Home > Essays > Essay: Shawn Marion’s Failing Jumper

Essay: Shawn Marion’s Failing Jumper

The unique creature that is Shawn Marion’s jump shot has somehow managed to breathe for 12 solid years. The move could never stake claim as the prettiest thing associated with the NBA—overall the shot has had its peaks and valleys, just as everything else—but right now that ugly jumper’s effectiveness has dropped as low as ever, falling further below previous labels of aesthetic catastrophe to its current state: a detrimental offensive option.

Fives years ago, as his time with Phoenix was nearing an end, Marion’s true shooting percentage was 59.1 in 37 minutes a night, with a usage rate of 19.35. This season, with his usage rate the same and his minutes seven fewer per game, Marion’s true shooting percentage has dropped 10 points. He’s 33-years-old now and was 28 then, so it’s not as if this drop off in offensive production is surprising or unjustifiable, but when we look at his continued dominance on the defense end, what’s happened to Marion’s offense is a tad unsettling.

Here are a few fun facts relating to the lesser half of Shawn Marion’s game.

  • According to Hoopdata, Marion is dead last among small forwards who average at least 20 minutes per game in field goal percentage from 16-23 feet. (DEAD LAST!!). And he averages almost one shot per game. That’s insane. Last season he shot 43% from this distance, and this year it’s at a dismal 22%.
  • For every five shots he takes, one is a spot up jumper, and on those he averages 0.74 PPP.
  • The Mavericks offense scores 2.71 fewer points per 100 possessions when Marion is on the floor; as a point of reference, when Lamar Odom was on the team, Dallas scored 2.17 fewer points per 100 possessions when he was on the court. Obviously, being compared to Odom is never a good thing, and being compared in a way that reflects you’ve actually been worse is unspeakably shameful.
  • From last season to now, his shooting percentage form 3-9 feet has dropped from 44.8% to 33.6%.
  • He’s shooting 26.9% on corner threes.

Marion still has defense. Ah yes, the fluidity of Shawn Marion’s defense. His ability to man four separate stations, run, jump, poke, and prod the best and brightest our NBA has to offer with extreme success. It’s the stand alone quality that makes his contract not entirely laughable. But soon, it may not be enough. As those around him get younger and Marion continues to age, his ability to shoot increases in importance. Marion isn’t getting to the line, he isn’t stretching the floor, and he isn’t able to make up for those two negatives with what once was an incomparable athleticism. If Dallas is to repeat their magical run of a year ago, Shawn Marion’s ability to contribute on the offense end needs to make a monstrous come back.


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