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Ranking Golden State’s shooters, Part 1

It’s the middle of the offseason. Let’s rank the shooters on the Warriors from best to worst.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Warriors are one of the best shooting teams of all time.

But you already know this.

For a little fun, let’s rank the players on the Warriors from worst to best by how silky-smooth their shots are.

15. Damian Jones

Jones played only a few minutes this past season as a rookie, spending most of his time in Santa Cruz playing for the Warriors G-League team. He hit fewer than half his free throws, and only looked comfortable shooting near the basket. In college, he averaged 56.5% from the free-throw line, and DraftExpress’s scouting report of Jones states that he “seems to have some upside as a shooter, but remains a long way away from being a reliable threat from the midrange.”

With a crowded center rotation again this year, don’t expect Jones to either play many minutes or shoot jumpers. He will likely never be a midrange threat.

14. Jordan Bell

Jordan Bell’s shooting in college was subpar. He hit only 3-of-16 threes, and averaged around 50% from the free-throw line in his first two years at Oregon. However, he shot 70% from the line his last year, which hopefully is a tangible improvement. According to DraftExpress, Bell made “just 10 for 31 on jumpers this year, with the majority of those makes coming inside of 17 feet. He struggles with consistency on his perimeter shot...his release is on the slow side and he gets an inconsistent trajectory on his shot outside of midrange areas.”

I think Bell can become a productive NBA player without a jumper, but it would be nice for him to grow into one someday.

13. Kevon Looney

Looney actually hit 22-of-53 three-pointers during his lone year of college, and DraftExpress even praised his shooting form, declaring that “his mechanics are solid and he appears to fairly consistent when shooting with his feet set.” But he’s shot only a few threes in his professional career for both the Warriors and its G-League affiliate. He’s hit around 60% on free throws in all phases of his career.

Looney could still be a passable midrange shooter in this league, but right now, like Jones and Bell, he shoots almost all of his shots close to the basket. If his future at the NBA level is at power forward, he needs to be able to at least somewhat space the floor.

12. JaVale McGee

McGee is the last player on the Warriors that Steve Kerr doesn’t want to see shooting jumpers. He has averaged 57% from the free-throw line, and has only made one three-pointer in his career. In 2017, more than 77% of his shots came within three feet of the hoop. He’s one of the best dunkers and finishers in the league, however.

McGee would be lower on this list if not for his recent offseason workouts, where he’s been effortlessly been hitting threes as if they were in his arsenal the entire time.

Now, I’m not saying he should be shooting threes, or even open midrange jumpers, during actual games. But here’s concrete evidence that McGee can shoot better than most of us could ever dream.

11. Zaza Pachulia

The Warriors’ starting center is actually quite accurate from the free-throw line for his position, shooting 77% from the line last season and 74% for his career. He’s the first starting center Golden State has had in years, that isn’t a disaster there.

Pachulia also shoots a few midrange jumpers when he’s extremely wide open. But he doesn’t hit them at a good rate. Around 19% of his shots (only about 0.9 shots per game) were from beyond 10 feet, and he hit about 36% of them. That’s not an efficient shot.

But he doesn’t take many of them, and he is valuable at the free-throw line. Among starting centers, Pachulia is actually a pretty good shooter.

Parts 2 and 3 to come.

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