Three point shots are often called the “fool’s gold” because they are generally low(er) percentage shots that are taken in favor of driving to the hoop. This blog post will analyze the Blazers’ three point shooting trends and what they can do to help them win more games.
Portland is one of the NBA’s top three point shooting teams with 38% three point percentage. This number, however, fails to put into consideration Portland’s streaky 3 point shooting. On a good night, Blazers might take smart, wide open shots. They might hit 12 out of 15 three pointers. However, on a bad night, such as like the game against Houston, player such as Rudy might take 6 3 pointers and only make one. Think about this: Portland’s overall shooting percentage is 46%. Instead of taking just one three point jumper, and not being able to have a chance at a rebound, if Portland’s guards and small forwards attacked the hoop, they could create high percentage shots, dunks, and layups, along with a higher amount of offensive boards, and higher percentage shots are easier to rebound by the Blazers’ big men.
Patience is the key to success at three point shooting. Instead of running off 8-12 seconds from the 23 second shot clock, making one or two passes around the perimeter, then taking a 3 pointer or long jumper that rims off or airballs, and then is rebounded by the other team 90% of the time. Portland should actively attack the hoop, and barring a high percentage shot, kick the ball back to the perimeter and move it around with a few passes, then take a wide open corner 3 pointer. Doing this will do two things: firstly, most Blazer three point shooters (and I say most because Bayless has yet to develop a good shot) are dead-eyes if left wide open. Drawing in defenders and then passing around the perimeter will give precision shooters such as Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum easy three point baskets. In fact, they can probably hit 65%-75% of these wide open shots. This will really improve Blazer scoring. The second thing that this will do is really help out the big men. Producing good looks at three point shots forces defenders to really close out. Once a defender closes out, Aldrige and Oden can really get to work in the post, without fear of too much defense in the low post; if an opposing center or power forward goes for a block or tries to close out on a three point shooter, Oden and Aldrige can easily catch a lob and dunk it or put up a high percentage layup or hook shot.
In conclusion, the three pointer is a dangerous risk that can be turned into a powerful offensive weapon. With a little (OK, a lot) of work, Portland can turn into THE premier three point shooting team in the NBA while improving all aspects of their game, including offensive boards, shooting percentage, points in the paint, and assists. If this young Portland team realizes the potency of three pointers used correctly, they can turn the “fool’s gold” into quick scoring platinum.
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