Extreme Shooters in the NBA
14 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 4, 2019
It is widely perceived that star shooters in basketball have hot and cold streaks. In this study, we explore a novel approach to the hot hand question by considering the possibility that the human perception of hot handedness may be more closely related to the percentage of shots made by a player in a game (relative to the expectations set by his season-long hit percentage) than to streaks of shots made throughout the game. We work with simple formulations of “hot” and “cold” that rely entirely on field goal percentages and number of shots taken, using data from the official NBA API on all field goals attempted in the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 NBA seasons by top shooters. We determine that certain players — including Klay Thompson, who is often considered the prime example of hot handed shooting — display signs of hot and cold handedness in our extreme shooting formulation of the hot hand question.
Keywords: hot hand, cold hand, extreme shooter, season average, distribution of game averages, p-value, binomial distribution, quantile
JEL Classification: C12, C14, C15
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