Is Chris Goulding the greatest shooter in the NBL today… Or possibly ever?

Is Chris Goulding the greatest shooter in the NBL today… Or possibly ever?


Chris Goulding has been deadly from beyond the arc since he returned from Spain.

The shots he has been taking AND making in the NBL this year are ridiculous, step back three’s, running floaters from behind the three-point line, buzzer beaters from deep. And it’s not the type of shots he’s been taking but how many. 9 games into the season and Goulding is averaging 9.5 three-point attempts per game, a clear 2 extra attempts more than anyone in the league.


It feels like this kind of shooting skill hasn’t been seen in the NBL for a number of years, but is that a fact, or is the truth hidden behind the swagger and showmanship that Goulding also treats the fans to on a regular basis.


To investigate this further, it’s best to look at the numbers.


The advanced analytics we’ve utilised for this analysis are four very effective formulas used extensively throughout the NBA.


TS% – True Shooting Percentage

Definition: What a player’s shooting percentage would be if we accounted for free throws and 3-pointers. Formula = Total points / [(FGA + (0.44 x FTA)]


eFG% – Effective Field Goal Percentage

Definition: This statistic accounts for the fact that a three-point field goal is worth more than a two-point field goal. Formula = (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA


PPS: Points Per Shot

Definition: This statistic allows for the fact that an effective scorer can score additional points for his team by drawing fouls as well as three-point efficiency. So how many peoples can one score per shot attempt. Formula = (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA


So how does Goulding compare in these three categories amongst his perimeter-based contemporaries?


Chris Goulding20.357%55%1.220945%15036%8678%23
Kirk Penney19.156%51%1.229942%14045%5885%33
Cam Gliddon11.954%51%1.203843%7927%4579%19
Jermaine Beal14.649%40%1.147834%10226%4388%41


True Shooting Percentage has him leading the pack. Reason being that despite Kirk Penney having a better three-point percentage Goulding is doing the damage while shooting a higher percentage from the field (45% vs. 42%).


By these same principles, we see Goulding lead NBL wings in Effective Field Goal Percentage.

Goulding rates as an even stronger shooter in this statistic due to the crazy percentage of his shots which come from beyond the arc.

Almost half his shots (47%) come from beyond the arc. To do this and still hover around 45% field goal percentage for the year is quite a feat.


Compare that to the other elite wings in the league.


Percentage of total field goals taken three-point range.

Chris Goulding – 47% (20 points per game)

Cam Gliddon – 57% (12 points per game)

Kirk Penney – 41% (19 points per game)

Jermaine Beal – 42% (15 points per game)


While the Taipan’s Cam Gliddon takes 57% of his shots from downtown, this is in part due to being a role player at Cairns and able to knock down three’s primarily off rotations at the end of plays. Goulding doesn’t have that luxury, he is United’s primary scorer and is relied on to do so at a much higher rate. This is shown by the fact Goulding has taken almost heaved up almost double  the amount of long range which Gliddon has (86 vs. 45). Would Gliddon have that same percentage if he was required to double the amount of three’s he shot every game, unlikely? Goulding’s skill is shown not only in his effectiveness but  has aggressiveness as well.


Points Per Shot shows that Kirk Penney certainly has a case for the league’s most effective scorer, with a slight edge on Goulding in this category. However with both players are basically neck and neck here, both shooting approx. 150 shots and averaging approx. 20 points per game, it’s much of a muchness with this one.

So how does Goulding rate amongst the legends, the all-time greats of the NBL’s “car park”.


Judge for yourself.


Below are the statistics are taken from great shooters like Andrew Gaze, Shane Heal, John Rillie, Brett Maher and Jason Smith during their most effective shooting NBL seasons.


John Rillie200719.170%67%1.5833553%42247%25787%119
Andrew Gaze199037.669%65%1.5862257%52239%20087%173
Jason Smith200120.564%63%1.3882950%42847%23273%80
Brett Maher199718.863%60%1.3703047%41146%24180%84
Shane Heal199425.263%59%1.3722846%51443%32686%109
Kirk Penney200824.261%57%1.3743147%54543%25677%164
Chris Goulding2015/1620.357%55%1.220945%15036%8678%23
Kirk Penney2015/1619.156%51%1.229942%14045%5885%33
Cam Gliddon2015/1611.954%51%1.203843%7927%4579%19
Jermaine Beal2015/1614.649%40%1.147834%10226%4388%41


Despite the obvious increase in NBL talent this year, numbers from this season pale in comparison to the stars of yesteryear. But don’t take this and turn it into one of those “The NBL was better in the 90’s” conversations because even though the best were shooting at much higher percentages, the defence during those years was nowhere near that which players face in today’s NBL.


Goulding is unmistakably the best shooter we have in our league and like the NBA and AFL you can’t compare different eras.  There has been too much change in diets, rehabilitation, coaching, even the rules of the game to clearly compare a player with someone who played almost a decade ago.


So just enjoy the spectacle which is the shooting prowess of Chris Goulding and watch as this emerging superstar solidifies (deservedly) his spot on the 2016 Australian Olympic squad.


Editor’s Note: How crazy is it that John Rillie had his most effective season at age 38 and averaged 19 points per game while doing it.


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Dan BoyceAuthor: Dan Boyce (366 Posts)

Dan Boyce is a die-hard Sydney Kings fan who grew up in Melbourne during the roaring 90's of Australian Basketball and spent far too much time collecting Futera NBL Basketball cards