FanPost

How worried should we be about the Spurs young guards 3 point shooting?



In this post i will try to break down Lonnie Walker, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassel 3 point shot last season. in this first part i will look at the first three players.

NB: Apparently i can't add screenshot on this post unless it is a link (copyright protection apparently). So it will be just tabs.

Why Lonnie's shooting fell below league average?

Lonnie’s 3pt shoot

Overall 3P%

Total 3FGA

Above the break 3 %

Corner 3 %

% of 3PA from corner

CS%

CS3 FGA

Wide open 3%

Wide open 3 FGA

Share of 3 that are wide open

Pull up%

Pull up 3 FGA

1st season

38.5 %

13

33.3 %

100 %

7.7 %

33.3 %

9

40 %

5

38 %

50 %

4

2nd season

40.6 %

101

44.3 %

34.5 %

24.8 %

40.7 %

86

40.3 %

67

66 %

35.7 %

14

3rd season

35.5 %

282

35.6 %

35.4 %

15.2 %

38.4 %

211

38.6 %

132

47 %

26.8 %

71

On that tab we can establish that Lonnie is solid on wide open Catch and Shoot but not very efficient from the corner, which is not a big problem since he takes most of his 3 from above the break.
We can explain the fall of 3pt% by a larger number of pull up 3: now 25% of Lonnie 3PA are pull up, on which he shots only 26.8%. The other explanation, more worrisome is the fall in his above the break accuracy. There was no other major change in his 3point shot selection or accuracy. He still doesn't take very tight 3 which means he doesn't force shot. He take a bit more tight shot (18 vs 4 last season) on which is not very accurate (17%).
On the dozen of games I watched this season I saw him took more off-screen 3 or hand off 3, which means he is incorporating more difficult attempts. That also can explain why is overall 3% decreased.
Basically Lonnie is good at converting wide open 3 on a much higher volume. But that volume could still grow.
Going forward there is 3 main questions:
1- can he return to a better accuracy from above the break?
2- can he still increase his volume?
3- can he master the pull up 3 and reach 34%?
4- can he keep diversifying his 3 point shot and improve his overall accuracy?

Basically Lonnie partly assumed the burden of replacing Bryn and Marco attempts this year. It went OK but Lonnie still have a lot of work to do to be as efficient as they were with the same volume and shot difficulty.
Still at the screenshot shows, defenses respect him which is a big part of his role as a floor spacer.

Dejounte is still only a wide open 3 makers

Dejounte’s 3pt shot

Overall 3P%

Total 3FGA

Above the break 3

Corner 3

Share of 3 from the corners

CS%

CS3 FGA

Wide open 3

Wide open 3 FGA

Share of 3 that are wide open

Pull up%

Pull up 3 FGA

1st season

39.1 %

13

35.3 %

50 %

2.6 %

42.1 %

19

25 %

12

92 %

25 %

4

2nd season

26.5 %

34

16.7 %

31.8 %

61.8 %

27.3 %

33

30 %

30

88 %

0

0

3rd season

36.9 %

111

36.2 %

39 %

36.9 %

41.1 %

95

39.5 %

76

68 %

13.3 %

15

4th

season

31.7 %

199

31.6 %

31.8 %

20.6 %

31.4 %

172

38.1 %

84

42.2 %

33 %

27

The first thing that stood out from that table is the meaningful fall Dejounte's shooting experienced last season. It seems like the heavier volume meant a lower efficiency. However, we can see 2 main explanations:
1- he takes more difficult shots
2- he can't make 3 unless wide open.

1-His share of corner 3 keep diminishing from 60% in his second season to only 20% now. Much less of his 3 were wide open (from 68 to 42%) which could be a sign that opponents respect him more. However his share of pull up is still around 14%. The sample size is still very small but he shots them an encouraging 33%, similar to Derrick last year on half the volume. Considering he shots around 43% on pull up 2, it is still possible he could become passable on pull up 3.
2- He made 36.2% of his above the break 3 and 39% of his corner 3 last season. That's down to 31% this year. Even his catch and shoot 3 fell from 41 to 31%. Basically Dejounte missed the 3 he was making last season. Considering Dejounte wasn't a natural shooter it is still possible that is 3point% could vary widely year to year, similar to Rudy Gay, and hover around league average.
The bright spot is his accuracy from wide open 3 which still remains firmly above average at 38% albeit with the same volume despite 430more minutes played.. That suggest that Dejounte didn't completely forget how to shoot 3, just that he can't make contested 3 right now:
He was 10/30 on open 3 last season, but 23/97 this season. He didn't even attempted tightly contested 3 the last two seasons.

Dejounte still have a lot of work to do as a long distance shooter. Despite disappointing results this season he is still willing to expand his skills, to practice even thought results are not there yet. It took him 3 years to consistently make wide open 3, maybe he just need a bit more practice to make open one. Till it happens opponents will keep sagging way off of him as seen in the screenshot above.

Injuries hampered Derrick's shooting.

Derrick’s 3pt shot

Overall 3P%

Total 3FGA

Above the break 3

Corner 3

Share of 3 from the corners

CS%

CS3 FGA

Wide open 3%

Wide open 3 FGA

Share of 3 that are wide open

Pull up%

Pull up 3 FGA

1st season

61.5 %

13

58.3 %

100 %

7.7 %

57.1 %

7

71.4

7

54 %

66.7 %

6

2nd season

33.8 %

142

33.1 %

37.5 %

15.5 %

33 %

106

34.3 %

105

74 %

36 %

36

3rd season

36.6 %

216

37.1 %

37.1 %

14.8 %

39 %

141

38.9 %

113

52 %

32.9 %

73

4th

season

34.6 %

243

31.7 %

47.7 %

17.7 %

37 %

189

35 %

117

48 %

26.3 %

57

Derrick's slight decrease in 3 point accuracy is probably due to injuries this season. His shot profile didn't change: roughly the same number of corner 3, wide open 3 and pull up 3. His corner 3 and catch and shoot 3 accuracy remains stable which leaves hope for optimism. The worrying part is his deep on wide open 3% from 38.9% to 35% without a bigger volume. I am not too worried about his accuracy loss on wide open 3 since on open 3 he was 41/103 this season vs 28/83 (33.7%) last season. That could just be randomness and injuries.
Next season I bet on Derrick maintaining his high volume of 7 3PA/game at 36-37% barring any new injuries.

To sum up i think Lonnie 3 point accuracy felt mainly because the was stretch to his limit to replace Bryn and Marco shooting. For Dejounte he also steped out of his comfort zone which was limited to wide open catch and shoot. As we all know Derrick was coming back from injuries all year and only look like its bubble form in April.

On part 2 i will present my finding about Keldon and Devin and the overall impact they have on the team.

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