NBA general managers have never had a better opportunity to draft quality shooters. This month, Washington’s Markelle Fultz (53.5 effective field goal percentage), UCLA’s Lonzo Ball (66.8 eFG%), Kansas’ Josh Jackson (55.2 eFG%) and Kentucky’s Malik Monk (54.3 eFG%) headline one of the most loaded draft classes of this century. It will be much needed, too, as the 2016 NBA Draft produced just one double-digit scorer in former Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield.
Lonzo Ball and Indiana’s O.G. Anunoby, who both figure to be drafted within the first 16 selections on June 22, are the two most efficient guard/wing shooters to enter the draft since 2002. At 66.8 and 62.0 effective field goal percentage, respectively, Ball and Anunoby join Doug McDermott (61.6 eFG% with Creighton) and Kyrie Irving (61.5 eFG% with Duke) in the elusive 60.0+ eFG% club.
Averaging each draft’s effective field goal percentages of the first ten players drafted that were either points guards, shooting guards or small forwards, the 2017 NBA will likely become the best shooting draft in over 15 years.
Using DraftExpress’ latest mock draft, the average effective field goal percentage of the first ten projected guards/wings off the board would be 54.6%. This year’s draft could be the first to see two 60.0+ eFG% shooters selected among the first 10 guards/wings, with eight of the 10 averaging an effective field goal percentage greater than 50.0%. In 2014, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas (59.1 eFG%) and North Carolina State’s T.J. Warren (57.9 eFG%) were both selected in the lottery, the best 1-2 punch in the data set.
Collegiate effective field goal percentage continues to be an indicator of future NBA shooting potential. The top shooter has typically amounted to at least a role player in the NBA, highlighted by Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry, Utah Jazz’s Gordon Hayward and Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving.
Players selected that recorded an effective field goal percentage of 47.0% or worse averaged just 44.5 eFG% at the next level. The vast majority of draft prospects recorded effective field goal percentages between 47.1% and 56.0%, where it has translated to an average shooting mark in the NBA. Elite college shooters, however, like Steph Curry, have shined after their draft day. Expect the 2017 draft class to produce at least a few stars of its own.