By Josh Cohen Dec. 18, 2017
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic made 17 3-pointers against the Pistons on Sunday, have knocked down 10 or more in 22 of their 31 games and currently rank 10th in the NBA in 3-point percentage (37.1 percent).
The 3-point shot is more valuable now than ever before. Coaches are designing more plays that help create open looks from long distance and players are spending more of their training sessions working on the 3-ball.
There was a time, not too long ago in fact, when many basketball heads felt excessive outside shooting was a cause of failure. They said teams that relied on the 3-ball would burn out.
Especially with how successful the Warriors have been the last few years, that theory no longer exists. That’s not to say it isn’t important to work the ball inside or make hard cuts and drives to the basket. Those are still critical facets for every team.
However, it seems safe to say that no team can sustain long-term success in today’s NBA without dependable 3-point shooting. It’s essential to force defenders to go over screens and to close out on shooters. It’s also beneficial having a center, like Nikola Vucevic, who can consistently bury threes. Opposing big men, as a result, are pulled away from the basket.
Currently throughout the league, 66 players are shooting at least 40 percent from 3-point range with a minimum of 30 attempts. Just four seasons ago, only 37 players who shot at least 60 times from downtown for the entire year made 40 percent of their tries.
The stats also tell us that the Magic’s players are working hard on their perimeter shooting. Nearly every player on the roster has seen their 3-point percentages go up from last year. Here’s a table that shows the percentages each of these players shot all of last season from 3-point range and what they are shooting so far this year.