The modern NBA game is pretty simple. The offense is looking to take and make a lot of 3s, while the defense’s primary concern is defending the 3-point line. Part of that defense is determining who you’re willing and unwilling to leave open. For instance, if you’re playing the Warriors, you’re doing all you can to not allow Steph Curry or Klay Thompson to get a wide-open look at a 3-pointer. That means the Draymond Greens of the world, as a consequence, get left alone to fire at will and defenses takes their chances.
According to NBA.com/stats, a “wide open” 3-pointer happens with six or more feet of room between the shooter and the defender. An “open” 3-pointer happens with 4-6 feet of room, a “tightly” contested 3-pointer comes with 2-4 feet of room and a “very tightly” contested 3-pointer comes with 0-2 feet of room.
There can be some noise in these shot tracking stats, but SportsVu tracking for NBA.com has 39.4 percent of all 3-point attempts happening in that “wide-open” distinction. Meanwhile, 41.7 percent of them are “open” 3s, 17 percent are “tightly” contested and just 1.7 percent of 3-pointers are coming on “very tightly” contested shots.
So which teams were the best at knocking down wide-open 3-pointers last season? Which players on those teams came through and which players failed? And how does it look for all 30 squads next season?
Let’s take a look around the NBA (from worst to first):
30. Memphis Grizzlies
- 34 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 42.1 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? It shouldn’t surprise people that the $153 million man Mike Conley was the Grizzlies’ most reliable wide-open 3-point shooter last season. He had their second-most attempts (88 in 56 games) and knocked down 37.5 percent of them. It’s below the league average rate of 38.6 percent but it’s still pretty solid for them. It may surprise people to know that Jeff Green was their second-most reliable wide-open shooter from deep at 37 percent on 73 attempts (53 games).
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Matt Barnes. He took the most wide-open 3-point attempts on the team (134) by far and only knocked down 29.1 percent of them. This was a huge drop-off from the 36.8 percent he hit on 196 attempts with the Los Angeles Clippers the year before. I guess there’s a reason defenses were willing to live or die with Barnes taking wide-open 3’s; they like to live.
How’s it looking for next season? Much better. Grizzlies were a jumbled mess with all of the injuries last season. Relative health should help the offense click much more and get guys in rhythm. Not to mention, Barnes is gone to Sacramento and the Grizz brought Chandler Parsons to the team. He hit 48.6 percent on 56 wide-open attempts last season.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
- 34.2 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 38.6 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? This might help explain why the Thunder were so bad at this last season. The two most reliable guys were Cameron Payne (40 percent on 45 attempts) and Anthony Morrow (38.6 percent on 70 attempts). While you expect someone like Russell Westbrook to struggle on 3-point shooting, Payne and Morrow (great shooter but tough to play for defensive reasons) being much more reliable than Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka killed them when trying to make opponents pay.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Durant (32.6 percent), Westbrook (31.7 percent) and Ibaka (34.4 percent) were a combined 112-of-340 (32.9 percent) on wide-open 3-point shots. Ibaka dropped from 38.6 percent the previous season, and while K.D. was injured for much of 2014-15, he shot 55.6 percent (27 attempts) on wide-open 3-pointers. The Thunder also didn’t receive help from the shooting guard position. Dion Waiters was fourth in attempts on the team and hit just 34.1 percent. Andre Roberson was fifth in attempts and made just 32.1 percent.
How’s it looking for next season? No clue. Durant and Ibaka are gone and guys like Ersan Ilyasova (50.9 percent on 108 attempts), Victor Oladipo (34.2 percent on 114 attempts) and Alex Abrines (coming over from Europe) are joining the Thunder. It probably won’t improve much but the Thunder just have to hope it doesn’t get worse.
28. Miami Heat
- 34.5 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 43 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Chris Bosh. Even though his season was cut short for the second straight year, he still ended up with the second-most wide-open 3-point attempts (105) on the Heat and he converted on them at a 41.9 percent clip. Joe Johnson, who joined the team late in the season, knocked down 42.5 percent, and Josh Richardson was a very pleasant surprise at 46.7 percent on 30 attempts.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Opponents continually left Luol Deng open and begged him to knock down wide-open 3s. He hit 35.8 percent of them, which is a fine 3-point percentage overall but it’s also nearly three percent lower than league average on wide-open attempts. Gerald Green was a guy they brought in to stretch the floor and he hit just 31.5 percent of wide-open 3-pointers. Justise Winslow is supposed to have an improved jumper this season, which will hopefully increase his 30.4 percent.
How’s it looking for next season? Probably not good. We’ll need to see Winslow with an improved jumper before we buy it and we have no clue what the Bosh situation will yield for actual time on the court. They brought in Wayne Ellington, who can shoot (36.9 percent on wide-open 3s), and Waiters, who cannot (34.1 percent). They also brought in Derrick Williams (30.8 percent) and he was awful at it. The Heat need someone to get hot from deep. Tyler Johnson was 37.9 percent on just 29 attempts but he should factor in much more.
