After breaking down the top scorers from the mid-range (a shot that has seen sharp decline of the past decade), we do the opposite and look at the players that have knocked down the most corner 3-pointers (a shot that has consistently trended up) so far this season.
Back in 2011-12, the corner 3-point shot accounted for 6.1% of all shot attempts across the league. So far this season, 8.9% of all shots are coming from the corners, just slightly lower than last year’s 9.2%.
Similar to the drop off in mid-range shots, the logic for the rise in corner 3s makes total sense – it is the shortest shot on the floor (22 feet away) that can deliver the most points (3), since the corner 3 is nearly two feet closer than the above the break 3-point shot (23 feet, 9 inches).
When we look at the players that have knocked down the most corner 3s, Miami has two of the top three players in the league in P.J. Tucker (1st, 46.3%) and Duncan Robinson (T-2nd, 41.0%). They are one of three sets of teammates to rank in the top 12, joining Milwaukee’s Grayson Allen (T-7th, 51.9%) and Pat Connaughton (T-7th, 46.6%) and Phoenix’s Cameron Johnson (T-10th, 40.6%) and Mikal Bridges (T-10th, 41.3%).
For Tucker, 80 of his 186 total shot attempts (43%) this season have come from the corners. He has been particularly dangerous from the right corner, shooting 20-37 (54.1%) from that area – only Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic (23) has made more right corner 3s so far this season. The Heat broadcast team even called out the right corner being Tucker’s spot before the ‘Kaboom!’ call.
PJ Tucker has shot 19-of-33 (57.9%) from the right corner 3 this season, per @nbastats.#HEATCulture pic.twitter.com/ycngCNjoIq
— Simon Smith (@SimonSperling) December 16, 2021
Unfortunately for Miami, Tucker suffered a knee injury in Miami’s loss to the Pistons on Sunday that kept him out of Tuesday’s win over the Pacers and is expected to keep him out of Thursday’s rematch with the Pistons.
Despite missing Miami’s last game, Tucker has already made more corner 3s this season in Miami (37 in 31 games played) than he did all of last season, which was split between Houston and Milwaukee (36 in 52 games played). But the 2020-21 season was an aberration for Tucker, who has been one of the most prolific corner 3-point shooters of the past decade. During his three full seasons in Houston, Tucker led the NBA in corner 3s each season, including making 109 corner 3s in 2018-19 – the most on record since corner 3s began being tracked in 1996-97.
Tucker’s three times leading the league in corner 3s in Houston coincided with James Harden’s three scoring titles while the two were teammates. Harden commanded so much attention as a scorer and was such a threat to drive to the basket to draw layups and fouls, that defenses were forced to collapse on him, leaving players like Tucker wide open in the corners. While Harden garners so much attention for his scoring prowess, he is an underrated passer, and Tucker’s corner 3-point success during their run together is a byproduct of both Harden’s passing and Tucker’s shooting.
This season, Tucker’s corner 3s are generated both by drives as well as excellent ball movement in Miami. Jimmy Butler leads the team in drives (13.2 per game) and passes 48.6% of the time when he drives. Tyler Herro is second on the Heat in drives (10.8 per game), passing 37.4% of the time, and Kyle Lowry is third in drives (8.4 per game), passing 56.6% of the time. Lowry is one of only three players in the league to drive at least eight times per game and pass over 55% of the time.
Even if those passes don’t lead directly to an open corner 3 for Tucker or Robinson, the Heat also rank in the top 10 in total passes made (294.7 per game, 9th) and secondary assists (3.5 per game, 8th), which shows that many of their open looks are coming off great ball movement as well.
|TEAM||CORNER 3PM||OFF RATING (rank)|
|Miami Heat||147||110.7 (7)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||129||109.9 (10)|
|Utah Jazz||127||116.8 (1)|
|Charlotte Hornets||120||112.7 (3)|
|Memphis Grizzlies||112||110.8 (5)|
The Heat lead the NBA in both corner 3-pointers made (147) and attempted (370) so far this season. By taking advantage of one of the most efficient shots in the game, the Heat have one of the most efficient offenses in the league, ranking seventh in offensive efficiency at 110.7 points per 100 possession. In fact, the teams that rank in the top five in total corner 3-pointers made (Miami, Milwaukee, Utah, Charlotte and Memphis) all rank in the top 10 in offensive efficiency this season.
When looking at the rest of the top 12 corner 3-point shooters in the game today, we see Bogdanovic tied for second with 34 corner 3s made. Bogdanovic receives 38% of his passes from Donovan Mitchell and has shot 31-63 (49.2%) from 3-point range on those passes so far this season.
|PLAYER||TEAM||CORNER 3PM||CORNER 3PA||CORNER 3P%|
|Kelly Oubre Jr.||CHA||28||76||36.8|
Milwaukee’s Allen and Boston’s Grant Williams combine high volume with great efficiency on their corner 3s. Of the 49 players that have attempted at least 40 corner 3-pointers so far this season, Williams ranks first (55.3%) and Allen ranks second (51.9%) in shooting accuracy. Connaughton (46.6%, 5th), Tucker (46.3%, 6th) and Bogdanovic (45.9%, 6th) also rank in the top 10.