The long ball is not falling for the Sacramento Kings yet this year, but there is a lot of time left to correct the issue.
For all the handwringing and ire pointed in the direction of head coach Luke Walton over the Sacramento Kings putrid 1-5 start, the team just flat out missing open three-pointers has been one of the biggest culprits for why they haven’t played well through six games.
With a greater sample size, the Kings are due for a statistical regression to the mean in terms of their three-point shooting efficiency.
One common misconception about the word “regression,” is that it’s only reserved for something negatively reverting back to the norm, but in fact, it can also mean something positively ascending back to a statistical norm.
At some point, these clanks should turn into makes.
Last year, the Kings shot 37.8% on three-pointers throughout the season. Through six games this year, that number is down to 32.4%. Digging a little deeper into those numbers, the Kings shot 36.5% on open threes last year (4-6 feet of distance between closest defender) compared to a dismal 27.7% this season.
On an individual basis, there are several guys that are shooting well below their career averages from three. Aside from Nemanja Bjelica, every King who averages two or more threes attempted per game is shooting below or well below their career percentage.
More specifically, guys like Dewayne Dedmon (3/17), Harrison Barnes (5/17) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (11/36) have been horrific from behind the line, despite each having prior pedigrees as solid shooters.
Of these three players, Dedmon’s struggles are the most perplexing. Last year in Atlanta, he shot 38.2% from three on a sizeable volume of more than 200 attempts. This year, Dedmon can’t buy a three. In Friday night’s win over the Jazz, Dedmon was 0-5 from three prior to hitting one with 57 seconds left in the game to a break a 97-97 tie.
Hopefully for the Kings, that make by Dedmon can propel his three-point shooting and overall play to what the team thought they were getting when they signed him to a 3 year, $40 million contract in the offseason. Once Dedmon gets more comfortable with his new team and some of these shots start to actually fall, the Kings will be a much better team.
In general, open three-point shooting is subject to a lot of variance that tends to even out as the season goes along. Just because the Kings are shooting poorly from three at this point in the season, doesn’t mean they are a team full of poor shooters.
Luke Walton deserves a lot of the vitriol he’s been receiving for the Kings slow start, but one thing worth praising him for is the number of threes the team is attempting. Last year, the Kings were fourth in the league in three-point percentage despite only being 25th in three-point frequency.
It was clear the Kings needed to shoot more threes this season.
The Kings are stocked with shooters. Now it’s time for them to start actually making their open shots.