You’d be hard-pressed to find a team that doesn’t need more shooting. It seems like that’s the one skill that is guaranteed to get you paid in today’s NBA. Just ask Joe Harris and his 4 year/$75 million contract. A lot of people were skeptical about paying a shooting specialist that much, but Harris’ current level of performance makes it seem like a bargain.
If a guy is shooting over 37% from three, the coaching staff will encourage him to take a few extra shots a game. Over 40%? That’s crazy efficient, and he has the go-ahead to launch a few more. What about 50%? In the NBA’s entire history, a player has shot over 50% from behind the arc only eight times (on volume that qualified them for the leaderboard.)
|Season||Player||3s Made||3s Taken||3pt %|
The Nets played half their game for this season, and Joe Harris has already made approximately as many threes as the other guys on the board did in a season. That speaks to the change the league has gone through with perimeter shooting. But unlike other records that suffer from shot inflation, this one is even more impressive because of it. At this pace, Harris would take almost twice more shots than everyone else on the list, and if he manages to remain above 50%, it would be insane.
Almost every guy on that list was a tremendous shooter who had the fortune of playing on a really strong team. No-one is surprised Harris is getting a lot of great open looks. Teams have enough problems deciding who they are leaving open from the Durant-Harden-Irving triumvirate.
While a part of his great shooting season should be credited to the superstars around him, it’s still mostly Harris’ credit and an amazing achievement so far. Even if he finished above 50% for the season, Harris probably wouldn’t make our “best shooters ever” list. There’s a difference when you’re the no.1 guy or the one who takes the last shot and makes it a la Steph Curry, Reggie Miller, or Ray Allen.
But as we move on with this trend, a new paradigm is developing in team building and the demand for shooting. Wanna make money in the NBA? Hire a shooting coach. It’s a skill that’s only going up in value and a skill that ages really well.