Surprising Trend Factoring into the Spurs' Early Success

With the caveat that statistically it is way too soon to say for sure, but a surprising trend may be emerging: the Spurs are shooting a significantly higher percentage of triples per game this year.

Year / 3PT Attempts Per Game as a % of Total Shots / Conversion %
2022 - 23 / 38.8% / 38.3% (3 games)
2021 - 22 / 34.5% / 35.2%
2020 - 21 / 31.4% / 35.0%
2019 - 20 / 31.8% / 37.6%

SA 3Pt Leaders this Season (min 10 attempts per 100, % conversion on a min 6 attempts per game)

Vassell 11, 8, 35%
Keldon 12, 8, 42%
Richardson 12, 6, 47%

Interesting Tidbits: gun shy Tre Jones is shooting 40% on 2 attempts per game from behond the arc. For perspective, Kawhi Leonard has never in his career shot from beyond the arc at Vassell's or Keldon's present volume, nor do Bradley Beal or Devin Booker.

Other league leaders (same volume cutoff, min 3 games played unless the perennial leaders).
Again listed: (per 100 possessions, per game, % conversion):

Klay Thompson 16, 8, 38%
Curry 15, 12, 38%
Doncic 14, 9.5, 32%
Trae Young, 12.5, 10, 25%
Donovan Mitchell 10.1, 8.5, 43%
Michael Porter Jr: 12.2, 8, 50%
Kuzma, 12.8, 9, 38.9%
Benedict Mathurin 11.2, 7, 52%

Context: If we dig deeper historically, Doncic's 3pt attempts are mostly unassisted, and, though significantly less so, so are the majority of Lillard's and (in the past couple of years) Mitchell's. Those of you who seek flaws in Doncic and harp about his supposedly sub par 3pt shooting, chew on this stat and the degree of difficulty in his shotmaking.

The overwhelming majory of Trae's, Curry's and Thompsons are assisted, as are Vassell's and Keldon's. Aside from Doncic's level of difficulty which is off the charts, Curry is in another stratosphere historically when you additionally take into account closeness of nearest defender(s), distance from the basket, and instant trigger shooting off of frenetic court movement.

Five key factors thus far are contributing to the Spurs' unexpected success:
(1) Excellent coaching extracting a trend towards superior execution of a a high octane movement offense, a better networking defense, and a steadying, timely injection of vets when needed,
(2) Plus defense at virtually all starting and main back up positions (excepting McDermott), and improved length in the interior
(3) Bench depth and balance
(4) Excellent 3pt shooting at a higher volume of total shots per game concentrated in a group of 5 players (excluding Primo who has had an abysmal shooting start, but is contributing in other ways and has a plus team rating).
(5) Tre Jones

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