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LASIK May Improve Assist, Points Scored Stats in Basketball

LASIK May Improve Assist, Points Scored Stats in Basketball

updated

Can LASIK surgery improve a basketball player's abilities on the court? This DocShop study found that LASIK may improve player game performance in the area of assists, points scored per game, and free throw percentage.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, and Richard Hamilton. These men have several things in common; most notably, they are all NBA players. But did you know that these athletes also underwent LASIK eye surgery at some point during their professional basketball careers?

LASIK surgery offers a number of benefits to athletes. The surgeons that perform these procedures typically aim to achieve better than 20/20 vision on professional athletes; concerns about contact lenses becoming dislodged during a game become a thing of the past. Further, some athletes have said that they are better able to judge distance and read the eyes of their opponents after surgery.

Could these advantages improve a basketball player's abilities on the court? We took a look at nine NBA players that underwent LASIK surgery during an offseason. We calculated the average stats that were achieved by each player for the time period before LASIK. The six areas that we measured include:

  • Field Goal Percentage
  • 3-Point Field Goal Percentage
  • Free Throw Percentage
  • Rebounds
  • Assists
  • Points

We then compared the pre-surgery stats to the average that was achieved, during an equal time period, after the player underwent LASIK surgery. The average number of games and minutes played are also included for reference. Finally, in this study's conclusion, we determine how much, on average, these players improved in the six game performace areas that we measured.

Player: Dwyane Wade

  • Current Position: Guard
  • Current Team: Miami Heat
  • Surgery Date: 2011 offseason

Dwyane Wade underwent LASIK surgery during the recent 2011 offseason, so we don't have a full year (or eight) of stats to use at this time. We deviated from our study method and compared Wade's stats from the 2010-2011 season, with what he has done so far this season (we are about a third of the way through the current season); we can see that Wade's game performance has improved in two of the six areas that we measured.

Year GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 76 37.1 0.5 0.306 0.758 6.4 4.6 25.5
After 21 32.6 0.487 0 0.807 4.2 4.8 21.9
  • 6.46 percent increase in free throw percentage
  • 4.35 percent increase in assists
  • 2.6 percent decrease in field goal percentage
  • 14.12 percent decrease in points
  • 34.38 percent decrease in rebounds
  • 100 percent decrease in 3-point field goal percentage

Player: Amare Stoudemire

  • Current Position: Power Forward
  • Current Team: New York Knicks
  • Surgery Date: 2003 offseason

Stoudemire only played in the NBA for one year before undergoing LASIK surgery; the procedure improved his vision to 20/15. We compared his stats from the 2002-2003 season to the 2003-2004 season, which saw improvement in five of the areas that we measured; there was no change in his performance in the sixth area that we measured.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 82 31.3 0.472 0.2 0.661 8.7 1 13.5
After 55 36.8 0.475 0.2 0.713 9.1 1.4 20.6
  • 52.59 percent increase in points
  • 40 percent increase in assists
  • 7.87 percent increase in free throw percentage
  • 4.6 percent increase in rebounds
  • 0.64 percent increase in field goal percentage
  • No change in 3-point field goal percentage

Player: Grant Hill

  • Current Position: Small Forward
  • Current Team: Phoenix Suns
  • Surgery Date: 2010 offseason

Hill recently underwent LASIK, so we only have one full season of stats after surgery to use for comparative purposes. Here, we review his performance from the year before and after surgery; Hill's stats improved in four of the six areas that we measured.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 81 30 0.478 0.438 0.817 5.5 2.4 11.3
After 80 30.1 0.484 0.395 0.829 4.3 2.5 13.2
  • 16.81 percent increase in points
  • 4.17 percent increase in assists
  • 1.47 percent increase in free throw percentage
  • 1.26 percent increase in field goal percentage
  • 9.82 percent decrease in 3-point field goal percentage
  • 21.82 percent decrease in rebounds

Player: Channing Frye

  • Current Position: Power Forward and Center
  • Current Team: Phoenix Suns
  • Surgery Date: 2008 offseason

Frye played in the NBA for three years before undergoing LASIK. We compared that three-year period to his performance in the three-years after he underwent surgery. Frye improved in two of the six areas that we measured.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 71.667 22.567 0.466 0.267 0.797 5.267 0.8 9.533
After 73.667 23.933 0.435 0.387 0.788 4.733 1 9.367
  • 44.94 percent increase in 3-point field goal percentage
  • 25 percent increase in assists
  • 1.13 percent decrease in free throw percentage
  • 1.74 percent decrease in points
  • 6.65 percent decrease in field goal percentage
  • 10.14 percent decrease in rebounds

Player: Derek Fisher

  • Current Position: Point Guard
  • Current Team: LA Lakers
  • Surgery Date: 1999 offseason

Like Frye, Fisher played in the NBA for three years prior to having LASIK. When comparing the three years preceding LASIK to the three years after LASIK, we saw that Fisher improved in five of the six areas that we measured.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 70.667 18.533 0.402 0.359 0.725 1.8 3.167 5.2
After 56 28.933 0.39 0.374 0.792 2.333 3.233 9.633
  • 85.25 percent increase in points
  • 29.61 percent increase in rebounds
  • 9.24 percent increase in free throw percentage
  • 4.18 percent increase in 3-point field goal percentage
  • 2.08 percent increase in assists
  • 2.99 percent decrease in field goal percentage

