32. Jazz Ridiculous Three-Point Shooting
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz open their season on October 20, just 32 days from today. With the clock ticking, we look at 50 things for Jazz fans to be excited about leading up to the 2021-22 NBA season. Coming in at number 32, the return of the Jazz ridiculous three-point shooting.
Jazz Ridiculous Three-Point Shooting
The Jazz set the NBA record for average three-pointers made per season last year. As a team, they averaged 16.7 makes per game, a full shot more than the second-place Portland Trail Blazers.
It was a dramatic jump for the Jazz who finished seventh during the 2019-20 season when they knocked down a respectable, but unspectacular 13.4 attempts per game.
Throughout last season, Jazz coach Quin Snyder discussed the revelation he had during the 2020 NBA playoffs in the Orlando bubble when without Bojan Bogdanovic, the team’s best shooter, the Jazz had to be willing to have a quicker trigger from the three-point line to make up star shooters absence.
The experiment worked so well that Snyder carried over the practice into the regular season where the Jazz hit the ground running.
The Jazz opened the season with 19 made threes against Portland on the road, and never looked back. The team connected on double-digit three-pointers, and would have skated past the Houston Rockets record of 1,323 made threes in a single season had the league not shorted the NBA season by 10 games in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now the question comes, can the Jazz do it again?
The Jazz three-point shooting was fueled by having six key rotation players who had a success rate of at least 38 percent or better.
Royce O’Neale, Donovan Mitchell, and Bojan Bogdanovic each shot between 38-39 percent, while Mike Conley, Georges Niang, and Joe Ingles shooting better than 40 percent.
Perhaps even more impressively, four of those players averaged at least six three-point attempts per game.
The first question facing the Jazz is how they plan to replace Niang’s shooting after the forward left Utah for Philadelphia. In his place, the Jazz added the more veteran Rudy Gay who has a healthy 35 percent career three-point shooting percentage but has only broken the 40 percent mark once.
Furthermore, Gay shoots the three less than half as often as Niang has during his career. While Niang had his deficiencies on the floor, his three-point shooting wasn’t one of them.
The next biggest question will be the continued success rate of Ingles, Mitchell, and Conley, each of whom set career-highs for three-point shooting.
Ingles saw the most dramatic leap climbing from just under 40 percent two seasons ago to 45 percent last year. Mitchell’s shooting increased by two percent, while Conley’s increased by four points.
Should those numbers fall back to their career averages, without the services of Niang, the Jazz could see a drop in their overall efficiency.
On the flipside, Bogdanovic dropped two percentage points last season after shooting 41 percent during his first season in Utah. He also shot fewer threes. With a healthier wrist and a late return to form last season, Bogdanovic could once again become one of the NBA’s deadliest three-point shooters.
Newcomer Eric Paschall saw his three-point shooting jump to 33 percent last season in Golden State, a number the Jazz would like to see continue to grow. Meanwhile, rookie Jared Butler was one of the best shooters in the draft knocking down 41 percent of his three-point attempts at Baylor last season on a healthy 6.2 attempts.
Though Jordan Clarkson has earned the nickname “Flamethrower” due to his ability to scorch the nets, the guard shot just 34 percent from three last year, a dip from his previous two seasons, and another area where the Jazz could see improvement.
After finishing with the league’s fourth-best offensive rating and the best overall net rating, Snyder and the Jazz will surely return to their aggressive three-point attack. The question is, can they continue to pour it in from deep like they did last season.
With just 32 days left until opening night, the Jazz three-point shooting is one of the top 50 storylines for fans to keep an eye on.