27. Denver Nuggets
- 35.1 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 46.3 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Darrell Arthur was their most reliable wide-open 3-point shooter last season. Unless we’re talking about Ryan Anderson, you probably never want your third big being the most reliable guy left wide open. Arthur was good though; he hit 40.3 percent of his 72 attempts. The problem is nobody outside of him was very trustworthy. Danilo Gallinari hit 36.5 percent (63 attempts) and Randy Foye was nails at 44.7 percent but took just 47 attempts.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? You’ll get a great picture of why they were so bad at wide-open 3-pointers last season. Gary Harris (31.5 percent), Emmanuel Mudiay (32.9 percent) and Will Barton (30.4) were the guys with the three highest totals of wide-open attempts for Denver. They shot a combined 85-of-269 (31.5 percent). You understand it with Mudiay, but Harris and Barton shooting so poorly on wide-open shots from deep is a real head-scratcher.
How’s it looking for next season? Better, I think. The roster is pretty much the same, but you’d expect growth and consistency out of a lot of the young guys. Harris was bad on wide-open 3s, but on open 3s he hit 39.5 percent. Barton on open 3-pointers hit 36.6 percent. Can they find that rhythm and comfort with extra room between them and the defender? Probably. Mudiay still projects to be a bad shooter right now, but the other two should right the ship a bit.
26. Atlanta Hawks
- 35.2 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 57.5 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? In 2014-15, Jeff Teague was a solid shooter on wide-open attempts at 37.6 percent. This past season, he jumped up to 46.7 percent while taking 34 more attempts (167) than the previous season (133). You’d think the most reliable guy off the bat would be Kyle Korver, but he wasn’t (36.8 percent). As Korver worked his way back from the bad ankle injury, his shot wavered quite a bit. Teague was the guy the Hawks needed to come through for them.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Al Horford (35.3 percent on 221 attempts) and Kent Bazemore (34 percent on 200 attempts) weren’t disasters for the Hawks, but they were also well below league average overall. It was Paul Millsap (31.9 percent on 138 attempts) and Dennis Schroder (29.5 percent on 115 attempts) who sunk the Hawks’ wide-open looks they generated better than any other team.
How’s it looking for next season? You’d have to think it’s going to be better for them even with losing Horford and Teague. Nobody generated more wide-open 3-point attempts than the Hawks and they just didn’t fall. Millsap (37.4 percent in 2014-15), Korver (53.2 percent in 2014-15) and Bazemore (41.5 percent in 2014-15) should all have bounce-back seasons. Dwight Howard won’t make up for those attempts you lose with Horford. Schroder probably won’t be able to shoot either but the rest of the guys can.
25. Philadelphia 76ers
- 36.1 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 37.8 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? It’s crazy that the Sixers are so low in overall percentage because they had three guys who took a lot of wide-open attempts and shot them well. Isaiah Canaan went for 42.2 percent on a team-high 162 attempts. Hollis Thompson hit 42.5 percent on 125 attempts. And Robert Covington went for 43.2 percent on 95 attempts. Those are three legitimate wide-open shooters with high totals for attempts and big percentages.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Maybe it’s unfair to call Nik Stauskas unreliable here because 36.1 percent (147 attempts) isn’t bad, but remember it’s a couple percentage points below league average. The Sixers really tried to get Jerami Grant to knock down these shots and he just couldn’t (23.6 percent on 89 attempts). All guys who weren’t named Canaan, Thompson and Covington combined to shoot 30.6 percent on wide-open 3-pointers.
How’s it looking for next season? Probably about the same. Canaan is gone while Thompson and Covington may see a decrease in minutes with the additions of Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson (30.3 percent). We don’t know if Simmons or Saric can even be decent shooters from outside, but Simmons probably won’t shoot as much as he’ll facilitate them. Adding Jerryd Bayless (45.9 percent) is a great addition but that may be neutralized by Sergio Rodriguez.
24. Los Angeles Lakers
- 36.5 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 25.4 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Much like the 76ers, the Lakers had three very reliable shooters in the top 4 of their wide-open attempts list and the rest of the team just brought them down. Those three reliable shooters? D’Angelo Russell shot 40.9 percent on a team-high 110 attempts. Jordan Clarkson was second in attempts (93) and hit a ridiculous 47.3 percent. Lou Williams was fourth in attempts (just 57) but hit 40.4 percent.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Hey, how great was that Kobe Bryant retirement tour? It was definitely better than the 30.6 percent he shot on 62 wide-open attempts. He wasn’t the only bad one though. Players not named Russell, Clarkson and Williams combined to go 75-of-251 (29.8 percent).
