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Advanced stat of the week: true shooting percentage

Who is Texas Tech’s best shooter?

This is the second of a weekly installment where we will dive deeper into the numbers of Texas Tech basketball. Each week, a different advanced statistic will be presented, explained and viewed within the context of the Red Raider season. Our analysis will go beyond the familiar numbers of points per game or field goal percentage. Those long-kept statistics are nice to look at, but hardly shed light on the entire story of what takes place on the hardwood. If there is a stat you want to be featured next week, just leave a comment below.

The stat

This week we are going to look at true shooting percentage (TS%). The official definition of TS% is “a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws.” Basically, it’s a one-stop shop for keeping track of who your best shooters are. Instead of looking at different stats like free throw percentage, field goal percentage, and three point percentage separately, TS% includes all of those shot attempts into one stat.

How to calculate it

TS% is relatively straight forward to calculate. Field goal attempts includes both two- and three-point shots.

How Texas Tech stacks up

For the purposes of this week’s analysis, I only included those players who play a prominent role in the rotation and will likely see consistent playing time during conference play.

Red Raiders TS%

Player TS%
Player TS%
Zhaire Smith 69.7%
Keenan Evans 62.4%
Jarrett Culver 60.5%
Norense Odiase 57.9%
Niem Stevenson 56.2%
Davide Moretti 56.2%
Zach Smith 53.9%
Brandone Francis 53.8%
Justin Gray 53.6%
Tommy Hamilton 49.9%

Right off the bat, Zhaire Smith jumps out at you when looking at this list. “Jumps” is the appropriate verb because Zhaire shows off his hops each time he takes the court with a bevy of dunks, which happen to be the highest percentage shot you can take on a basketball court. But, you can’t chalk up his place at the top of this list to simply his dunking the ball a lot. Zach Smith gets plenty of dunks as well, but he doesn’t have nearly the same TS%. Zhaire has proven that he can knock down mid-range jumpers, be solid at the free throw line, and can even step out to the three point line with accuracy. Combine that with his knack to find himself at the rim for an easy two, and you end up with the most effective shooter on the team.

Not that far behind him, and not surprising to see towards the top of the list, are Keenan Evans and Jarrett Culver. The duo have been Coach Chris Beard’s best two offensive weapons this season, and the fact their TS% is high means they are efficient as well as effective. Culver would actually have an even higher TS% if he starts knocking down his free throws at a better rate. He’s currently only shooting 55.2 percent from the line.

Perhaps most telling from this list is something we have known about the Red Raiders all along, they are deep. Six of the ten rotation players are shooting it at a clip above 56 percent, and three more are hovering right around 54 percent. The plethora of comparable, quality options allows Tech to play off what the defense is giving them and ride whoever has the hot hand that particular game. It is difficult for opponents to effectively game plan against every single option since everyone in the rotation is a real possibility they need to account for. This flexibility should be an advantage now that conference play is starting, an the Red Raiders will see everyone else in the conference at least twice.