TrueHoop looked at the last 5 minutes of 2012 NBA playoff games to try to answer the question: who should take the last shot, your superstar or a random wide open teammate?
And you know what we found? The Archangel, Hero Ball offense isn't the best. Though it may not be as fun, if your star has a passing lane to a wide open shooter, that's almost certainly better.
Through last night's play, “go-to players” are shooting 41.8 percent (71-170), including 25.6 percent (11-43) from 3.
Other players who happen to be open are shooting 54.2 percent (58-107) on field goal attempts, including 36 percent (18-50) from 3.
That is a massive difference. Teams shooting 41.8 percent from the floor almost never beat teams shooting 54.2 percent. It is a strong reflection on the power of competing against no defense.
You get a sense for why this might be watching NBA players warm up for a game. When they're shooting without anyone on them, NBA players make a shockingly high percentage of their shots.
Another entertaining data point to support this case: this video of Gilbert Arenas's 3-point shooting contest with teammate DeShawn Stevenson in practice in 2007. Both shot 100 3-pointers, Arenas using one hand from college 3-point range, DeShawn using two hands from NBA range. The outcome is entertaining, but just as impressive is the sheer number they make.