How’s it looking for next season? This is going to shock you, but a Byron Scott team didn’t value the 3-point shot … or good 3-point shots at that. Just 25.4 percent of their 3-point attempts were wide-open looks. No other team was below 32.1 percent. Luke Walton now coaches this team and will not have the same offensive misgivings as Scott did. Adding Luol Deng isn’t a boost but adding Brandon Ingram could be one. Either way, they’ll shoot smarter than they did.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves
- 37.1 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 41.2 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Zach LaVine was by far the most reliable wide-open shooter for the Wolves last season. He led the team in attempts (107) and knocked down 43.9 percent of those attempts. Nemanja Bjelica was also very good for the Wolves but seemed a bit gun shy at times too. He only had 64 attempts from beyond the arc and seemed to pass up opportunities in the middle of the season, but he hit 48.4 percent of those shots when he let them fly. Karl-Anthony Towns was good for a big man but his 37.9 percent (58 attempts) finished just a tick below overall league average.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Surprisingly, Ricky Rubio was not the unreliable guy here. He and Andrew Wiggins shot 35.6 percent (87 attempts) and 35.1 percent (77 attempts), respectively. Those are well below league average but not the disasters you’d expect from them — especially Rubio. The worst of the bunch taking a significant number of attempts was Shabazz Muhammad, who shot 32.3 percent on 65 attempts (fourth-most on the team).
How’s it looking for next season? It should be much better. The offense Tom Thibodeau has been hinting at sounds like it’ll be faster and more 3-point friendly than what we saw under Sam Mitchell. Bjelica should have the confidence instilled in him to let it fly. Towns and LaVine will likely attempt more. We’ll get to see if Wiggins’ improvement in the second half of the season is real. They also added Brandon Rush to the bench (43.7 percent on 119 attempts). Even if Rubio dips toward 30 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, he probably won’t sink the team.
22. Houston Rockets
- 37.3 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 36.1 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Not a lot of disaster guys you could leave wide-open last season. Trevor Ariza led the team with 226 attempts (next closest was 120) and he knocked down 42.5 percent. Patrick Beverley was second in attempts and hit 43.3 percent. James Harden didn’t get a lot of wide-open looks running the offense but hit 40.4 percent of his 89 attempts. Jason Terry (92 attempts) was below league average at 38 percent but not by much.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? The one guy you could leave all alone was Corey Brewer. He hit 28.8 percent of his 118 attempts. Of players who took at least 100 wide-open 3-pointers, Brewer was the worst shooter in the NBA (Matt Barnes and Dennis Schroder were close). Josh Smith (31.5 percent) was really bad but took just 54 attempts.
How’s it looking for next season? It’s no secret the Rockets were a mess last season. Whether they’re able to rebound from that season with the subtraction of Dwight Howard or not, having Mike D’Antoni as the coach will likely increase offensive potency and the success of wide-open 3-point shooting. If Harden can be the lead guard D’Antoni envisions, the additions of Ryan Anderson (46 percent) and Eric Gordon (45.7 percent) could put this team at the top of the league in wide-open 3-point shooting.
21. Milwaukee Bucks
- 37.4 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 32.1 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Nobody shot fewer wide-open 3-pointers than the Bucks. They were the only team to take fewer than 500 wide-open attempts and barely cleared 400 (409). The Bucks just didn’t shoot a lot of 3-pointers in general. But when Khris Middleton was left wide-open, he made you pay. He led the team with 74 attempts and hit 52.7 percent of them. Of players who took at least 70 wide-open 3’s last season, Middleton was the second most accurate behind C.J McCollum. Jerry Bayless (45.9 percent on 61 attempts) was also quite good.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Pretty much the rest of the team. Giannis Antetokounmpo was second on the team in attempts (70) but hit an abysmal 24.3 percent (only Jerami Grant and Charlie Villanueva took at least 70 attempts and shot worse). Rashad Vaughn, who is supposed to be a great shooter, hit just 35.4 percent on 52 attempts. Michael Carter-Williams went for 31.3 percent on 32 attempts.
How’s it looking for next season? It should be much better. We don’t know if the Greek Freak will improve as a shooter, but they did add Mirza Teletovic (45.1 percent on 102 attempts) and Matthew Dellavedova (44.9 percent on 118 attempts) in free agency. The Bucks generating higher quality shots will also help them knock these down with greater frequency and not just rely on Middleton.
20. Boston Celtics
- 37.7 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 35.7 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? The five guys on this team with the most wide-open attempts from distance shot an absurd percentage. Kelly Olynyk (42.6 percent on 136 attempts), Avery Bradley (40.5 percent on 126 attempts), Jae Crowder (39.6 percent on 91 attempts), Isaiah Thomas (43.6 percent on 78 attempts) and Jonas Jerebko (46.8 percent on 77 attempts) annihilated wide-open 3-point shots. Rookie R.J. Hunter was also good (45.8 percent on 24 attempts) but hardly shot from deep.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Everybody else. Jared Sullinger put up 30.7 percent on 75 attempts and Marcus Smart shot a putrid 25.4 percent on 67 wide-open 3-point attempts. The Celtics should’ve been higher in overall wide-open 3-point percentage but everybody not in the section above combined to shoot 21.7 percent.
