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3 Pointers

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John Hollinger swats down Doug Collins for suggesting that it’s a mistake for Richard Jefferson to take a third of his shots from beyond the three point line:

Setting aside for a moment the ridiculously small sample (24 shots over three games), or the fact that Jefferson shot a career-high 39.7 percent on 3s last season and ranked among the league’s top practitioners of the corner 3, there’s the simple matter that for a wing to take one-third of his shots from distance is completely unremarkable in this day and age. Last season, of the 63 small forwards to play at least 500 minutes, 30 took a third or more of their shots from beyond the arc. With Jefferson transitioning from a leading role in Milwaukee to a secondary one in San Antonio — a switch that, for perimeter players, usually leads to a spike in the portion of shots that are 3s — I’d expect his portion of triples to stay around this level all season.

I would go further: In general, there’s not enough three point shooting happening in the NBA. In the 2008-2009 NBA season the average possession resulted in 1.083 points. The league average on three point shooting, meanwhile, was .367 meaning that the expected value of a three point attempt was 1.101 points. Better than average. Indeed, last year only four teams scored at a more efficient rate than 1.101 points per possession. If you consider that 26.7 percent of missed shots become offensive rebounds, the long ball looks even better. The break even point for three point shooting, on average, is something a bit lower than 36.1 percent.

In general, two point jump shots are kind of a sucker play: dunks, free throws, and three pointers are where it’s at.

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