What is the effective area target percentage? (eFG% explained)

Over the past few decades, basketball statistics and analysis have progressed rapidly, changing the way people view, play and evaluate the game.

Nothing has had a bigger impact on the game than the explosion of three point shooting which has grown exponentially over time.

And at the same time, we are looking for better ways to evaluate shooting ability.

Let’s take a closer look at effective field goal percentage (eFG%), how it differs from field goal percentage (FG%), and how you can use it to get a better idea of ​​your team’s offensive play.

What is the effective area target percentage?

One of the most important new figures is Effective Area Target Percentage,

It was first introduced in 2002 by Dean Oliver in his book, “Basketball on Paper”

(which is one of 100 Books We Recommend All Coaches Read Before They Die,

Dean recognized the shortcomings of field goal percentage and proposed effective field goal percentage (eFG%) – one of his “four factors” for predicting a team’s success.

It is a simple calculation that weighs the additional advantage that a scored three-pointer has, allowing more accurate evaluations of both teams and individual players.

This made some “traditional” figures such as area target percentages somewhat out of date.

why is it important?

Regular field goal percentages, like batting averages in baseball, do not do a good job of fully explaining a player’s offensive contribution.

The effective area target percentage works better because it:

  • The value of the three indicator has a fair weight compared to the built two point basket.
  • A better indicator for past and future aggressive performance.
  • The higher overall area removes the bias of the target percentage.

Effective Area Target Percentage Calculation

Effective Area Target Percentage Weighted Most four factors at 40%.

(The other three factors are: offensive rebounding percentage, turnover percentage, and free throw rate.)

To calculate the effective area target percentage:

  • Assign 1 point for every two-point basket
  • Assign 1.5 points for each three-point basket
  • add two numbers together
  • Divide by the total number of field goals attempted
  • multiply by 100 to get the percentage

An example:

Assume a player shoots 5 – 10 in a game from the field, including 3 – 4 from behind the 3-point line.

This will happen:

  • 2 two-point baskets (2 points)
  • 3 three-point baskets (4.5 points)
  • Total 6.5 marks (2 + 4.5)
  • 6.5/10 = 0.65
  • 0.65 * 100% = 65 EFG%

Field Target Percentage (FG%) vs. Effective Field Target Percentage (eFG%)

Let’s look at the shooting percentage of two different players and try to evaluate their shooting.

Both play (3) and will be considered the “go-to man” on the offensive end.

  • Player A Field Goal Percentage – 45.3%
  • Player B Field Goal Percentage – 50.4%

This number should make it clear who is the better shooter…

Putting aside factors like utilization rate, it seems that Player B is the better offensive player, right?

But let’s look at their eFG%…

  • Player A EFG%: 52.6%
  • Player B EFG%: 52.1%

Player A is Celtics superstar Jason Tatum.

Player B is Chicago Bulls midrange master Demar DeRozan.

DeMar Derozan makes his living between paint and the three point line. But while he’s an excellent midrange shooter, his shot profile requires him to make those shots at a very high rate to maintain efficiency.

But for Jason Tatum, not only is he a solid three-point shooter (35% of his shots on all three), but he takes a significant number of them (8.6 three games this season).

Compare this to DeRozan, who also made 35% of his threes, but only took two per game.

Tatum’s shots have more “value,” making up for his lower field target percentage because the shots he takes are worth more.

What is a good eFG%?

Most players shoot between 40% and 50% off the field.

For the most part, we consider anything above this to be “excellent” and anything below that is considered “poor” shooting.

Effective field goal percentage has not received equal treatment, even as teams begin to rely more on it to evaluate performance.

The data is not always readily available, although websites prefer teamranking.com There are a great resource for “advanced” statistics.

For many NBA evaluators, an eFG% of 51% or higher is good, while anything under 50% is subpar.

For example, Julius Randall was last in an effective field goal percentage in last year’s NBA qualifiers at 45.9%.

Here are the top-25 players in the NBA by effective field goal percentage in 2021-2022:


It’s interesting that eFG% should value the three point shot fairly, yet most of the players on this list are center and power forwards who make their living in the paint.

But a shot made in basketball is still the most valuable shot, whether it comes from two or three.

Rim running monsters like Robert Williams III, Rudy Gobert and Jarrett Allen shoot a very high percentage because almost all of their shots are dunks and free throws.

While there are a few sharp shooters on this list like Seth Curry and Malik Monk, what we consider to be the league’s best shooters like Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving are absent.

that takes me…

Weaknesses of EFG%

Knowing that some of the best shooters in the world are not at the top of the list, does this mean that effective field target percentage is a poor statistic for evaluating individual offensive performance?

not at all.

But eFG% and . It is important to understand the context of apply other statistics To properly evaluate the players.

No one would eliminate the offense of five centers simply because they were in the top-five in the eFG%.

Many of the top-25 players are complementary players who have been set up by the best players on their team.

These are usually in the form of either a lobe on the rim, or, in the case of players such as Dorian Finney-Smith and Seth Curry, a wide open three.

These players are not asked to finish many assets and are not required to make a hard shot with a dribble when the shot clock is ticking.

This is what makes players like Nikola Jokic, Giannis and of course LeBron so valuable on offense.

They are high-use players who take very hard shots but can still convert at a rate comparable to the NBA’s Rudy Goberts who is mostly offensive rebounds and clearing lobs.

However, this does not diminish the importance of these centers – but it does add the necessary context to their diminutive numbers.

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