How’s it looking for next season? You’re adding Al Horford in to take a lot more wide-open 3-pointers than Sullinger took. On top of that, he’s a much better shooter than Sullinger was. If the top five guys can even sniff the accuracy they had a year ago, the Celtics could be one of the best in the NBA at making you pay for poor defensive rotations.
19. Brooklyn Nets
- 37.9 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 37.4 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Do not leave Bojan Bogdanovic on the perimeter. He’ll make you pay like a loan shark. He was first on the team in attempts last season with 144 and he knocked down 43.8 percent of those attempts. Outside of him, Markel Brown and Donald Sloan were surprisingly good (40.5 percent and 41.7 percent, respectively) but combined for just 61 attempts.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Really the only disaster shooter with a significant number of attempts on this team when left wide open was Sean Kilpatrick (33.3 percent) and he only took 36 attempts (Nets were 27th in wide-open attempts). Guys like Joe Johnson (37.9 percent), Wayne Ellington (36.9 percent) and Shane Larkin (36.7 percent) took a significant number of wide-open looks but weren’t crazy below the league average.
How’s it looking for next season? The Nets no longer have Larkin, Johnson or Ellington. The guys they added with Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez were about 37 percent. Randy Foye joined up as well but probably won’t take a lot of them. If Luis Scola shoots them in Brooklyn like he did in Toronto (45.5 percent on 88 attempts), they’ll experience a nice boost. I wouldn’t expect much of a change, unless Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead can get some burn and fill it up from deep.
18. New York Knicks
- 38.3 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 33.9 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Langston Galloway and Carmelo Anthony were the most reliable wide-open outside shooters for the Knicks last season. Galloway hit 41.4 percent of his 70 attempts and Melo hit 45.8 percent of his 59 attempts. The Knicks didn’t attempt a lot of them but most of their guys were good at it. Jose Calderon (41.8 on 55), Arron Afflalo (42 on 50) and Sasha Vujacic (44.7 on 47) were all good on a low number of attempts. Kristaps Porzingis was below league average but did hit 37.1 percent of his team-high 131 attempts. You’ll definitely take that from a rookie big man.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Derrick Williams. Third on the team in attempts (65) and just a brutal 3-point shooter when left wide open. Also, it must run in the Grant family because rookie Jerian Grant only took 39 wide-open 3s but he also only made 28.2 percent of them.
How’s it looking for next season? Good question. They added Courtney Lee (36.9 percent overall on wide-open attempts), who was a good shooter for Charlotte and a mediocre shooter for Memphis. They also added Derrick Rose (42.9 percent on 28 attempts) and Brandon Jennings (35 percent on 40 attempts). Lee will probably get open looks but I’m not sure how you judge whether or not Rose and Jennings can consistently deliver on these shots.
17. Utah Jazz
- 38.3 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 38.8 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Last team on this list below league average and they had quite a few shooters putting up great numbers. Their top four attempts guys all shot above league average. Gordon Hayward (40 percent on 165 attempts), Rodney Hood (39.8 on 123), Trey Lyles (38.9 on 90) and Joe Ingles (45 on 80) were fantastic. Even Trey Burke (39 on 59) shot really well from deep.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Raul Neto, Shelvin Mack and Chris Johnson held this team back on wide-open 3-pointers. Neto shot 32.8 percent on 61 attempts. Mack hit 33.3 percent of his 51 attempts. Johnson connected on just 27.7 percent of his 47 wide-open 3-pointers. Those three were just bad enough to keep the Jazz below league average of 38.6 percent.
How’s it looking for next season? It could be pretty unbelievable. The Jazz added Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw and George Hill to the mix and only really lost Burke. Diaw hit 39.3 percent of these shots last season, but more importantly will be a guy who finds wide-open shooters with his passing. Johnson was 39.3 percent between Brooklyn and Miami. Hill was a ridiculous 44.8 percent on 138 attempts. This may be one of the best 3-point shooting teams in basketball next season. The Jazz hype train will eventually become a runaway death machine but for now, all aboard!
16. Dallas Mavericks
- 38.7 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 38 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Five guys on this team could really shoot it from deep when left wide open last season. Wes Matthews was 41.9 percent on a team-high 227 attempts. Dirk Nowitzki was left wide open from distance 142 times and hit 43 percent. JJ Barea hit 48.9 percent of his 90 attempts. Deron Williams hit 40.5 percent of his 84 attempts, and Chandler Parsons connected on 48.2 percent of his 56 shots.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Charlie Villanueva (24.1 percent on 87 attempts) and Raymond Felton (29.9 on 77) brought the Mavs down the most. Felton makes sense as a poor outside shooter but Villanueva knocked down almost 40 percent of wide-open attempts the previous season. It could have just been an outlier for this team.
