The Shot Chart Maker over at Prominent Basketball Blog Nylon Calculus is a powerful informational tool. We can use it to explore the shooting exploits of the powerful shotmaker who bends space to his will…
...the selective assassin, plying his trade in dark corners…
….maniacs shouting into the void, on a desperate search for the swish of the net, and the tiny jolt of dopamine it creates…
...and the master craftsman, who lives for the simple joy of the rim in his fingers.
But what these shot charts refuse to show is the despair of the men who didn’t manage to get off one field goal attempt. The ghost in the machine simply wanders past these tragic heroes of a different age: 96-97 Bruce Bowen, 03-04 Olden Polynice, and 13-14 Chris Smith, seasons lost to the ages, with no visual document to tell us of their struggle.
The closest we can get is pulling up the shot charts of players who only took one FGA. Feel your breath leave you as you look upon Darko Militic’s 2013-13:
Where was Darko’s single field goal attempt, his last as a player in the NBA? The computer hunts and hunts, but it cannot find it. Other documents tell us it was a two point miss, but what kind? A botched putback? A patented DarkoHook that ricocheted off the backboard? Something much scarier, a shot that, if seen, reveals a contour of the universe man isn’t ready for? Was it the DarkoFade that the prophecy foretold?
Nene is now a one named legend who is known for his efficient, team play and excellent physique that suggests that he works out. But once, he tore his ACL on the first game of the season after only getting up one field goal attempt. If you look hard enough, you will see beyond the emptiness and into the year of surgery and intensive, tedious rehab that the Brazilian big man endured to return to the NBA better than ever. It is an inspiring emptiness, like a man walking out of the desert alive and well.
In his one minute played last year, DeAndre Liggins racked up one offensive rebound and one field goal, good for a 129.1 PER. But Erik Spolestra shut him down: why? Was Spo afraid that this kind of sustained production would break basketball forever? Did Rich Paul and La Familia get to him, and let him know that there could only be one best basketball player on the planet on the Miami Heat?
Andris Biedrins, the Shotless Wonder, owns the distinction of having played the most minutes while only registering a single field goal attempt. Biedrins was serving as an example to the young guns of the 2013-14 Jazz, a totem of what happens when fear of being fouled keeps you and your dreams grounded. I went to NBA.com’s stats site to see what kind of shot it was, but the site won’t register it. It’s as if it was wiped from the record completely.