I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of all the three point shooting in today’s NBA. I mean I don’t hate it, but I feel like a high volume of threes leads to repetitive basketball. It leads to the majority of teams playing the same way. When I was growing , teams had their own unique style of play. The Lakers had the Triangle Offense. The Wizards had the Princeton Offense. The Phoenix Suns had their 7 seconds or less offense. The list goes on on on.
Personally I prefer to see different styles of basketball being played. It just makes for more intriguing match ups. But more interesting basketball doesn’t always mean better basketball. As repetitive as three point shooting might get at times, as a team you need to shoot threes now. Otherwise you will have a hard time scoring enough points to win.
During the 2021-2022 regular season, the Minnesota Timberwolves led the NBA in scoring with 115.9 points per game. They also attempted the most threes (41.3), and made the most threes (14.8) per game. Of course there is more that goes into building a great basketball team than just finding players who are willing to launch threes. But in the modern NBA, if you want to score enough points it does start with the three point shot.
The 2022 Washington Wizards averaged 30.6 three point attempts per game, which ranks 29th in the NBA. They made 10.5 threes per game, which unfortunately ranks lasts in the NBA. Shooting 34.2% from three has them ranked 26th in the league in three point percentage. Makes sense why the team struggled so much on offense this year.
It’s ok to be a team that doesn’t shoot a lot of threes relative to the modern NBA. As long as the team can play defense at a high level. Which this year’s Washington Wizards didn’t do, allowing 112 points per game. Not bad (16th in the league), but not good enough if the team’s offense is average.
The 2020-2021 Washington Wizards actually averaged less threes than this year’s team, shooting 29 per game. They allowed the most points in the NBA, with 118 points per game. But they had the third best offense in the NBA, averaging 116 points per game. How is it possible to have a high powered offense without shooting a lot of threes? Last year the Wizards had a backcourt of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. Westbrook averaged a triple double, while Beal averaged 31.3 points per game. A backcourt that dynamic will help a ton, and the Wizards didn’t have that this year.
The need for a point guard has been a point of emphasis for the Wizards during this offseason. Although there are some very solid point guards on the market, I don’t see anyone coming in and doing what Westbrook did for the Wizards last season. If the Wizards can’t replicate the backcourt the had in 2021, the strategy moving forward is clear. At least to me anyways. Take and make more threes next season.
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