The Golden State Warriors have three of the greatest shooters ever in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. But the rest of the roster has always been below average at hitting from long-range.
Yet so far this season, every single Warriors player not named Curry has been struggling from downtown.
Warriors only averaging 24.7 attempted 3s, 5th fewest in NBA.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 22, 2018
Steve Kerr: "We're top heavy with our 3-point shooting. Some teams have a roster full of (shooters). Some teams are really playing to shoot the 3 as often as possible. We just shoot them when they present themselves."
Over the past few years, teams around the league have dramatically increased their three-point attempts. Exploiting the three-to-two point ratio has become a staple in modern offenses, who will hunt long-range shots with often reckless abandon.
Only Stephen Curry has been hot from three to start the year. Steph has hit sixteen threes in three games, while no other Warriors has made more than two. His partners in crime, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, have shot both poorly and not enough.
Durant, Thompson will improve
This problem probably won’t persist. Thompson and Durant will shoot better from the field, and will shoot more threes when they are falling. But still, they should shoot more from deep: both players have worked on their mid-range games in the past couple years. Although that is a useful skill to have, and will come in handy in the playoffs, shooting threes at their rate is simply more efficient mathematically. Klay should be encouraged, not discouraged, to shoot threes off a few dribbles.
Kevin Durant can especially shoot more from long-range. His isolation scoring would benefit greatly from starting a few feet further out, where the threat of the pull-up three could become a real weapon at his height. His three-point attempt rate of .338 is wildly behind other isolation magicians like James Harden and Chris Paul (above .45). It would be wise for him to trade a few percentage points off his accuracy (41.9% last year!) for more long-range attempts. With his speed and high release, he can get any three-pointer he wants.
The rest of cast aren’t great shooters
Another problem is the rest of the cast are not great shooters. Jonas Jerebko should probably play more to provide spacing, and letting Quinn Cook handle the ball and shoot with a green light will help too: he shot 43% from three last year on decent volume. DeMarcus Cousins will gleefully jack up threes when he returns.
This all goes against the rigidity of Steve Kerr’s offense, which uses sets and off-ball movement to produce open looks. But even elite midrange scoring loses to decent three-point shooting, and the Warriors have to exploit that mathematical advantage. It seems silly to hunt threes, but Steph, Klay, and KD can all do so.