I explore how shooting patterns evolved in the WNBA in a different post. In this post, I look at who the all-time leaders in each zone are. The tables below include some 2021 season data, up to June 1, 2021.
First, who are the all time leaders in shots made by zone (at least 100 shots taken in the zone)? These rankings put a high premium on longevity, which means Sue Bird is in all the top 10s except from the restricted area. With 351 shots made in the restricted area and 963 needed to crack the top 10, it is not an attainable goal, even by Sue Bird's longevity standards. Diana Taurasi, with 388 made shots in the paint (13 below Sue Bird, 10th in the ranking) and 703 made shots in the restricted area, might be the closest to making it into all top 10s. But she would need to play 7 more seasons at her current restricted area shooting patterns to make it.
These all-time rankings are heavily influenced by longevity. Another way to look at these number is too look at the all-time leaders in FG percentages, among players with a minimum of 100 FGM in the zone. Not surprisingly, more current players appear in these rankings compared to the previous ones. Shots percentages have not dramatically evolved over time (38.7% in 2002 to 40.1% in 2019, with some outliers in 2020 at 44% and 2018 at 42%). It is not a huge increase (or a statistically significant one), but the slow increases are consistent over time and are probably enough to help more recent players. Some current players on these rankings are well on-track to reach the top 10 all time in made shots if they continue their current patterns. These numbers confirm that Allie Quigley is an amazing shooter, not just from 3, that Alysha Clark is a very efficient shooter, and.... can Jonquel Jones keep these percentages going for threes?