How’s it looking for next season? Parsons is gone and Harrison Barnes is in. Barnes knocked down 42.6 percent of his 136 attempts last season. They won’t miss much with Barnes in place of Parsons, but with Barnes as a much higher priority on offense now, we may see a dip in his accuracy. The Mavs also added Seth Curry, who shot 61.4 percent on 44 attempts last season. In short, don’t leave this team open. They’re going to be too good.
15. Indiana Pacers
- 38.9 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 33 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Paul George and George Hill destroyed teams that left them open last season. P.G.’s return was a quick reminder to teams that he’s still awesome, and he led the team with 140 wide-open 3-point attempts. He hit 45 percent of them. Hill was second on the team with 134 attempts and hit 44.8 percent of them. Even Monta Ellis, who shot 32.2 percent with the Mavs a year before, knocked down 39 percent of his 105 wide-open deep shots.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? C.J. Miles might be the best pure shooter on the team, but he made just 35 percent of his 123 attempts last season. After that, there’s a huge drop-off in attempts with Solomon Hill coming in fifth with 36 attempts. He hit just 30.6 percent.
How’s it looking for next season? If Teague shoots like he did this past season (46.7 percent) then the Pacers won’t skip a beat replacing Hill with him. If he shoots closer to the 37.6 percent he shot in 2014-15, we’ll see a dip in how lethal the Pacers are when left wide open. Regardless, Miles probably won’t be as bad as he was and Ellis won’t be as good as he was. It should all mostly even out.
14. Phoenix Suns
- 38.9 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 36.9 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? You’ll notice as we keep getting deeper into this, there are a lot more reliable guys for teams and fewer unreliable guys. That’s the case with the Phoenix Suns. Mirza Teletovic (45.1 percent on 102 attempts), Devin Booker (41.1 on 95), Jon Leuer (40.6 on 69), Ronnie Price (41.3 on 63) and Eric Bledsoe (41.9 on 62) were all extremely reliable.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? This team didn’t have many holes for wide-open shooting. Brandon Knight and P.J. Tucker led the team in attempts but shot 37.5 and 37.7 percent, respectively. Markieff Morris hit just 36.2 percent of 47 attempts. Archie Goodwin was 18.2 percent on 33 attempts. But those were the biggest shortcomings for wide-open shooters. This team mostly struggled once you got down to 4-6 room between shooter and defender, where they dropped to just 34 percent.
How’s it looking for next season? They lost Teletovic, Leuer and Price this summer. They added Jared Dudley (47.8 percent on 136 attempts) and Leandro Barbosa (41.1 percent on 56 attempts). This team should still be deadly when left wide open and teams may not worry too much about this team’s offense since its defense could be absolutely abhorrent. Expect the shooting to keep up on the higher side of league average.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
- 39 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Eight guys in the NBA took at least 140 wide-open 3-pointers last season. J.J. Redick was the best shooter out of all them, knocking down 49.7 percent of his 145 attempts. He was fourth in the NBA out of all guys who took at least 100 wide-open attempts. He wasn’t the only deadly one on his team though. Chris Paul hit 40.2 percent of his 97 attempts. And a surprising name in this section is Austin Rivers, who took 66 wide-open 3-pointers and hit 42.4 percent of them.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Wes Johnson and Paul Pierce weren’t terrible but they weren’t good either. Johnson hit 35.5 percent of 124 attempts and Pierce hit 35.4 percent of 79 attempts. Jamal Crawford also struggled quite a bit, connecting on just 32.4 percent of 68 attempts. He was about 35.5 percent the previous two seasons.
How’s it looking for next season? Not much changed from last year’s team. The Clippers added Raymond Felton and Marreese Speights but neither will likely take enough shots to truly influence their wide-open shooting as a team. The Clippers should still flirt with 40 percent when left wide open.
12. Orlando Magic
- 39.3 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 48.9 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? The Magic were a middle of the road 3-point shooting team last season but leave them wide-open and they’d make you pay. Orlando flirted with 40 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, thanks to Evan Fournier leading the way. He had 219 attempts (fifth most in the NBA) and he hit on 45.2 percent of them. Andrew Nicholson was really good at 39.8 percent (88 attempts), and Channing Frye was great (51.7 percent on 60 attempts) before he was shipped to Cleveland for a ring. Surprisingly efficient shooter when left wide-open? Elfrid Payton. He hit 43.1 percent of his 51 attempts.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Orlando had very good shooters and they had very poor wide-open shooters, as well. Victor Oladipo made just 34.2 percent of his 114 attempts, and Aaron Gordon took 96 wide-open 3’s and hit just 31.3 percent of them. Before being shipped to Detroit, Tobias Harris made just 32.9 percent of 79 attempts. Mario Hezonja took 69 of them and connected on 36.2 percent.
