As I mentioned on Monday , the Washington Wizards are not a good offensive team at the moment. A large part of the reason is their three point shooting. Washington is currently shooting 30% from beyond the arc this season according to StatMuse. Which is second to last in the NBA. Only the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers are shooting below 30% from three.
Washington shot the three ball better last season, shooting 34.2 percent. But 34.2 percent was still one of the worst 5 percentages in the league according to StatMuse. That percentage got a boost from Rui Hachimura (44.7 percent) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (39 percent). Without those two guys, it would have been ugly. Even guys who are known for shooting like Corey Kispert and Davis Bertans, went through stretches where they struggled from three.
This has become common
Three point shooting struggles have become a thing recently in Washington. The last time Washington was top 10 in three point percentage, was during the 2019-2020 NBA season. Since then, the Wizards have struggled to get back into the top 10.
The last time Washington had a stretch of being consistent from three, was during John Wall’s all star years. From 2013-2018, the Wizards finished either inside the top 10 or just outside of it when it comes to three point percentage. This was also the 5 year period where Bradley Beal was a very good three point shooter. During this stretch, Beal consistently shot around 38-40% from three.
Missed shots can be contagious
I have my own theory on why Beal has struggled from beyond the arc in recent memory. But maybe the struggles started from being on a team that all the sudden is struggling from beyond the arc. When you see your teammates missing threes, that could affect you in someway. Your teammates miss a couple threes in a row. Then you miss a three. Then your teammate misses a three. From there it can snowball.
I am seeing something similar happening to Rui Hachimura this season. Last season, Rui shot 44.7 percent from three. This year, he is shooting 25 percent from three. I don’t think he became a worse shooter all of the sudden. Like I said earlier, seeing your teammates miss a lot of threes can get to you.
The good news
The Washington Wizards are currently 5-6 this season. Also, there is no 10-3 start like last year that we have to keep going back to. The Wizards are still on pace to finish the season contending for one of the final playoff spots. Which is where I projected them to finish.
If Washington can clean up their three point shooting, perhaps they can avoid the play-in scenario all together. For all of their offensive struggles, Washington does have 3 players averaging between 17 and 21 point per game. That is a good starting point.