Exploring eFG%: What is Effective Field Goal Percentage?

Written by: Chris Hungerford



Time to read 9 min

What is effective field goal percentage (eFG) in basketball?

Have you been wondering about effective field goal percentage (eFG) in basketball?

The world of basketball analytics can often feel like an enigma, with new metrics and statistics being introduced frequently.

One such metric that has gained prominence over the years is the effective field goal percentage.

This statistic isn't just another number; it’s a game-changer.

In fact, understanding eFG% could completely transform how you evaluate player performance and team strategy.

No longer do we solely rely on traditional stats to assess offensive efficiency.

We now have more nuanced tools like eFG% at our disposal.

Table of Contents:

Grasping the Concept of Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

The basketball world was introduced to a new statistical metric, known as effective field goal percentage or eFG%, by Dean Oliver in his book 'Basketball on Paper.' This innovative approach allowed for an accurate assessment of shooting abilities and offensive scoring skills at both team and individual levels.

The Genesis and Significance of eFG%

In traditional evaluations using standard field goal percentages, all successful shots are considered equal. However, this method overlooks the additional point earned from three-pointers. Recognizing this shortfall led to Oliver's development of a novel formula that appropriately values these extra points.

eFG% assigns 1 point for each two-point basket made while every three-pointer is worth 1.5 points. These figures are then added together before being divided by the total number of field goal attempts; multiplying the result by 100 gives us our final percentage - an apt representation that reflects more than just good scoring skills.

A Key Metric in Contemporary Basketball

As we see an increasing strategic emphasis on three-point shooting within modern basketball dynamics, understanding how average eFG% largely factors into overall performance has become crucial, whether you're coaching high school teams or analyzing professional games. Websites like TeamRankings offer comprehensive data about NBA players' eFG%.

This statistic provides insights into a player's efficiency: Player A, who sinks fewer baskets but shoots more threes, might have a higher eFG% compared to Player B, who primarily scores through two-pointers despite having better FG + FT stats. This makes it clear why context matters when evaluating player performances based solely on their highest regular season eFG%.

Noting that eFG% can offer useful insights, it is important to factor in additional elements such as team dynamics when assessing a player's performance. For instance, a high-usage star taking difficult contested half-court shots often may convert at comparable rates with those whose primary role involves clean-up duties after rebounds or lobs.

Key Takeaway: Understanding eFG% is key in modern basketball, as it accurately values shooting abilities by considering the extra point from three-pointers. It's a vital metric for assessing player efficiency and game strategy but should be used alongside other factors to evaluate overall performance.

Unraveling the Differences: Field Goal Percentage (FG%) vs Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

In basketball, evaluating a player's shooting prowess can be quite complex. Calculating a player's shooting skill has historically been done with the field goal percentage, or FG%, which is found by dividing successful shots into total attempts. However, this metric is insufficient as it fails to account for the difference between two-point and three-point shots.

Evaluating Shooters Using Traditional FG%

Under the lens of standard field goal percentages alone, a high FG% could paint an image of efficiency for Player A who makes 5 out of his 10 attempted shots from the floor - equating to a seemingly impressive 50%. But what if most were merely two-point baskets?

This scenario calls into question whether traditional metrics like a batting average in baseball truly reflect offensive scoring skills accurately in today's game where three-pointers have gained prominence.

Diving Deeper with eFG%

The effective field goal percentage steps up here, offering more nuance. It assigns additional weightage to successful three-pointer shots since they contribute more points than regular baskets (Basketball Reference).

If we reassess Player A using eFG%, their performance might not seem as stellar, especially if all made baskets were just twos while missing every single attempt beyond the three-point line.

A Practical Illustration

To compute Player A's eFG%, assign one point for each successful shot inside the arc and one-and-a-half points per basket scored behind it. Add these together, and divide the sum by the total number of attempts taken before multiplying the result by one hundred, yielding a final figure expressed as a percent. 

Now let us consider another example: Suppose you have a second shooter named B also having FG% at fifty, but the composition differs significantly - four out of five threes are converted alongside only one success within a shorter range. Even though both players boast identical raw figures when assessed through the prism provided by conventional methods i.e., FG%, however, once viewed under the microscope offered via eFG%, disparities become

Key Takeaway: In the game of hoops, don't be fooled by traditional FG%. It's like comparing apples to oranges when you mix two-point and three-point shots. Enter eFG%, a more refined lens that weighs in the value of threes, giving us a clearer picture of shooting efficiency.

Case Study - Jayson Tatum vs DeMar DeRozan

The eFG% mathematical reality becomes more evident when we consider the playing styles of two NBA players: Jayson Tatum and DeMar DeRozan.

Analyzing their respective shot profiles

In contrast to Tatum's style, Chicago Bulls player DeMar DeRozan leans towards midrange shots rather than threes.

