Analytics suggest the mid-range shot is dead. Those advanced stats advocates think players should just give up on a wide-open mid-range shot and either take a three-pointer or a layup, just because it's a "bad shot".
Hell, even scouting reports tend to reflect when a prospect takes too many mid-range shots as if it were a bad thing, even though every single one of the greatest scorers in the history of the game has had that on their bag.
As a matter of fact, we still see dominant scorers thrive off the mid-range in modern basketball, like Kawhi Leonard, for instance. Jayson Tatum, DeMar DeRozan, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and - not so long ago - even Dwyane Wade.
The game has changed and we can't deny that. Players aren't encouraged to take those kinds of shots anymore and they can even get an earful for it. However, some of the best to ever do it less than 20 years ago actually made the most of their shots from the elbow and the high post.
In fact, a 40-year-old Michael Jordan was still a bucket during the 2002-03 season, relying mostly on that shot. Moreover, the best scores in the league also took hundreds of mid-range pull-up shots and no one could guard them. How's that so? Let's take a look:
Michael Jordan scored a total of 1,640 points (20.0 ppg) shot 43.3% (457/1056) from mid-range, which was the highest percentage on the league back in the day. That was better than:
- Tracy McGrady - 327/757 (43.2%) from mid-range, 2,407 total points (32.1 ppg)
- Vince Carter - 161/383 (42%) from mid-range, 884 total points (20.6 ppg)
- Kobe Bryant - 376/918 (41%) from mid-range, 2,461 total points (30.0 ppg)
- Allen Iverson - 346/895 (38.7%) from mid-range, 2,262 total points (27.6 ppg)
- Paul Pierce - 203/570 (35.6%) from mid-range, 2,048 total points (25.9 ppg)
What I'm trying to prove here is that a guy that had been out of the league twice, that was already entering his fourth decade, and that was allegedly washed out was still making defenses pay with the "worst" shot in basketball.
Hoopers hoop, and scorers will find the way to get the ball in the basket, regardless of what analytics say. If the shot's open, take it.