HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The Denver Nuggets had a historically bad night from the perimeter in Portland on Thursday. But if any team was going to score 91 of its 93 points from the paint and the free throw line, it was going to be the Nuggets.
Denver is a good team, and they’re obviously better than their 14-13 record, because they’ve played such a brutal, road-heavy schedule. But they still have their flaws, in particular outside shooting.
If there’s one thing that the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder have taught us, it’s that 3-point shooting can make you a very potent offense. But the Nuggets aren’t the only good team with that particular shortcoming. And with trade season officially open, there should be more than a few teams in the market for a shooter or two…
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
EFG% = (FGM + (0.5*3PM))/ FGA
OffRtg: 99.9 (22)
3PA/FGA: .155 (30)
3-point percentage: 34.1% (24)
EFG% outside the paint: 42.3% (27)
There are six teams in the league that have made more than twice as many threes per game as the Bulls have (4.2). They ranked fourth in 3-point percentage last season, but their three best shooters from that squad – Kyle Korver (Atlanta), C.J. Watson (Brooklyn) and John Lucas (Toronto) – are gone.
Marco Belinelli is the Bulls’ best shooter and their threes are up since he has joined the starting lineup. But they obviously need another perimeter threat, even if they’re eventually getting Derrick Rose back this season.
OffRtg: 104.6 (7)
3PA/FGA: .218 (22)
3-point percentage: 32.5% (28)
EFG% outside the paint: 41.4% (30)
Remember when Danilo Gallinari was the best shooter Mike D’Antoni had ever seen? That was after Gallo shot 44 percent from beyond the arc as a rookie. And every year since, his 3-point percentage has gone down.
It doesn’t help the Nuggets that neither of their point guards (Ty Lawson and Andre Miller) can shoot this season or that Andre Iguodala is their starting two guard. Iguodala shot 39 percent from beyond the arc last season, but this year, he’s back at his career mark of 33 percent.
The Nuggets still have a top-10 offense because they get out on the break, get into the paint, get to the line and are the best offensive rebounding team in the league. But a shooter could open things up and keep defenses from packing the paint when the Nuggets aren’t running.
OffRtg: 101.5 (16)
3PA/FGA: .179 (29)
3-point percentage: 36.7% (8)
EFG% outside the paint: 44.4% (13)
The Grizzlies’ 3-point percentage looks fine on the surface, but they don’t take nearly enough threes to keep the floor spread for their big and talented frontline.
Memphis could probably use O.J. Mayo, the league leader in 3-point percentage, right about now. Mayo’s replacement, Wayne Ellington, hit seven threes in Memphis’ Nov. 11 win over the Heat, but then hit only five over the next 13 games. Mike Conley is the team’s best 3-point shooter, but he’s also the team’s point guard.
The “shooting” guard is Tony Allen, who has made a grand total of 12 3-pointers over the last four seasons and has shot 28 percent from outside the paint over the last five. Rudy Gay‘s jumper has seemingly regressed over the last two years.
The Grizzlies are 17-6 because they have the No. 1 defense in the league, and Allen is a huge part of that. But if they truly want to be title contenders, they need to improve offensively. And that starts with better shooting from the perimeter.
OffRtg: 100.2 (20)
3PA/FGA: .235 (18)
3-point percentage: 30.1% (30)
EFG% outside the paint: 42.0% (29)
The Wolves have just been brutal from beyond the arc. In fact, in the last 10 seasons, only last season’s Bobcats have shot worse (29.5 percent) from 3-point range.
The problem starts with Kevin Love, who is 18-for-73 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Love has shed the glove that he wore when he returned from his broken hand and he did hit four of his nine threes in Thursday’s win over the Thunder. So there’s hope that the numbers will improve as the season goes on.
Still, Chase Budinger‘s absence has left the Wolves without a real shooter on the wings.
Additional thoughts on the Lakers and Nets
- The Lakers seemingly need more shooters to run D’Antoni’s offense at peak efficiency, but they currently rank fifth in offensive efficiency and sixth in 3-point percentage. The key has been Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc, up from 30.0 percent last season. So it will be interesting to see if they can keep that up.
- The Nets rank 19th in 3-point percentage, but mostly because Deron Williams leads the team in attempts. Williams shot 36 percent from beyond the arc in Utah, but is at 32 percent since joining the Nets. This season, he’s in Dwyane Wade territory: 42-for-143 (29 percent).