Oct 1, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT
The following chart shows the 60 players who took the most shots from at least 15 feet last season, sorted from left to right by most to least qualifying shots. The bars’ heights represent how many of those shots were 3-pointers.
As you’d expect, most players who take a lot of jump shots also take a lot of 3-pointers. Worth 50 percent more than long 2s and only marginally more difficult to make, 3s have a lot of value.
But there’s one notable exception. See him? Just in case you missed that tiny bar in the middle, I made it red.
(Click to enlarge.)
The red bar is LaMarcus Aldridge, the Trail Blazers’ power forward who has shown a solid mid-range game but practically no range beyond the arc. Here are Aldridge’s year-by-year 3-point numbers:
- 0-for-2 (0.0 percent)
- 1-for-7 (14.3 percent)
- 7-for-28 (25.0 percent)
- 5-for-16 (31.3 percent)
- 4-for-23 (17.4 percent)
- 2-for-11 (18.2 percent)
- 2-for-14 (14.3 percent)
- Career: 21-for-101 (20.8 percent)
Now, Aldridge says he’s done being the outlying non-3-point shooter among the NBA’s most voluminous jump shooters.
Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest:
LaMarcus Aldridge says he has expanded his game to shooting threes. Says he expects to shoot more of those this season.—
Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 30, 2013
Generally, I believe the key to shooting efficiently is not expanding an arsenal of shots. Rather, it’s paring down the range of shots to only a player’s best.
Practically every shot comes with an opportunity costs. Will Aldridge’s 3-point attempts replace his shots in the paint (56.8 percent last season), Wesley Matthews’ 3-pointers (39.8 percent last season) or any other high-quality Portland attempt? If so, Aldridge’s new skill could very well hurt his team.
That said, Aldridge taking more 3s rather than long 2s could be helpful. In addition to netting an extra point per make, 3-pointers space the floor a little better.
Judging Aldridge by his 3-point percentage, unless it’s near or above the league average this season, alone won’t determine the success of this experiment. Whether he’s taking the appropriate number of attempts will be paramount in determining if Aldridge’s 3s actually help Portland.
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