FanPost

How worried should we be about the Spurs youngsters 3 pointers? Part II

How pessimistic should we be about Keldon’s 3 point shot?

Keldon’s 3pt shot

Overall 3P%

Total 3FGA

Above the break 3%

Corner 3%

%of 3 are corner

CS%

CS3 FGA

Wide open 3%

Wide open 3 FGA

% of 3 are wide

Pull up

Pull up 3 FGA

1st season

59.1 %

22

83.3 %

53.3 %

68.2 %

65 %

20

50 %

18

82 %

0 %

0

2nd season

33.1 %

181

35.1 %

28.9 %

23.8 %

35.1 %

148

33.9 %

127

70.5 %

26.7 %

30


Keldon Johnson finished last season shooting 33.1% on 181 3PA when league average was around 36.7%. The league considered him a bad shooter since 70% of his 3 are wide open. He proved them right by only converting 33.9% of those wide-open attempts.
However I am cautiously optimistic about his projection. He took 76% of his 3 from above the break in his second season, much higher from last season. He is already trying pull up at a very low volume. That might be part of his big playing time but knowing he had some freedom to do it is a good sign. He almost shot league average on his 148 C&S3 and on his above the break 3. The volume is already here even though he still passed up a lot of wide open 3. The results are OK. He is a 75% FT shooter, that’s league average. With his skills as a driver becoming league average could be enough.
However improvement is mandatory. Against the Hornets Lamelo completely ignored him, partly by defensive scheme but mainly because he is not considered a threat even in the corner. Reputation is important because as we will see below, Devin had similar number (34.7% on 150 3FGA).

Devin and the power of volume.

Devin’s 3pt shot

Overall 3P%

Total 3FGA

Above the break 3%

Corner 3%

%of 3 are corner

CS%

CS3 FGA

Wide open 3%

Wide open 3 FGA

% of 3 are wide

Pull up

Pull up 3 FGA

1st season

34.7 %

150

31 %

39.4 %

42 %

34.8 %

138

33.3 %

51

34 %

36.4 %

11


When you compare Devin Vassel and Keldon 3 their number don’t look that different: 33.1% vs 34.7% on similar volume, same accuracy on wide open 3 and CS3, Keldon is much better from above the break on a bigger volume. Keldon shot attempts even look more difficult: 3 times more pull up and a much lower share of corner 3. Yet Devin is respected by opponents while Keldon is frequently left wide open? Part of that is because Keldon passed a lot of open shots. That table is incomplete: Devin played 1000 minutes, Keldon almost 2000. Devin have then a much higher 3 point rate than Keldon, which is why defenders guard him more closely. In the same number of minutes played, Lonnie last season took only 101 long range shots.
Devin shots in his first season compare to Derrick or Lonnie second season.
Personally I was disappointed that his percentage wasn’t better but considering the player around him (besides Demarre Derozan, no great passer, no great driver to collapse the defense) it’s fine I guess?

Impact on team play.

Despite disappointing accuracy this season, there is some reason for moderate optimism. The only real shooters among that group, the ones defense respects, are Derrick, Lonnie and Devin. Dejounte and Keldon might get to the point were they can convert enough wide open and open 3 that the spacing remains correct.
However except Derrick, none of them are high volume 3point shooter like Patty or Buddy Hield. They are not pull up threat yet, something that is becoming increasingly mandatory for guards. They also remain, even for Derrick, easy shot makers sine few of their 3 are tightly or very tightly contested. Unfortunately nab.com doesn’t separate hand off and off screen that results in 3.
Devin Vassel is already far more advanced in his 1st season than the other player of that group: taking 150 threes in 1000 minutes. Lonnie in his second season took 101 in the same number of minutes. However Devin is mostly a CS corner shooter right now. I believe next season that he will be an above the break shooter (following the pattern seen with past rookies) while remaining a catch and shoot player. He has an intriguing pull up 2 so in a few years that could translate to the 3point range. LIke Lonnie he could also gradually develop off movement 3, hand off or off screen 3, side step 3 after a fake like Danny Green did. The fact that both Devin and Lonnie are still very young offers hope but no certainty.

On a team level they still don’t take ad make enough 3 (29th in the league) especially to compensate for total non shooter like Poeltl and Derozan. If they were playing with a full time high volume 3 shooter that could lighten the pressure on them. Also most of the time opponents just ignore them on the perimeter. That will be the biggest thing they’ll need to change. They also all remain open 3 makers. They didn’t even take tightly contested 3 (=with a defender 2-4feet from the shooter): together those 5 players took 77 tightly contested 3. Mills alone took 88. He also made 31, 9 more than the 5 young guards combined. And all those guys are 5 inches taller. To make it worse, Patty Mills is a bench scorer, not a full time starter like shooting specialist Buddy Hield or prime JJ Reddick.
If we are optimistic we can assume that 3/4 of them will become good floor spacer: the kind that take and make open (not wide open) 3, can be league average on pull up. However as I was watching the Jazz vs Clippers game 2 video highlights I have doubt that they develop the ability to make consistently (38-40%) very tightly contested 3 in the playoffs. Their FT% is in the low 80% at best and neither except maybe Derrick and Devin were great shooter before the NBA.

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