Bucks Are Shooting Their Shot (and not shooting their not-shot)

Some of the loudest cheers (laughs?) at the Forum opener came when John Henson knocked in each of his two three-pointers, which tripled his career makes from long range, from one to three. Everyone enjoyed them. Even if he does not keep raining threes, Henson pulling up from deep is more than a symbolic shift personified.

What I am saying is that people should have given a standing ovation to the shots that the Bucks did not take, and did not make, too. Precisely one team in the NBA has yet to make a single shot from the mid-range this season. That team is the Milwaukee Bucks.

The point is not that they are not making these shots, though. The point is that they are not even shooting them. The point is, this is a celebration.

After two games, the Bucks are attempting 3.5 mid-range shots per game, second fewest in the NBA, just a touch more than the Rockets, a team that also ranked dead last in the league in these attempts last season, on their way to the top-ranked offense in the NBA.

Meanwhile, in addition to eschewing mid-rangers, the Bucks are also sharing company with the Rockets by hoisting 40.0 threes per game in their first two games, one of just three teams (along with the Rockets and Mavericks) to hit that mark in the very-very-very early-going this season. In franchise history, the Bucks had never attempted more than 36 threes in a game before this season. They put up 47 in the first-ever game at the Forum.

After ranking toward the bottom of the league in three-point attempts throughout this era of the three-point explosion (24th or lower each season since 2013–14, the year before the Warriors claimed the first title of their ongoing run), the Bucks have (clearly consciously) remapped their shooting charts so far this season, to embrace high-percentage, high-reward attempts, going in or not going in be damned.

Meanwhile, defensively, they have been keen to push opponents to take the same low-percentage shots that they refuse to take. Opponents have attempted 20.3 mid-range shots per game, third most in the league.

The Bucks are 2–0 after two games (their opponents are 4–0 when not playing the Bucks, by the way), and the best thing about that is that it — the mere win/loss record — is not the best, most promising thing about the first couple games.


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