendencies. Some popular zone categories include:

  • Restricted area: Shots taken very close to the basket, often layups and dunks
  • Paint: Shots taken inside the key but not in the restricted area
  • Mid-range: Shots taken between the paint and the three-point arc
  • Corner 3: Three-point shots taken from the corners of the court, typically considered high-value targets
  • Above the break: All other three-pointers, excluding the corner shots.

Data Sources and Collection

Official NBA Data

The NBA maintains a rich Stats API containing various statistics, including data on every shot attempted during NBA games since 1996. This official database comprises essential data points like the location coordinates on the court, shot type, player performance, and more.

This API allows you to access the gold standard of basketball data and ensure consistency with official NBA records.

Third-Party Providers

Apart from the official NBA data, various third-party providers offer NBA datasets or tools. For example, has 44 NBA datasets compiled by thousands of users and organizations covering multiple topics, from NBA draft combine measurements to player statistics.

Another resource, BallR, offers interactive NBA shot charts using R and Shiny frameworks. This tool has been built with data from the NBA’s Stats API, presenting an easy way to explore player-level shot data.

For Python enthusiasts, you can create simple NBA shot charts with the help of the py_ball package, which serves as an API client to retrieve stats from

Lastly, Kaggle offers NBA shot logs from the 2014-2015 season, providing detailed information on shots taken, shot location, nearest defender, time on the shot clock, and many other valuable metrics.

Shot Chart Applications and Usage

Player Evaluation

NBA shot charts offer insights into players’ shooting ranges, accuracy, and preferred locations on the court.

By examining a player’s shot chart, you can identify their shooting hotspots and areas where they struggle. Additionally, comparing multiple players’ shot charts can help pinpoint their strengths, making evaluating their overall performance easier.

Team Performance

nba shot chart

Shot charts can also analyze a team’s shooting performance over time. This information may reveal patterns in a team’s offensive strategy and identify opportunities to improve shot selection. Comparing a team’s shot chart with their opponents can further provide insights into their defensive strengths and vulnerabilities, informing future game plans.

Game Strategy

Beyond player evaluation and team performance, NBA shot charts can prove useful in designing game strategies. Coaches and analysts can use these visualizations to recognize areas where opponents might be vulnerable or exhibit specific shooting tendencies. Armed with this knowledge, teams can implement defensive schemes to exploit these weaknesses or adjust their own offensive approach to maximize their scoring opportunities on the court.

Popular Shot Chart Tools

Several popular tools are available for analyzing and visualizing NBA shot chart data. Both free and paid options can help you dive deep into shot chart statistics. You can better understand players’ performance, strengths, and weaknesses with the right tools.

Free Tools

NBA Shot Charts is an excellent free site offering customization options, such as filtering by player, team, opponents, and season. Although still a work in progress, its interactive shot charts allow for a detailed examination of shooting patterns and selection.

Another free platform, Stats, provides a video and shot chart interface with granular filtering options for specific on-court events. This powerful tool allows you to explore shot data visually alongside actual game footage.

Paid Tools

StatMuse is a subscription-based service that offers a wealth of NBA shot chart data. With its AI-powered platform, you can ask natural language queries and get comprehensive charts to help you compare and analyze players’ performances.

So, whether you choose a free or paid tool, you’ll be well-equipped to explore NBA shot charts and gain insights into players’ shooting strategies and their impact on the game. Happy analyzing!

Personal Opinion

I think the NBA shot chart is a fantastic tool for understanding the game more deeply and improving one’s basketball knowledge. In my opinion, the best part about NBA shot charts is that they are visually informative, which means you can quickly grasp the shooting tendencies and hot zones of various players. Additionally, these charts make it easier to compare players’ performances across different seasons or teams, allowing you to dive into intriguing debates and discussions.

One aspect of the NBA shot chart I particularly appreciate is the data-driven thinking it promotes among fans. By providing detailed shooting statistics, the charts allow you to make more informed opinions about a player’s strengths and weaknesses. This, in turn, can help you become a more thoughtful and knowledgeable basketball fan.

So, if you want to enhance your understanding of the game or just want to explore shooting trends, I strongly recommend diving into the world of NBA shot charts. You will discover new perspectives on your favorite players and teams and have the satisfaction of engaging in data-driven conversations with fellow basketball enthusiasts. Happy analyzing!


Who has the most bank shots in the NBA?

Duncan was known for his fundamental approach to the game and had a deadly bank shot that he utilized throughout his career. He won five NBA championships with the Spurs and is widely regarded as one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history.

What is the percentage of open 3 shooting?

Three-point shooting percentage fluctuates significantly in small samples. The overwhelming majority of 3-point attempts are taken when the shooter is either open or wide open. Open 3-point shooting ranges between 33.5% and 35.6%.

What NBA player shot 100%?

Wilt Chamberlain has dropped the most points in a game with a field-goal percentage of 100.0, with 42 points against the Baltimore Bullets on February 24, 1967.

If you liked this blog article about the topic: NBA Shot Chart, don’t forget to leave us a comment down below to tell us about your experience.

Share your love
Avatar photo
Fabian Kühar
Articles: 320

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *