The Record-Setting Threes of Giannis Antetokounmpo
Evan Turner stood casually at the free throw line as the ball swung to an unguarded Giannis Antetokounmpo at the top of the arc. Even in a two-point game late in the fourth quarter, even on a night when Giannis already had 36 points, Turner and the Blazers opted against putting a defender within five feet. They deemed him a non-threat to hit a three.
Giannis went straight into the lane and hit a leaner, and-one, and made the free throw. Some minutes later, the Bucks won by three.
While they don’t register as three-pointers in the usual three-pointer columns, Giannis is on pace (with 11 in his first nine games this season) to rack up the most converted and-one three-point plays since NBAMiner.com began tracking the stat in 1996–97.
Most Converted And-One Three-Point Plays Since 1996–97
Name — Year — Converted Three-Point Plays
Amare Stoudemire — 2007/08 — 87
LeBron James — 2005/06 — 79
Amare Stoudemire — 2006/07 — 72
LeBron James — 2008/09 — 70
Amare Stoudemire — 2004/05 — 67
Shaquille O’Neal — 2002/03 — 66
LeBron James — 2009/10 — 65
Karl Malone —1996/97 — 64
Amare Stoudemire — 2009/10 — 64
Dwyane Wade — 2008/09 — 64
The chart above is counting converted and-ones. Back in 2000–01, Shaq drew 115 and-ones fouls where he made the initial field goal, but he only hit 61 of those and-one free throws. Giannis is up to a career-high 79.4 percent at the stripe this season (while ranking eighth in the league in free throw attempts), and has hit 11–14 of his and-one chances. For someone so reliant on scoring in the paint, his proficient free throw shooting is crucial.
You can’t plan or draw up an and-one, so it isn’t a weapon like a straight-up three, of course. Eleven and-ones in nine games is far-off from the league-leading 39 three-pointers by James Harden. The story title is being “funny”. But when you reach a volume like the guys above, it is more than a little extra something.
The point here is not that Giannis is a great offensive player all of a sudden because he is now racking up and-ones at a historic rate. It’s more the other way around: Giannis is racking up and-ones at a historic rate because he is now all of a sudden a (stronger) (more in-control) (assertive and forceful) (smarter) great offensive player. Two or three points at a time, he has more than anyone.