A lot of excitement is buzzing in Oklahoma City headed into the upcoming season due to the acquisition of some key players that should help the Thunder in a number of different ways. Perhaps the most valuable facet of the game that the new guys will impact is spacing on the floor, which directly impacts three-point shooting.
Last season, the Thunder shot a poor 31% from beyond the arc in the playoffs, which was even worse than their regular season league-worst 32.7%. Oklahoma City has a few solid three-point shooters in Alex Abrines and Doug McDermott, but with the lack of ability to space the floor effectively, good shots were few and far between last season. This should change this season.
Four-time All-Star small forward Paul George was the marquee pickup over the summer, and he shot 39.3% from three last season. Not only is he a quality shooter, but his ability to attack the rim helps space the floor. Newly acquired power forward Patrick Patterson shot 37.2% from three on a career-high 3.9 attempts per game a season ago, and he’s a 36.8% three-point shooter for his career.
With the way the NBA has transformed over the last few years, primarily due to teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, three-point shooting is as important now as it ever has been. The Thunder were able to get by with their abysmal shooting from downtown during the regular season, but come playoffs, it hurt their ability to score in a number of ways. Hopefully with the new additions, the Thunder will be much better off shooting the ball this season.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.