THAD & THE 3-BALL

Energy and Hustle. 

That might as well be Thaddeus’ name at this point in his career.  He is fighting the good fight every single night.  Not only is he undersized, but a vital weapon has been removed from his bag of tricks.  While my opinions are often met with incredulous opposition, these next two points are beyond refute.  A 3 point shot is more valuable than a 2 point shot and Thad was developing into a legit threat from downtown until the arrival of DC. 

For a team that has mentioned being like the Stan Van Gundy led Orlando Magic featuring Dwight Howard, you’d think that having a stretch 4 might be part of the equation.  Thad can be that guy, he just needs the chance.

On average over the past 5 years, how many guys did the following over the course of an NBA season — Play 24+ MPG, take 2+ 3 point attempts per game and shoot better than 34.4% from 3?

(Answer coming shortly.)

For 2 years prior to the arrival of DC, Thad took slightly more than 2 attempts from 3 a game.

In game he took 3 or more attempts, he shot 71-198, which is 35.9%.  In the games that he took 2 or less attempts, he shot 33-104, which is 31.7%.  At this point it should be quite obvious what % you get when you put those numbers together.  It’s 34.4%.

There is a incorrect belief that shooting 34.4% from 3 isn’t very good.  Truth is, it’s more efficient than making 51.5% from 2.  It also creates more offensive rebounding opportunities than any shot from the midrange.  For a player like a stretch 4, it also increases the energy that the player covering him must expend by spacing the floor.

Thad is currently shooting 53.6% this year and has taken 0 3pt attempts.  So why is it that I am suggesting he start taking 3 point shots?  The above paragraph is part of the answer.  More of the answer is that he is currently taking 2.5 shots per game outside of 15 feet.  On those shots he is shooting 38% which means he earns 1.9 points per game from those shots.  Those same attempts from 3 at 34.4% are worth an extra .7 points per game.

Of all the regular rotation players, Thad is also the worst shooter from outside 15 feet.  Which brings us to the question I posed before, take a look at it again.  The answer is about 70.  Only 70 guys play that much, shoot that often and shoot that well.  For nearly 2 1/2 seasons, the 3pt shot has been removed from the offensive repertoire of Thad, how long will it continue?

The reintegration of the 3pt shot isn’t about changing up how Thad plays the game.  He will still spend most of his time near the basket.  It’s those mid-range shots that should be converted into 3s.  For a team that is in need of offense, another floor spacer can’t be a bad thing.  When you factor in the addition energy that the guy covering Thad will have to expend on that side of the court, it’s a net gain on both ends. 

This will also allow Evan Turner to take a few more opportunities per game to make a run at an offensive rebound.  More often than not, the opposing PF will not go charging at the basket in the hopes of grabbing an offensive rebound after a Thad 3. He will kinda stand in his spot and watch the ball.  ET now gets to use his rebounding prowess (which has not at all manifested itself on the offensive end) to join the fray in an attempt to grab an offensive rebound.  Who would you prefer going after an offensive rebound, Thad vs a PF or ET vs whomever is covering him?  A few times a game, ET will get that chance.

Thad needs to start shooting 3s.  It’s for the betterment of the team, himself and the fans.  More points, more opportunities and it’s a positive on both ends of the court.  There is nothing about his game that needs to be changed except this.  Turn those mid-range shots into 3s.  Make the opposing 4, cover him in the corner.  Create space to help every other part of the offense, most especially, lanes to drive the basketball.  No team in the history of basketball has been hurt by having too many 3pt shooters and this is a team that could realistically use another one.  In a previous article, I talked about how the new sharpshooters only made 1.4 more 3pt shots per game than the old guard of Lou, Iggy, and Meeks.  This season, the team is making 1.3 more 3pt shots than last season.  Thad taking 3s certainly can’t hurt at this point, can it?

 

 

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