There’s this thing in math called the Golden Ratio. You, of course, know The Golden Ratio as Ace of Base’s fifth album, but it’s also a relationship between two numbers that shows up all over the place in art and nature. It basically means that, for two numbers, the proportion of the sum to the larger number is equal to the proportion of the larger number to the smaller number. (Please don’t quit on me now.)
I don’t know how to do a square root in WordPress to show the whole equation, so let’s just agree that the Golden Ratio is about 1.62. It shows up in the facade of the Parthenon and, supposedly, in the geometric compositions of plants and animals, like this angelfish:
So it’s fitting that the Golden Ratio also applies to the ideal shot chart of a man who was named after a fish: Brandon Bass.
In last night’s breakout game, Bass took five long jumpers, three short jumpers, and five FGA at the rim, plus five more that led to shooting fouls. That’s a departure from a typical Brandon Bass outing: he usually takes more than twice as many jumpers (8.1 per game this season) as he does shots at the rim (2.6, although we don’t have numbers for the times he was fouled).
The year long ratio between Bass’s jumpers and FGA at the rim this season was 3.11. I submit that, for the rest of the playoffs, he should seek to make his jumpers/rim FGA exactly what it was last night: 8/5 = 1.6. The Golden Ratio, almost. So if he takes six jumpers, he should balance it out with about four attempts at the rim. If he takes 10, he needs to go to the rim at least six times. I’m talking about shot chart numbers, so none of these ratios include his rim attempts that draw a foul, meaning he should actually be going to the rim a few more times than that.
Attacking the rim more often suits Bass for a number of reasons. First: Rondo rewards cutters. Bass, like Bradley, is almost always the third or fourth option on the floor. Defenders will sag off him, especially because of hit reputation as a jump shooter. But last night he betrayed his defender’s trust by cutting to the rim several times, and he was paid in dunks.
Second: he can get there on his own. If Bass gets the ball within five feet of the rim, he’s mobile enough to put it on the ground and spin-bump his way into better position. He does this with such wild, reckless joy I wonder why he doesn’t more often.
Third: he has fat strength. Have you ever played basketball against an actual fat person? Not fat like that Sixer fan: just a really beefy dude. Because fat guys are really, really tough to defend at the rim. Their extra circumference gives the ball that much extra protection when they put the ball up, so you as a defender find yourself struggling to get your hands anywhere near the shot, even if you’re the same height as the big guy. If the dude has any level of finesse, he’s either dinking layups in uncontested or getting fouled.
Bass isn’t fat, per se. But he’s very, very broad. Look at his shoulder-to-shoulder width sometime: he’s built like a soda can. So when he’s in good position and he goes up strong at the rim, defenders on his shoulders can struggle to find the ball without slapping his arm, especially undersized guys like the ones peppering the Philly roster.
So for the reasons above, Bass should try to hit that 1.61 ratio when he divides his jumpers by his rim FGA after the game. Bass’s jumper is obviously important. Defenders need to account for it. It’s also so aesthetically kooky it’s travels full circle to beautiful: the leg kick, the full topside coverage of the left hand, the 110-degree lean his body takes in the air. So it’s important for a lot of reasons. But as the Stockton-Webber team pointed out many times last night, Bass’s rim work should give him more open looks on his jumper, as his jumper will likewise give him a little edge when he takes that one hard dribble to the rim.