How’s it looking for next season? How different will it look under Frank Vogel? Magic loaded up on big men this summer, and are hoping for a bounce back from Serge Ibaka (34.4 percent). Jeff Green is in Orlando now but shot just 35.5 percent overall between the Clippers and Grizzlies. D.J. Augustin split time between Denver and OKC and finished with 44.4 percent on 54 attempts. It will all come down to how well Payton, Ibaka, and Gordon shoot when left open.
11. Sacramento Kings
- 39.7 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 48.8 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? As chaotic as the Sacramento Kings were last season under George Karl, they were pretty accurate when their offense generated wide-open 3-point looks. Omri Casspi was the leader in attempts for them with 174 shots and he came through at a clip of 42.5 percent. Marco Belinelli (38.9 percent on 95 attempts), Ben McLemore (40.2 on 92), Darren Collison (46.1 on 89) and Seth Curry (61.4 on 44) were all incredible in boosting that wide-open 3-point percentage.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay kept the Kings from being a 40 percent team on wide-open 3s. Cousins shot the second most attempts on the team with 137 but made just 33.6 percent. Gay was third in attempts on the team with 99, but made just 34.3 percent. He didn’t really hurt the team, but Rajon Rondo’s 37.7 percent (69 attempts) was lower than league average. It was also a pleasant surprise for what you’d expect from him.
How’s it looking for next season? About the same. The Kings lost Belinelli in a trade to Charlotte and Curry signed with Dallas. However, they added Anthony Tolliver (42.5 percent), Arron Afflalo (42 percent) and Garrett Temple (39.3 percent) to the rotation. But they also added Matt Barnes (29.1 percent) and I’d guess he shoots closer to last season than he did with the Clippers two years ago.
10. Charlotte Hornets
- 39.7 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 38.3 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? What a difference a year makes. In 2014-15, Kemba Walker shot just 27.9 percent on 61 wide-open 3-pointers. Last season, he made 48.1 percent of 108 attempts as Steve Clifford adapted to 3-point shooting being a big component in modern offenses. Marvin Williams was the leader in team attempts with 173 and came through 42.2 percent of the time. Outside of those two, the Hornets mostly had guys who were good enough not to sink the team but not good enough to be league average.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? So the guys who weren’t great but weren’t awful were Frank Kaminsky (36.3 percent on 157 attempts), Nicolas Batum (37.2 percent on 113), Jeremy Lin (36.8 percent on 76) and Spencer Hawes (36.5 percent on 74 shots). Kaminsky and Hawes were pretty good for big men, and Batum and Lin were very solid. So they probably don’t qualify as unreliable. P.J. Hairston (33.8 on 71) and Jeremy Lamb (31.8 on 44) were definitely unreliable.
How’s it looking for next season? Second season with this 3-point-heavy emphasis probably means these guys will be more comfortable. Even if Kemba regresses to the mean a bit, he’ll still be deadly enough that you can’t leave alone. They lose a little bit replacing Lin with Ramon Sessions (35.4 percent), but also have added Marco Belinelli (38.9 percent) to the bench. Hornets will still have that sting.
9. Washington Wizards
- 39.9 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 47.1 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Top four in wide-open attempts for the Wizards last season were all above league average for Washington. Jared Dudley was the best at it, making 47.8 percent of his 136 attempts. Bradley Beal clocked in at 42.9 percent of 119 shots. Garrett Temple had the most wide-open looks at 140 attempts and hit 39.3 percent. And Otto Porter was just above league average at 38.7 percent on 137 shots. The Wizards were very good creating open looks and capitalizing on them.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? John Wall wasn’t atrocious. He hit 36.4 percent of his 118 attempts, which is good for him but not great for overall league average. Ramon Sessions (35.4 percent on 65 attempts) and Markieff Morris (36.2 percent on 47 attempts in 27 games) were not awful but not a helping shooting hand either.
How’s it looking for next season? They’ll probably be worse. New system under Scott Brooks and they lost both Temple to Sacramento and Dudley to Phoenix. That’s a big chunk of their wide-open shooting. They added Andrew Nicholson, who was good for Orlando (39.8 percent on 88 attempts), but most of its offseason moves were adding non-shooting size. They could really use Tomas Satoransky or Trey Burke as a reliable shooter. Or Kelly Oubre to step up and not lose much of his 50 percent on 36 attempts while increasing his volume.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
- 39.9 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 41.3 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Kevin Love led all shooters in the NBA with wide-open 3-point looks at 249 and knocked down 39.4 percent of them. It felt like he missed a lot more open shots than that, but the stats overtake the eye test or attempted confirmation bias here. J.R. Smith was excellent with 43.3 percent on 178 shots and Matthew Dellavedova earned big money with 44.9 percent on 118 attempts. Richard Jefferson also emerged as a guy not to leave, knocking down 48.3 percent of his 58 attempts.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert were the main guys who failed to really help the Cavs on wide-open shots. Irving made 36.8 percent on 95 attempts and Shumpert hit 35.4 percent of 65 attempts. And while Channing Frye was hot in the playoffs, he made just 35.7 percent of 56 attempts after leaving Orlando for Cleveland in a mid-season trade. Big surprise is LeBron James for not being that bad. His outside jumper has been awful since returning to Cleveland, but he did make 37.6 percent of 93 wide-open 3-pointers. It’s below league average but not awful.