  1. Taking into account only standard field goal percentages (FG%), it may appear that DeRozan has superior offensive scoring skills due to his higher FG%, which results largely from numerous two-point field goal attempts.
  2. This perspective shifts once you factor in eFG%. Despite having a lower overall FG%, every successful shot beyond the three-point line by a high school team's star player like Tatum carries additional weight compared to any other wide-open or contested half-court shot within it.

Comparing their efficiencies through eFG%

What Constitutes A Good Effective Field Goal Percentage?

In the realm of basketball analytics, defining a good effective field goal percentage (eFG%) can spark diverse opinions. Yet, it's widely accepted that an eFG% ranging from 40% - 50% is indicative of average shooting performance.

NBA Standards for High eFG%

The NBA has seen remarkable feats in terms of eFG%, with DeAndre Jordan setting the highest regular season record at 71.4%. This figure might seem unattainable to many players as Jordan mainly excelled due to his role as a dunker and finisher near the basket. However, this illustrates how different roles on the court can lead to varying players' eFG%.

Around 51% is generally considered by most evaluators within the league as a satisfactory starting point for high eFG%. Players achieving these figures consistently demonstrate commendable offensive scoring skills and efficiency across their various field goal attempts, including both two-pointers and three-point shots.

Variety Among Top Performers

An intriguing aspect when examining top performers' effective field goal percentages reveals that not all are sharpshooters like Stephen Curry. Some have adopted unique strategies around free throws or dunks that enhance their overall scoring effectiveness (SA = Shooting Effectiveness).

Rim-running centers such as Rudy Gobert or Clint Capela often secure higher than average eFG%s because they mainly take uncontested shots close to the rim instead of attempting wide-open shots beyond the three-point line, which inherently carry more risk. Their primary source of points scored comes from less risky areas closer to the basket, where there's a lower probability of missing compared to contested half-court shots.

Another group who significantly contributes towards a team's higher winning percentage, despite having relatively low standard field goal and free throw statistics, includes those proficient at drawing fouls leading to free throw attempts - James Harden being a prime example here. These players' ability to draw contact enhances their value even if it doesn't directly reflect traditional shooting stats like standard made per game.

Key Takeaway: In the basketball world, a good eFG% is generally seen as 40-50%. However, different roles on the court can lead to higher percentages - dunkers like DeAndre Jordan or rim-runners such as Rudy Gobert often outperform sharpshooters. Meanwhile, players adept at drawing fouls (like James Harden) also contribute significantly to team success despite lower

Limitations of Solely Relying on Effective Field Goal Percentage

The effective field goal percentage (eFG%) has transformed how we analyze players' eFG% and their offensive scoring skills in basketball. However, it's essential to understand its limitations when used as the only evaluation tool.

In essence, players' roles within team dynamics significantly influence this statistic, making high-usage players who take difficult shots often convert at comparable rates with those whose primary role involves clean-up duties after rebounds or lobs.

Player Roles and Team Dynamics Impact eFG%

A high eFG% does not guarantee a player is an all-around performer, as the position they occupy within their team's setup can have a major influence on this metric. The position a player holds within their team setup influences this metric greatly. For instance, some might have lower percentages due to taking more contested half-court shots compared to teammates focusing on dunks or layups off assists from playmakers.

Evaluating shooters based solely on eFG% could potentially undervalue contributions while overvaluing others.

eFG% does not account for situational factors like time left on the shot clock or defensive pressure during field goal attempts, which may affect shooting efficiency.

The Role of Free Throws in Player Evaluation

An important aspect missing from the calculation of eFG% is free throw attempts. Since these do not count towards field goals but add directly to points scored, they can drastically change individual contribution without affecting his/her eFG%. This means proficient foul drawers converting effectively from the free-throw line may appear less efficient if evaluated solely through eFG%, despite contributing considerably towards actual points scored by teams.

Predictive Power Limitations of eFG%

Last but not least, past performance isn't always indicative of future outcomes - even in basketball statistics. While average eFG% largely reflects historical data accurately captured over multiple games, they don't necessarily predict future performance reliably enough alone, given variability in sports competitions themselves.

Key Takeaway: While the effective field goal percentage (eFG%) offers valuable insights into a player's scoring efficiency in basketball, it shouldn't be the only metric for evaluation. It doesn't account for team dynamics, situational factors, or free-throw attempts - all crucial aspects of gameplay. Plus, past eFG% isn't always a reliable predictor of future performance.

FAQs in Relation to What is Effective Field Goal Percentage Efg in Basketball

What is effective field goal percentage in basketball?

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) is a statistical measure that adjusts regular shooting percentages to account for the extra point provided by three-pointers.

What's a good effective field goal percentage?

A good eFG% typically falls between 50% - 55%. Anything above this range can be considered excellent, while anything below may indicate poor shooting performance.

How is effective FG% calculated?

eFG% is calculated using the formula: (Field Goals + 0.5 * Three Point Field Goals) / Field Goal Attempts. This accounts for the additional value of three-point shots.

Who has the highest effective field goal percentage?

The player with the highest career eFG% in NBA history as of now is DeAndre Jordan, thanks largely to his high volume of dunks and close-range shots.