By definition, it is usually a one-handed, banked shot made close to the basket after driving in. But of course in basketball, a lay-up can be made in a variety of ways. You have the finger roll, the tear drop, etc.
3QC member DieSlowKeyshawn wondered aloud to me, roughly a week or two ago, what the layup percentage was for the Orlando Magic. I found the question intriguing and went ahead trying to find out the answer.
I decided to approach Ryan J. Parker of Basketball Geek, a talented statistical mind, to get the answer and here are the numbers for not only the Magic but for the rest of the league. Before I unveil the data, this is what the NBA defines layups:
alley oop layup
driving finger roll layup
driving reverse layup
finger roll layup
running finger roll layup
running reverse layup
Now onto the numbers (these stats are for the regular season):
.5477489768 ORL - 12th
Here are the statistics, specifically, for each Orlando player:
If we're looking strictly at 100+ attempts (bolded the appropriate players to add emphasis), you notice there's a bit of a tier system developing with the numbers.
In tier 1, Jameer Nelson and Courtney Lee were the leaders for the Magic percentage-wise. When either player penetrated into the lane and went up for a layup, both converted at a good rate comparative to the rest of the league.
In tier 2, Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis were able to put up good numbers also. For Howard, that's not an eye-opener since he makes his living in the paint and gets easy buckets with regularity. For Lewis, he's proven to be reliable in close-range.
In tier 3, Rafer Alston and Hedo Turkoglu show a big drop-off, statistically. If you've seen Orlando play plenty this year, the stats should come as no shock. For Alston, he's notorious for putting up countless floaters in the paint with regularity but not making them with consistency. For Turkoglu, many times he barrels into the lane "with no regard for human life" and throws up a prayer at the basket, hoping to get rescued by the whistle (which doesn't always happen). When you take both factors into account, you'll begin to see why both Alston and Turkoglu do a bad job of converting easy buckets. It is worth pointing out that both players do benefit from having Howard clean up the mess, so it's not always a lost cause if they miss.
Looking at all the numbers, the statistic for Mickael Pietrus jumps out. If you toss out some of the meaningless numbers from Cook, Foyle, Lue, and Richardson, Pietrus comes away with the dubious honor of owning the worst layup percentage for Orlando. Again, this should come as no surprise to Magic fans, given how out of control Mickael is when attacking the basket. The stat begins to paint a picture for why Pietrus settles for jumpers; he can't finish in the lane. Even though Pietrus struggles to convert in the paint consistently, he is at his best offensively when he slashes to the bucket (which invites the possibility of getting to the line, etc). If Pietrus can find a way to improve his layup percentage, he'll become a dangerous player because it'll allow him to mix it up on offense with effectiveness.
All in all, the absences of Jameer Nelson and Courtney Lee hurt the Magic because they are the two best finishers on the team. Having to rely more on Rafer Alston and Hedo Turkoglu is risqué, given their penchant for blowing more than their fare share of bunnies. Mickael Pietrus ... well, enough said.