How’s it looking for next season? Lethal. This Cavs team now has the chemistry and confidence of an NBA champion. They still need to re-sign J.R. Smith but that will likely happen soon. They also added Mike Dunleavy to the bench and he went 52.5 percent on 40 attempts last season in just 31 games. Plus, even if Kyrie can’t get better at it, we know he can dot the eye when contested in big moments.
7. Portland Trail Blazers
- 40.1 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 39.7 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? C.J. McCollum was arguably the best wide-open 3-point shooter in the NBA with 55.2 percent on 134 attempts. That probably goes down a bit with more attempts but teams also learned quite often you just can’t leave him. He was complemented nicely in that department with Meyers Leonard (44.1 percent on 136 shots), Allen Crabbe (47.5 percent on 122 attempts), and Damian Lillard (48.7 percent on 113 shots). Those four guys were good enough consistently to keep the entire team above 40 percent on wide-open 3-point looks.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? While Al-Farouq Aminu showed a big jump in 3-point accuracy and volume, he was pretty bad when left wide-open. He made 32 percent of a team-high 206 attempts. Maurice Harkless (27.4 percent on 84 attempts) and Gerald Henderson (30.3 percent on 66 attempts) were also really bad at capitalizing on these looks. Defenses were happy to give them to these guys too.
How’s it looking for next season? They still have Lillard and McCollum leading the attack. Aminu will probably be more comfortable. They retained Crabbe and Leonard. Adding Evan Turner won’t help the outside shooting, but he also only took 43 wide-open 3-pointers in 80 games when opponents were daring him to shoot them (23.3 percent). He can’t hit them but he doesn’t take them either. Blazers will still be one of the best at this.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
- 40.6 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 47.6 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon were stupid good from 3-point range, especially if you were foolish enough to leave them wide open as you swarmed Anthony Davis. Anderson knocked down 46 percent on 174 attempts. Gordon knocked down 45.7 percent of 140 attempts. Having those two guys made the Pelicans one of the deadliest teams in the NBA if you didn’t rotate properly. It wasn’t that far off from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as a duo in terms of accuracy and volume.
Toney Douglas (41.4 percent on 99 shots), Luke Babbitt (45.3 percent on 64), The Brow (40 on 55), Norris Cole (41.3 on 46) and even Tyreke Evans (39.5 on 38) were all really good.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Dante Cunningham fell below league average but 37.4 percent on 99 attempts for him sounds really good. Technically, he wasn’t as reliable as the other guys. Other than that, Jrue Holiday wasn’t very good with 35.6 percent on 90 attempts, and you have to go all the way down to Alonzo Gee’s 30.6 percent on 36 shots before you find another bad shooter.
How’s it looking for next season? Much, much worse. Anderson and Gordon are both gone to Houston, and losing two shooters like that will affect how much the defense has to scramble and rotate against them. They added Langston Galloway, who was very good, and Solomon Hill, who was not until seven games in the postseason. They also added E’Twuan Moore (53.8 percent on 39 attempts) to the bench. A healthy Quincy Pondexter could help a lot and the Pelicans need Buddy Hield to be able to shoot and play right away.
5. San Antonio Spurs
- 41.2 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 45.1 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? This will shock you but the Spurs were awesome at capitalizing on mistakes last season. Those mistakes? Leaving Patty Mills (44.6 percent on 130 shots), Kawhi Leonard (50.5 percent on 101 shots), Manu Ginobili (44.6 percent on 74 shots) and Boris Diaw (39.3 percent on 56 shots) wide open beyond the arc. The Spurs were just 20th in total wide-open 3-point attempts, but it accounted for 45.1 percent of their total shots from outside. And they were fifth in accuracy.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? The weird part about this entire thing? The Spurs should’ve been better. Danny Green had an odd slump last season with 35.8 percent on a team-high 178 attempts. He hit 52.5 percent of 183 attempts the previous season. If Green had hit 52.5 percent of his open 3-pointers last season, the Spurs would’ve been the most accurate at 45.8 percent when left wide-open.
How’s it looking for next season? It’s the Spurs. They’ll be exceptional at it.
