Grizzlies won’t join 3-point revolution, but could become bigger threat

Had Jeff Green (32) hit all 97 of his 3-pointers in a Grizzlies uniform last season he would have finished second among Memphis players, trailing only Mike Conley's 107.

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The past five seasons, no team has hit fewer 3-pointers than the Grizzlies.

And it’s not even close.

Memphis’ 1,796 made are 343 less than the next-closest franchise in the Hornets at 2,139. Considering the period since 2010-11 has included 13 of the most prolific teams in NBA history from long range and that the teams to play in the conference finals last season were also in the top five from 3, it has only put a greater spotlight on the Grizzlies’ statistical deficiency.

The NBA has trended away from the bruising, punishing low-post play that defines Memphis. No one is expecting the Grizzlies to get away from having Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph be their focus — but that doesn’t mean they can’t have it both ways.

"They’re so good in the paint it makes it obvious where your emphasis needs to be when you’re playing Memphis," said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. "It’s not any secret. They kind of just come out and smash the paint anyway. … They still can make some 3s, and they can hurt you from there."

Maybe even more this season.

Memphis increased its 3-point shooting with last year’s addition of Vince Carter, who hit 69 from distance. That figure was third on the team behind Mike Conley’s 107 and Courtney Lee’s 90.

The Grizzlies went out again this offseason and added another deep threat in acquiring forward Matt Barnes in a deal with the Hornets. The 35-year-old hit 136 a season ago for the Clippers and has connected on 97 or more in three straight seasons.

He’s gotten off to a slow start on 3s, going 0-for-3 in Wednesday’s 92-89 win over the Hawks and has hit two of 18 overall in the preseason. But Memphis coach Dave Joerger has seen enough to know what Barnes is capable of.

"Whatever the guy’s percentage is, at least you have to stand next to him. You know what I mean?" Joerger said. "It makes a difference. He’s a threat to shoot the basketball — it could go in.

That’s been good for us. … I think he was 1 for 24 last year in the preseason from 3. And so far this (preseason) he’s made one. But the other night, 21 minutes, he went 1 for 6 from the field but he was plus-32 in the box score. So he’s having an impact on the game. He’s been great for us."

Barnes will help considering the Grizzlies didn’t have a forward who started 2014-15 on its roster finish in the top 100 in made 3s, but the biggest boost is likely to come form a player who was already in Memphis at the end of last season.

Jeff Green was 50 of 138 after being dealt from the Celtics on Jan. 12 in a three-team deal that also included the Pelicans, good enough for fourth on the Grizzlies. Add in the 47 he hit in Boston, though, and only Conley delivered more.

It’s called the Grindhouse for a reason, and with Gasol signing a five-year max contract worth $110 million and Randolph still having two years remaining on his deal, no one is expecting the Grizzlies to join the league’s 3-point revolution.

But they’re poised to become more of a threat, and after being outgunned 68-25 by the eventual champion Warriors in their six-game Western Conference semifinal, including 43-12 over the final three games, that’s enough to potentially make the Grizzlies even more dangerous.

Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney