Last week, we began our look at the top shooters of the season by breaking down the top 10 scores on pull-up jumpers – a list led by Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and Stephen Curry. It was a star-studded list featuring many of the top scorers in the league (all ranked in the top 17) and the highest-usage players (all ranked in the top 25).
This week, we shift the focus to the top catch-and-shoot threats in the league so far this season. This a list primarily made up of complementary scorers – of the top 10, only Utah’s Lauri Markkanen leads his team in scoring – as they are the beneficiaries of open looks created either by the primary offensive creator (see Tim Hardaway Jr. via Luka Doncic) or the benefit of an offense built around a great player and ball movement (see Golden State and Utah, each with two players in the Top 10).
Note: All stats through games played on Jan. 15; players had to play more than 20 games to qualify
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||DAL||7.0||54.4||2.4||6.5||36.9||2.3||6.2||36.3|
Klay Thompson: Since player tracking data debuted in the 2013-14 season (Klay’s third NBA season), Thompson has led the league in scoring on catch-and-shoots six times (including this season) and ranked second (to teammate Curry in 2018-19) and fourth (in 2014-15) in the only two seasons he did not top the list.
It makes sense that the player that once scored 60 points on just 11 dribbles would consistently be among the top catch-and-shoot threats in the league. Whether coming off screens (he averages a league-high 5.0 ppg. on such plays) or finding open spaces on the perimeter as a target for passes from Curry (Klay shoots 48.7% from 3 on passes from Steph) or Draymond Green, Klay is ready to fire with one of the quickest releases and smoothest 3-point strokes in the league.
Much was made of Charles Barkley’s comments on Inside the NBA in late October after the Warriors were blown out by the Suns about how Father Time and injuries were catching up to Klay and slowing him down. Thompson responded, saying he was disappointed by the comments and that he needed more time to continue to work his way back to form. Thompson has bounced back from a slow start to the season. After posting a 35.7 effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoots in six games in October, Thompson has shot it at 61.7 eFG% since November. Father Time has not been able to take away his jumper just yet.
Buddy Hield: While he may have changed teams at least year’s trade deadline, one thing that did not change is Hield’s ability to knock down catch-and-shoots from beyond the arc. Over the past five seasons, Hield has ranked in the top eight in catch-and-shoot scoring four times. In his first full season in Indiana, Hield is on pace to average his highest points per game on catch-and-shoots (8.4 ppg) and his second-highest eFG% (64.8%). He leads all players in total field goals made (126) and 3-pointers made (125) on catch-and-shoots so far this season.
Lauri Markkanen: Among this top 10 list, Markkanen is the only player to currently lead his team in scoring as he ranks 17th in the NBA at 24.6 points per game, which is on track to be a career high by nearly six points per game (18.7 ppg in 2018-19 in Chicago). Markkanen’s shot distribution is split fairly evenly between 3-point shots (297 attempts, 261 of which are catch-and-shoots) and shots inside the paint (328, which is the most of any player on this list), with only 46 attempts coming from the mid-range.
Andrew Wiggins: Wiggins currently ranks fourth in catch-and-shoot scoring (7.7 ppg) overall and fifth in effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoots (68.2) among high volume shooters (127 players with 100+ catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts). Take a look at the progression of Wiggins as a catch-and-shoot threat since joining the Warriors in 2019-20:
- 2019-20: 3.8 ppg (ranked 96th), 52.3 eFG%
- 2020-21: 4.3 ppg (78th), 57.5 eFG%
- 2021-22: 5.4 ppg (42nd), 60.9 eFG%
- 2022-23: 7.7 ppg (4th), 68.2 eFG%
Devin Vassell: Among this top 10 list, Vassell has the lowest catch-and-shoot frequency as the shot accounts for only 35.7% of his overall attempts. The fact that he can still make this top 10 with such a low frequency is due to his incredible efficiency. Vassell ranks seventh among high-volume shooters in catch-and-shoot effective field goal percentage (67.3%). He joins Wiggins and Hield to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and efficiency on catch-and-shoots.
Nikola Vucevic: Catch-and-shoot attempts are pretty much synonymous with 3-point shooting as 92.8% of the league’s 34,373 catch-and-shoot attempts so far this season have come from 3-point range. When looking at this top 10 list, half of the field has 3-pointers account for over 95% of their catch-and-shoot attempts. Only one player on this list sits below 88% and that is Vucevic as 3-pointers account for only 71.9% of his catch-and-shoot attempts. Vucevic ranks third in catch-and-shoot field goals made (116) and 19th in catch-and-shoot 3-pointers made (77). Vucevic ranks second to Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton in both catch-and-shoot 2-pointers made (39, Ayton has 45) and 2-pointers attempts (79, Ayton has 109).
Tim Hardaway Jr.: Catch-and-shoot accounts for 53.7% of Hardaway’s shots this season – a 12 percentage point increase from his previous high since joining the Mavericks in 2018-19. He is making a career-best 2.4 catch-and-shoots per game, but still has not found the same accuracy that he had in his first two full seasons in Dallas (42.1 3P% in 2019-20, 40.9% in 2020-21). Hardaway’s catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage dropped to 34.3% last season and is up to 36.3% so far this season. A good sign for Dallas is that Hardaway is shooting 42.6% on catch-and-shoot 3s over seven games so far in January.
Jerami Grant: In his first season in Portland, Grant is shooting a career-best 42.8% from 3-point range in his ninth NBA season. Of his 243 3-point attempts, 223 have come on catch-and-shoots with Grant connecting on a career-best 41.3% of those attempts, as he’s made significant improvements from his previous two seasons in Detroit (36.2% in 2021-22, 36.7% in 2020-21). Grant has also been outstanding on his limited pull-up 3-point attempts (11-of-19, 57.9%) so far this season.
Keegan Murray: The only rookie in the top 10, Murray has been outstanding in his role as a spot-up shooter playing alongside playmakers in Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox for the league’s top-scoring offense (120 ppg.). While Murray has the lowest scoring average (11.6 ppg., 105th in the league, 6th on his team) and lowest usage rate (16.4%, 259th in the league), he has the highest frequency of catch-and-shoots of any player on this top 10 with 58.2% of his shot attempts coming on catch-and-shoots. He’s knocking them down at a 41% rate with 100% of his 97 catch-and-shoot makes coming from 3-point range.
Malik Beasley: Beasley rounds out this top 10 based more on volume over efficiency in his first season in Utah. Among this group, he has the lowest effective field goal percentage at 53.4%, which also marks Beasley’s lowest percentage since his second NBA season back in 2017-18 (51.3%). Over the following three seasons, Beasley posted eFG%’s north of 60% on catch-and-shoots. It dipped to 57.1% last season in Minnesota when he finished second in catch-and-shoot scoring behind Thompson at 7.6 ppg.