4. Detroit Pistons
- 41.4 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 38.1 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? A lot of guys came through for Stan Van Gundy when they generated wide-open looks from deep. The Pistons had six guys with at least 50 attempts and over 42 percent accuracy. Anthony Tolliver (42.5 percent on 120 attempts), Marcus Morris (44.3 percent on 106), Ersan Ilyasoa (48.4 percent on 91), Reggie Jackson (42.4 percent on 85), Steve Blake (42.4 percent on 59) and Tobias Harris (43.1 percent on 51) were all huge for SVG. It was night and day when the defender distance dropped down to 4-6 feet and the Pistons shot just 32.8 percent on those 3-pointers.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Stanley Johnson struggled some with 35.6 percent on 104 wide-open attempts in his rookie season, but it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who kept the Pistons from being higher on this list. He was the team leader in attempts with 131 and made just 32.8 percent of them. It was a far cry from the 40 percent he shot on 140 attempts in 2014-15.
How’s it looking for next season? They should be just fine. Tolliver is gone to Sacramento and Ilyasova was part of the swap for Harris in the middle of the season. But Tolliver’s role will likely be filled by Jon Leuer, who shot 40.6 percent on wide-open 3s last season. Going from Steve Blake to Ish Smith (34.1 percent) will be a slight drop, but I expect the KCP of old to shoot when left open and not what we saw last season.
3. Chicago Bulls
- 41.5 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 34.6 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Sixth-fewest attempts but the third-highest accuracy. Maybe the players should embrace Fred Hoiberg’s offensive system much more than they did. With so few attempts, it’s hard to find a lot of reliable options because their attempts are so low. E’Twuan Moore shot 53.8 percent on 39 attempts. Mike Dunleavy shot 52.5 percent on 40 attempts. Only four players on the team took at least 50 attempts. Three of those guys were good at it. Doug McDermott shot 43 percent on 93 shots. Nikola Mirotic made 38.4 percent (just under league average) on 138 attempts. Tony Snell made 39.7 percent of 68 shots.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? The most unreliable guy for the Bulls was the fourth guy to attempt at least 50 wide-open 3-pointers. Jimmy Butler took a whopping 51 attempts and made just 33.3 percent of them. Nobody else really qualifies for a high enough volume to truly care about. But hey, Butler may have company this year …
How’s it looking for next season? Much like every question we answer about the Bulls heading into next season, I have no idea if and how this works. The Bulls gutted Derrick Rose and Mike Dunleavy away from the team. Moore left for New Orleans. They’ve replaced them with Rajon Rondo (who had a career year at 37.7 percent on wide-open 3’s) and Dwyane Wade (who shoots 3-pointers so infrequently that you assume the ball slipped out of his hands when he does). For what it’s worth, Wade was 4-of-9 on wide-open 3-pointers, and it’s not like teams are running him off the line.
2. Toronto Raptors
- 42.6 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 34.8 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? Much like the Bulls, the Raptors didn’t take a ton of them but they made you pay when they did. Only four players shot at least 50 and their top five guys in attempts all destroyed the wide-open 3-point shot. Kyle Lowry was absurd by shooting 49.1 percent on 116 wide-open looks. Patrick Patterson led the team with 162 attempts and hit 42 percent of them. Luis Scola made 45.5 percent of 88 attempts. Terrence Ross hit 41.8 percent of 79 attempts, and Norman Powell rounded out the top five on Toronto with 54.8 percent on 42 attempts.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Cory Joseph, who only took 37 attempts. He made 16.2 percent. He was really the only guy out there that killed the Raptors when taking a wide-open 3-pointer.
How’s it looking for next season? The Raptors should find a way to take more of these. If they don’t, they’ll still be fine and take advantage of missteps in defensive rotations by the opponent. But they could be overwhelming if they move the ball a bit more and find these shooters.
1. Golden State Warriors
- 43.7 percent on wide-open 3-pointers, 39.4 percent of their 3-point attempts
Who was the most reliable guy defenses left open? All of them. Of their top nine guys in wide-open 3-point attempts, only Draymond Green was below 40 percent. He made 39.6 percent of his 149 attempts. Stephen Curry was 46.2 percent of 212 attempts. Klay Thompson was 45.5 percent of his 191 attempts. The fact that the two best 3-point shooters in the league — and maybe of all-time — combined for almost as many wide-open attempts (403) as the Bucks (409) is stunning.
Who was the least reliable guy defenses left open? Here’s how absurd their wide-open shooting was: The first guy on their team below league average is Shaun Livingston. He shot 33.3 percent on wide-open 3-pointers. He took six of them.
How’s it looking for next season? They added Kevin Durant and he probably won’t shoot as poorly on wide-open 3s as he did last season (32.6 percent). So how’s it looking for next season? Like the apocalypse.
Source: CBS Sports / Wide-open 3s and ranking how each NBA team fared at making defenses pay