Dwyane Wade's Field Goal Percentage: Trend or Mirage?Dwyane Wade is on-pace to shoot a career-low from the field (44.9%), down almost five percent from last season (49.1%). Is this poor shooting a trend, or should we expect a huge second half of the season from Wade? In his first six seasons Wade never shot below 46.5% from the field and his career average is 48%, so the first thought is that he has just been slumping and will return to his expected value by the season's end. When I first contemplated writing this last week Wade was shooting only 43%, and he's been hot in January to raise his average which would support the notion that he will bounce back. But before we commit to that prediction, let's go inside the numbers. According to 82games.com, here is Wade's ratio of inside shots vs jumpers through the years and his EFG% from each location.
03-04: 50% jump (37.1% EFG), 50% inside (58.6%)
04-05: 53% jump (38.9% EFG), 47% inside (59.1%)
05-06: 60% jump (39.3% EFG), 40% inside (66.2%)
06-07: 62% jump (40.3% EFG), 38% inside (67.1%)
07-08: 65% jump (39.1% EFG), 35% inside (64.9%)
08-09: 66% jump (44.2% EFG), 34% inside (65.9%)
09-10: 66% jump (38.9% EFG), 34% inside (61.9%)
You notice the trend? Wade has taken jumpers on an increasing number of his shots in every year, from 50% as a rookie up to 66% this season. Also, his effective shooting percentage on those jumpers has been 40% or less in every season except for last season. Looked at this way, you could easily make the argument that last year was a bit of a fluke as he shot by-far the highest percentage on jumpers that he ever has in his career. His shooting percentages from the inside this season look much like they always have, but more importantly his shooting percentage on jumpers ALSO looks a lot like it always has except for the outlier last season. So maybe his career-low field goal percentage pace isn't a slump or a fluke, it's just an indication that he is shooting more jumpers but that his jump shot has returned to it's more normal level.
I am unsure about Wade's prognosis, because I expect him to hit another late-season surge like he did last season once the finish line is in sight as he gears up for the playoffs. That said, after looking at the numbers it would appear to be unlikely that he could match last year's totals. Thus, I'll call his lower shooting percentage a TREND, with the expectation that maybe Wade gets it up into the 46% - 47% range before the year is out but not the 49% - 50% range one might have expected after last season.