In basketball, which shot should you take?

How much a shot is worth on the basketball court depends on the shooter’s location and whether or not he’s drawn a foul. But is the number of points a shot is worth the best way for a player to decide which type of shot to make?

In this lesson, students use probability and expected value to determine how much 3-point and 2-point shots are “worth” to different NBA players. They also model foul shots as independent events, and identify players for whom the best option is a trip to the free throw line.

- Use NBA statistics to calculate the probability of making a 3- and 2-point shot for different players
- Calculate the expected value of 3- and 2-point shots for different players
- Calculate the expected value of drawing a foul when attempting a 2-point shot
- Compare expected values to identify a best option when shooting for different NBA players

NBA, Stephen Curry, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Paul Millsap