Player: Tony Allen

  • Current Position: Defender
  • Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies
  • Surgery Date: 2007 offseason

Allen also underwent LASIK after three years in the NBA. After comparing his stats for each three-year period, we see that Allen improved in just one area that we measured, in assists.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 53.667 20 0.487 0.318 0.756 2.933 1.267 8.367
After 58.333 18.033 0.475 0.179 0.697 2.433 1.4 6.833
  • 10.5 percent increase in assists
  • 2.46 percent decrease in field goal percentage
  • 7.8 percent decrease in free throw percentage
  • 17.05 percent decrease in rebounds
  • 18.33 percent decrease in points
  • 43.71 percent decrease in 3-point field goal percentage

Player: LeBron James

  • Current Position: Small Forward
  • Current Team: Miami Heat
  • Surgery Date: 2007 offseason

James underwent LASIK surgery four years into his professional career, and a few years before he brought his talents to South Beach. Did the procedure help take his game to the next level? It may have. We compared his stats in the four years that he played in the NBA prior to undergoing LASIK surgery (2003-2004 to 2006-2007 seasons) to the four years that he played in the NBA after LASIK surgery ((2007-2008 to 2010-2011 seasons). James saw improvement in all six areas that we measured.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 79 41.325 0.46125 0.32375 0.735 6.675 6.425 26.7
After 77.75 38.975 0.4965 0.3305 0.7545 7.575 7.5 28.7
  • 16.73 percent increase in assists
  • 13.48 percent increase in rebounds
  • 7.64 percent increase in field goal percentage
  • 7.49 percent increase in points
  • 2.65 percent increase in free throw percentage
  • 2.08 percent increase in 3-point field goal percentage

Player: Rick Fox

  • Last Position: Small Forward
  • Last Team: LA Lakers
  • Surgery Date: 2000 offseason

Fox underwent LASIK surgery four years before he retired from professional basketball. When comparing the four years of stats before LASIK, to the final four years of his career, we see that Fox's game performance saw improvement in three of the six areas that we measured.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 71 26.85 0.447 0.338 0.77 3.5 2.725 10.725
After 69.5 26.7 0.42 0.332 0.773 3.9 3.15 7.825
  • 15.6 percent increase in assists
  • 11.43 percent increase in rebounds
  • 0.39 percent increase in free throw percentage
  • 1.78 percent decrease in 3-point field goal percentage
  • 6.04 percent decrease in field goal percentage
  • 27.04 percent decrease in points

Player: Richard Hamilton

  • Current Position: Guard
  • Current Team: Chicago Bulls
  • Surgery Date: 2004 offseason

Richard Hamilton played in the NBA for five years before deciding to undergo LASIK vision correction. We compared stats from that five-year period with Hamilton's stats in the five years that he played after having LASIK. Like James, he improved in each of the six areas that we measured.


GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST PTS
Before 74.4 30.86 0.4382 0.3106 0.8466 3.18 2.72 16.88
After 74 35.66 0.466 0.3824 0.849 3.44 4.14 18.84
  • 52.21 percent increase in assists
  • 23.12 percent increase in 3-point field goal percentage
  • 11.61 percent increase in points
  • 8.18 percent increase in rebounds
  • 6.34 percent increase in field goal percentage
  • 0.28 percent increase in free throw percentage

Conclusion

Next, we compiled the data for these nine players to determine if these players' game performance improved, on average, for any of these data points. We found that assists scored the highest, with all nine players experiencing improvement in this area. Assist stats improved by an average of 18.96 percent. Points scored also improved by an average of 12.5 percent.

  • Assists: 18.96 percent (nine of the nine players saw improvement in this area)
  • Points: 12.50 percent (five of the nine players saw improvement in this area)
  • Free Throw Percentage: 2.16 percent (seven of the nine players saw improvement in this area)
  • Field Goal Percentage: -0.54 percent (four of the nine players saw improvement in this area)
  • Rebounds: -1.79 percent (five of the nine players saw improvement in this area)
  • 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: -9 percent (four of the nine players saw improvement in this area; one player saw no change in this area)

This is how each player fared on the data points that we measured:

  • LeBron James: Improvement in 6/6 areas
  • Richard Hamilton: Improvement in 6/6 areas
  • Amare Stoudemire: Improvement in 5/6 areas (no change in sixth area)
  • Derek Fisher: Improvement in 5/6 areas
  • Grant Hill: Improvement in 4/6 areas
  • Rick Fox: Improvement in 3/6 areas
  • Dwyane Wade: Improvement in 2/6 areas
  • Channing Frye: Improvement in 2/6 areas
  • Tony Allen: Improvement in 1/6 areas

This study was limited in the number of players included, as there are not many NBA players that have been verified as undergoing LASIK surgery during their professional careers. Nor does it go into detail about circumstances that may affect individual player statistics, such as age, injuries, and changes in positions or teams. Still, it sheds some light on the specific ways in which LASIK may improve a basketball player's game performance.

Key:

  • GP: Games Played
  • MIN: Minutes
  • FG%: Field Goal Percentage
  • 3P%: 3-Point Field Goal Percentage
  • FT%: Free Throw Percentage
  • REB: Rebounds
  • AST: Assists
  • PTS: Points

Data Source: ESPN, player stats, regular season averages

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