Why is Artest Shooting More 3s?

by Conrad Brunner

February 4, 2004

If you'd like to pose a Question of the Day to Conrad Brunner, submit it along with your full name and hometown to Bruno's_mailbag@pacers.com. Brunner’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Pacers players, coaches or management.

QUESTION
OF THE DAY

Conrad Brunner
Q. My question is with Ron Artest. I know he is very quick, talented, and can bring a lot to the team such as defense, rebounding and slashing to the basket. But when we have good outside shooters such as Reggie (Miller), (Austin) Croshere, (Jamaal) Tinsley and Anthony Johnson, why do we have Ron Artest shooting the second most 3-pointers on the team when he is only shooting 29 percent? Once again, I know Artest brings a lot to the team and needs to be on the court a lot of the time, I just think we can get a better shot than him shooting a three. What are your thoughts? (From Abe in Stryker, OH)

A. One of the first signs of trouble for the Pacers offense is the quick 3-point attempt, often from Artest. This is a team that relies on ball movement, hard screens and crisp cuts to get high-percentage opportunities. And the system also is designed to get the ball inside first and build all other opportunities from the post. If the ball moves from side to side, inside then out, coach Rick Carlisle has no problem with a player taking a quality 3-point attempt. But when the ball crosses halfcourt, one pass is made and a 3-pointer is hoisted, that’s when things go awry. The tendency has become more apparent in the last six games, during which the Pacers have gone 3-3.They’ve averaged 20 attempts from the arc in that span, five more than their norm in the first 44 games. In the last three losses, they’ve gone 15 of 60 from the arc (.250), including a dismal 7 of 23 in New York last night.

Artest has grown increasingly confident in his 3-point shot this season, despite a lack of evidence. He is on pace to attempt 302 for the season, which would be nearly 100 more than his previous career high. His percentage has been on a steady decline. In the last 15 games, he’s gone 6 of 42 from the arc (.143). In the Pacers’ losses this season, he is 7 of 45 (.156). Artest isn’t the only player who would be better served moving inside the arc. Al Harrington has fallen in love with his long-range shot, as well. He already has attempted a career-high 57, though he’s hitting at just a 28 percent clip. Artest and Harrington are both big, strong talents at their best within 18 feet of the basket, either taking defenders off the dribble or in the post. Neither should consider the 3-point shot anything more than a secondary weapon in his arsenal.