The Golden State Warriors are extremely reliant on the 3-point shot and one can only wonder if that is a sound philosophy.
The Dubs shoot the ball with great proficiency from long range and consequently, they can go on huge runs against opponents when they are hitting the bottom of the net.
Mark Jackson’s team is among the top-10 leaders in treys attempted per game and has consistently been near the top of the league in 3-point conversion rate this season.
As Zach Lowe noted over at Grantland, the emphasis on the long ball has resulted in more efficient offenses:
There is a strong correlation between 3-point attempts and team scoring efficiency, and an even more specific correlation between the number of short corner 3s a team attempts and its overall points per possession.
The Warriors are a borderline elite offense statistically and rank among the leaders in corner 3s attempted per game according to NBA.com. Obviously, launching jumpers from beyond the arc is not the only important component. The real reward comes in hitting shots from downtown and Golden State has excelled on this front.
Through the first quarter of the 2013-114 campaign, the Warriors have been the top-shooting team from downtown. They have five players hitting over 40 percent of their treys.
They are headlined by the Splash Brothers (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) and in addition, they get contributions from Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas and Harrison Barnes.
Golden State clearly has the shooters, but one of the issues they face is a lack of discipline particularly down the stretch of games. The Warriors are one of the 10 worst offenses in the clutch (defined as the last five minutes of the game with the scoring margin within five points) so far this season.
A team as dynamic as the Warriors should not have these kinds of late-game issues. The Dubs have playmaking wizardry at the point guard position, finishers on the interior and capable creators on the wings.
And yet, when the final stages of the fourth quarter arrive, the Warriors simply start bombing away. NBA.com tells us that they are tied for the most 3-point attempts per game in clutch situations with the Portland Trail Blazers. Mind you, they convert less than 30 percent of their clutch treys.
The main culprit is Curry. When we project his clutch stats per 36 minutes, we realize that he is attempting 18.6 threes in crunch time. If these were the spot-up variety, the Warriors would be in business.
Indeed, according to Synergy Sports, Curry was nailing 80 percent of his spot-up 3-pointers entering the contest against the New Orleans Pelicans last night. Mind you, that is not his preferred method of attack.
Instead, the Davidson product has relied on shooting the ball off the dribble and he is not as efficient in this setting. Per SportVU data tracking, Curry is attempting five pull up (defined as any shot outside 10 feet where a player took one or more dribbles before shooting) treys in 2013-14. His conversion rate on these field goal attempts is a mere 34.3 percent.Have a look below at what it is we are talking about:
Curry is unquestionably one of the league’s best shooters and he excels when afforded with open looks. He has penchant to go for the jugular late in games, but his success rate is not incredibly high.However, when he does make these types of shots, it encourages him to continue taking them. The Toronto Raptors found out about this a little earlier in the season:
Part of the shortcomings of the offense are directly attributable to him, but to be fair, the coaching staff has empowered him on this front. Jackson routinely calls sets for his best player to manipulate the ball with little action on the weak side. Hence, Curry often calls his own number when this occurs.
It’s important that the coaches recognize the tendencies of their players and put them in plays that will maximize their strengths. Golden State’s offense is predicated around the 3-point shot, which is not necessarily bad.
However, the inability to play with a bit more discipline as far as the long ball is concerned is certainly hampering the team. That should be one of their main concerns and more importantly, it’s an issue that is easy to fix.
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