The entire NBA is branching out to the three-point line. Well, almost the entire NBA. Some teams, like the Nets and Timberwolves, are still living inside the arc. It's not working out well for them, though. Both of those squads rank in the bottom half of the league in points per possession.
The biggest problem here may not come in makes or percentage (the Wolves rank 29th and 26th, respectively) but in attempts. The Timberwolves are virtually tied for last place in three-point attempts per game, leading Brooklyn by a tick, 16.4 a night to 16.3. The Minnesota offense just isn't conducive to taking three-point attempts.
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Ricky Rubio often doesn't have a shooting to kick to in the corner when he penetrates. Pick-and-rolls lead to 22-footers on the wing instead of 24-footers. The spacing is all kinds of off.
You'll see guys standing a foot or two inside the three-point line when they should be spacing beyond it. You'll see players all too often take a dribble in from the arc once receiving the ball to attempt a 20-footer. All of these decisions are fine to make on occasion, but you don't want them being routine inside your offense. In the end, you need an offensive philosophy that prioritizes the three.
That probably won't happen under Sam Mitchell, who takes more of an old-school approach in everything he does, but it could happen under whomever follows the Wolves' interim coach. Hopefully, considering all the young talent that's on this roster, the team finds someone worthy of the players.
The Wolves have made 149 threes all season; Golden State’s reigning MVP Stephen Curry has made 131 all by himself.
“It seems like the game is going this way,” Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio said. “A lot of shooters, and you see Golden State is having success with that kind of play. A lot of teams are going this way. It’s something we have to improve, our three-point shooters.”
That will have to come through individual development of players already on the roster and by adding better shooters to the roster through trades, the draft or signings. Wolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell said he think all three of his team’s youthful foundation — Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony-Towns and Zach LaVine — can grow into fine three-point shooters.
For now, the Wolves’ only real, proven three-point shooter is veteran guard Kevin Martin, and there’s a very good chance he will be dealt by February’s trade deadline to create more playing time for Wiggins and LaVine at the shooting-guard position.
“It’s tough,” Rubio said. “But we’re going to play to our strengths. Right now we’re not a really good shooting team, and we have to play inside and know where our strength is.”