As long as there has been basketball, coaches and fans have had to endure bad shooting. In fact, early basketball was particularly rife with misfires. Think Austin Rivers' 31 percent mark from the floor this season is terrible? That would have been par for the course in the late 1940s. In 1946-47, Bob Feerick led the Basketball Association of America -- the precursor to the NBA -- by shooting a mere 40 percent from the field.
Fortunately, leaguewide shooting has improved markedly over the past 66 years. These days, the NBA's average field goal percentage hovers around 45 percent, and that number actually understates the league's true level of offensive efficiency because of the 3-point shot (after all, making 33 percent on 3s is the equivalent of 50 percent on 2s). Once you take into account the additional point a 3-pointer provides, you'll find that league shooting efficiency hit all-time highs in 2010-11, before lockout rust caused a dip last season.
As a consequence, efficiency from the floor is at a premium now, and poor shooting performances stand out even more. One way to measure such awfulness is a statistic John Hollinger once called the "Brick Index," which compares a player's true shooting percentage (a shooting efficiency metric that takes into account 2-pointers, 3-pointers and free throws) to the league average, estimating how many points per 40 minutes a player hurts his team with his bricklaying.
The problem with true shooting percentage as a referendum on actual shooting skill is that it rewards those players who rarely shoot, and when they do, rarely venture outside point-blank range of the basket.
Take Tyson Chandler, for instance, who has the sixth-highest career true shooting mark in NBA history. Chandler has a career usage rate of 14 percent, meaning he only has a hand in the outcome of his teams' offensive possessions every seven trips down the floor (contrast that with someone like Kobe Bryant, who takes an active role in one out of every three Lakers possessions). There's a big element of selection bias in Chandler's sky-high efficiency -- he isn't penalized for all of the "shots not taken" on his watch, instances where he deferred to a teammate who had to create offense instead. Operating at such a low usage level, the only attempts that end up being credited to Chandler's record are the cream of the crop, the easiest shots on the menu.
Further, Chandler's eye-popping efficiency mark has a blind spot for shooting range. While he shoots 58 percent from the field overall, his career conversion rate on jump shots is just 31 percent. The case is similar for other big men who rank atop the true shooting leaders -- DeAndre Jordan is 13.6 percent below the NBA average effective field goal percentage (a variant of regular FG percentage that adds an extra half-point for 3-pointers) on jump shots and Dwight Howard is 17.1 percent below average.
Reformulating the Brick Index, then, to only include shots considered "jumpers" in Basketball-Reference's play-by-play database, here are the five worst active jump-shooters of the past 12 seasons.
eFG% on jumpers: 33.6 percent (10.2 percent lower than NBA average) | Brick Index: 1.54