John Hollinger once coined the phrase "Flaming Bag Pass" to describe a pass at the end of the shot clock which puts the shooter in a really bad position, roughly paraphrased, the shooter would rather be handed a flaming bag of poo than shoot such a forced, and off balance, shot. According to 82games, 14.7% of shots league-wide are taken with three seconds or less on the clock. Now, of course, not all atempts at the end of the shot clock are as a result of a "Flaming Bag Pass," however, we can usually infer that the play has broken down a bit and a less efficient shot was attempted. We can say this because the average eFG% league wide is 49.6%, in contrast, shots taken with three seconds or less on the shot clock have an eFG% of 43.6%. As a comparison, the Nets—currently headed for historic futility—have an eFG% of 44.2% on all shots taken. Now, I think we've established that taking shots at the end of the clock is not a good idea, though a shot at the end of the clock is still much better than a turnover or a 24 second violation.
Why do teams take shots at the end of the clock? Well, two factors come into play here; one is that the opposing defense has forced the offense into a shot late in the clock by taking away good looks, deflecting passes, or otherwise disrupting what the offense was trying to do. The second factor that comes into play is the pace of the game. As expected, the teams that take the highest percentage of shots with three seconds or less on the clock are the slowest paced teams. (Cleveland, Detroit and Portland are 28th, 29th, & 30th in pace, and the top teams when it comes to the highest percentage of late clock shots. New Orleans is also tied for the second highest late clock attempts and is in the bottom ten in pace as well.)
21% of Portland's shots come with three seconds or less on the clock, that's 43% more than the league average. In case you think that practice must make perfect and all those attempts should make Portland better at scoring late in the clock, well, you'd be wrong. Portland shoots an eFG% of 43.5 on >=3 second shots, almost exactly league average. So Portland is shooting more of their shots in an inefficient manner yet the Blazers are not getting anything above average out of it. Last year, 18% of Portland's shots were >=3 second shots—since they're playing at about the same pace—the roughly 17% increase in >=3 second shots can be attributed to the loss of about half the active roster due to injury. Hopefully, when Rudy, Batum, and Outlaw trickle back in, the team will have more offensive threats to keep defenders occupied and the amount of >=3 second shots will decrease.
Now, lets say that the offensive play has begun with the best of intentions, but for some reason has broken down. There are four seconds on the clock, who should you pass the ball too if you're the Blazers? Well, not Steve Blake. Blake is shooting an eFG% of 36.6 on >=3 second shots, which is horrible. To make it worse, most of Blake's shots are from beyond the arc—the reason that this is worse is that, according to Hoopdata, league-wide average eFG% on three's is 52.6%, even the aforementioned Nets shoot an eFG% of 42% from beyond the arc. To Blake's credit, he is assisted on 69% of his makes of >=3 second shots, which means that he is being placed in a bad position by the passer, not just placing himself there. Alternatively, Blake is acting as a release valve on a last second drive and he's just not hitting the shot, either way, Blake has not been an efficient late clock option this year. However, last year Blake's eFG on >=3 second shots was 53.7%, so there is hope that he will return to form over the course of the season. Well, if not Blake, Jerryd Bayless then? Nope. Jerryd has been only a little better than Blake with an eFG% of 35.9% on >=3 second shots. I could go on down the roster, but the only perimeter players that are not injured and shoot a higher than average eFG% on >=3 second shots are Roy and Miller at 44.7% and 45.9%, respectively. Rudy's return should help alleviate the situation a bit as he was hitting late clock shots with a 51.5% eFG before he went out with a back injury.
What can we glean from this information? While shots at the end of the clock are inherently inefficient, a Blake or Bayless attempt late in the clock is especially so. If you're a Portland player and you're totally covered up and must make a desperate pass late in the clock, try to hit Roy, Miller, or a big for a jumper. If Blake or Bayless look open, it's probably for a reason.