One statistical phenomenon that’s been pointed out here before is how the best 3-point shooting teams in the NBA usually turn out to be the teams with the best records.
Last year’s top five in 3-point percentage were Golden State, Miami, Oklahoma City, New York and San Antonio.
In contrast, the worst long-range shooting teams were Minnesota, Orlando, Phoenix, Charlotte and Toronto.
Part of that is because 3-point shooting is a successful strategy. Part of it is because superstar players draw defensive attention and open up space for outside shooters to get good looks.
After a terrible start, the Bulls ended up ranking 20th in 3-point percentage last season at 35.3 percent. Still, this is an area that could use improvement. The Bulls also are not sure if Jimmy Butler is a long-term solution at shooting guard, not to mention the tenuous future of Luol Deng.
So with the 20th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, the Bulls are virtually certain to select either a shooting guard or a big man who can back up Joakim Noah.
This draft is certainly loaded with guards in the 6-foot-6 to 6-7 range, so the Bulls will have plenty of choices. Whether any of these guys can become the next Danny Green or Kyle Korver is anyone’s guess.
The Bulls like the idea of getting a long-armed defender on the perimeter, which would favor Tony Franklin, Allen Crabbe or Tony Snell on this list, since all three have wingspans in the 6-11 range.
The Bulls also want an extreme work ethic, which is tough to judge from an outside perspective. All of these guys will probably take time to develop into quality NBA shooters.
Here’s a closer look at some candidates who could be chosen with the 20th pick, in no particular order:
Tim Hardaway Jr., 6-7, Michigan:
Watching Hardaway, it’s easy to imagine him becoming another Danny Green, the near-hero of the NBA Finals for the Spurs. He’s got good shooting form, had success at a big program and should understand an NBA work ethic from his father Tim, a Chicago native and longtime star for the Warriors and Heat.
Hardaway shot just 36 percent from 3-point range last season. In comparison, Green shot .373 as a junior at North Carolina, then stayed for his senior year and improved to .418. Hardaway does not have a wide wingspan (6-7), but he is pretty good at driving to the hoop.
Tony Snell, 6-7, New Mexico:
He’s billed as a good defender and shot .390 from 3-point range as a junior. He looks a little like another Spurs star, Kawhi Leonard, but Snell has shown no signs of being a strong rebounder. Snell finished last season by hitting 22 of 39 shots from 3-point range over five games and averaged 19.8 points, then disappeared in the NCAA Tournament loss to Harvard.
Glen Rice Jr., 6-6, Rio Grande Valley Vipers:
After getting kicked off the team at Georgia Tech, Rice led the Vipers to the D-League title, averaging 29 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in the D-League finals. During the regular season, he averaged 13 points and shot .385 from 3-point range. Rice is the only player in this group to produce a 40-inch vertical leap at the draft combine. Of course, his dad was one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters.
Jamaal Franklin, 6-5, San Diego State:
Franklin’s stats tell an improbable story. He averaged 9.5 rebounds last season, an astounding total for a 6-5 guard, but shot just .280 from 3-point range. He’s billed as a fiery competitor, but was also turnover prone.
Allen Crabbe, 6-6, California:
Crabbe made news last season by getting shoved during a game by his coach, Mike Montgomery. He’s another guy with good size and a nice shooting stroke. He averaged 18.4 points as a sophomore and rebounded well, but needs work on handling the ball and creating his own shot.
Reggie Bullock, 6-7, North Carolina:
This guy has the best track record as an outside shooter among this group, hitting 43.6 percent from 3-point land last season. Defense and ballhandling are listed as liabilities.
Ricky Ledo, 6-6, Providence:
Any scouts who wanted to watch Ledo play last season had to attend a Providence practice. He was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA after bouncing between prep schools. So he was eligible to practice with the Friars, then opted to turn pro without ever playing a college game. He was billed as a talented scorer in high school, but isn’t as athletic as Hardaway, Snell or Rice.
Sergey Karasev, 6-7, BC Triumph (Russia):
This 19-year-old left-hander is smooth and skilled. He played for Russia in last year’s Olympics and has a nice all-around game. But he’s scrawny with defense and athleticism the biggest questions.
Giannis Adetokunbo, 6-9, Filathlitikos (Greece):
This guy looks like the second coming of Thabo Sefolosha, with incredibly long arms and all-around skills. But he’s still 18, and his highlight tapes look like he was competing against high school JV-caliber competition in Greece.
Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, UCLA:
Most mock drafts have him going higher, but there are red flags that might cause him to drop. In 32 games during his freshman season, Muhammad collected 0 or 1 assist in 26 of them.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.