Dec 16, 2013, 6:17 PM EDT
Russell Westbrook is shooting 3-pointers more than ever.
Per game, per minute or as a percentage of all his shots – Westbrook is taking 3s at a career-high clip by a fairly wide margin.
But he’s barely attempting more jumpers than usual.
Westbrook is taking 47 percent of his shots from at least 15 feet, up slightly 42 percent each of the last two seasons.
The biggest difference comes in the distribution of those long jumpers.
On shots from at least 15 feet, 56 percent of Westbrook’s attempts are 3-pointers. That was 47 percent last year, 36 percent the year before and 23 percent the year prior.
Simply, Westbrook is playing smarter. Via Royce Young of CBSSports.com:
“There’s no need to take long 2s,” Westbrook told CBSSports.com before Sunday’s game against the Magic. “If you’re going to take a [long] 2, you might as well take a step back and shoot a 3.”
Has the Thunder front office or coaching staff — a very analytically driven organization — consulted Westbrook on that front?
“Nah not really, just something I’ve learned,” he said. “It’s a better percentage if you just back up a step or if you go in a step instead of taking a long 2. It’s a bad shot.”
Westbrook actually makes a higher percentage of his 2s outside 15 feet than his 3s, 40 percent to 30 percent. But because 3-pointers are worth an extra point per make, his 3s generate more points per shot than his long 2s, .91 to .80
Plus, when Westrbook takes an extra step back, Kevin Durant has more space to operate.
This isn’t rocket science, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that Westbrook gets it. Really, the wonder is why more players don’t.
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