The Importance Of Shooting Threes

The Nets offensive woes from last year have been well documented on NAS, but for those of you who still aren’t in shell shock from the 2009-10 campaign, I wanted to revisit the team’s three point shooting performance. At .314 percent, the Nets ranked second-to-last in the league on treys, and while there were a number of reasons why the Nets ranked last in the league in offensive efficiency, they’re inability to hit much from behind the arc was certainly a contributor and something the front office has very forcefully addressed in their player acquisitions this summer.

Anthony Morrow is one of the best sharpshooters in the league, while Troy Murphy may be one of the NBA’s better shooting PFs. However, Jordan Farmar and Travis Outlaw also bring respectable shooting to the team. And while I’m sure you’ve heard this before, I’d like to point the many advantages of having legit shooters in the NBA: it spaces the floor better for your big men in the post while preventing defenses from settling into monotonous zone defenses – something that repeatedly did the Nets in during their close games last year.

So how much better are the Nets at shooting threes? By looking at just how their new acquisitions performed last year, the answer is: miles and miles better. Collectively, the current Nets roster shot 37 percent from three last year, which would have placed them 6th in the league based on overall percentage. It’s difficult to gauge if those shooters could have replicated those numbers in the Nets system last year – keep in mind that Courtney Lee went from a 40 percent shooter in Orlando to a 34 percent shooter with the Nets – but it’s a good indication as to how much more improved the Nets are in that one area.

It’s also worth noting that good three-point shooting does not guarantee success in the NBA – Toronto and Golden State were both in the top 6 last year. But look at some of the other teams near the top in this statistic – Phoenix (1st), Cleveland (2nd), Orlando (3rd) and Dallas (5th). So it obviously only helps, especially if they’re able to accomplish other things on offense besides launching treys.

As a fan, these numbers are also reassuring that the front office has developed a legitimate strategy for improving the team on offense. While the Nets didn’t acquire the “best” player at any one position, outside of Johan Petro, all of the new acquisitions have long range shooting skills and an offensive system can be built around that, especially with Brook Lopez in the middle.