NBA Standings ordered by three-point percentage: the Kings have a problem

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Last season, the Kings were the best offensive team in the NBA, posting a historically high offensive rating. There were many reasons  for that success, like their fast pace, Domantas Sabonis’ passing, and De’Aaron Fox’s ability to take over games. 

They were also a solid three-point shooting team, however. Making 36.9 percent of their 37.3 attempts per game, they comfortably sat in ninth place in the entire league. 

Two players—Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter—shot over 40 percent from three for the regular season. Harrison Barnes, Trey Lyles, and Malik Monk all shot over 35 percent. 

The threes were falling, and the Kings were winning games. In the playoffs, the team’s three-point percentage fell to 30.6 percent, though, and the Kings lost a tough seven-game series to the Warriors.

Most of the Kings had never been to the playoffs, and the Warriors are a good defensive team. Those were two simple explanations for the shooting slump, and it promised to look much improved again this season. 

The Kings even added Sasha Vezenkov, who made his living as a stretch four in Europe, and Chris Duarte, who shot 36.9 percent from three in his rookie season. Still, the slump carried over. 

Eight games in, the Kings are sitting in 27th place across the league when it comes to three-point percentage, shooting only 31.9 percent. 

Western Conference Standings ordered by three-point percentage

  1. Dallas Mavericks: 40.3%
  2. Utah Jazz: 37.7%
  3. Houston Rockets: 37.6%
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder: 37.6%
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves: 37.3%
  6. Los Angeles Clippers: 37.3%
  7. Phoenix Suns: 36.7%
  8. Denver Nuggets: 36.5%
  9. Golden State Warriors: 35.7%
  10. San Antonio Spurs: 34.2%
  11. Memphis Grizzlies: 33.3%
  12. New Orleans Pelicans: 33.2%
  13. Sacramento Kings: 31.9%
  14. Los Angeles Lakers: 31.1%
  15. Portland Trail Blazers: 30.1%

Eastern Conference Standings ordered by three-point percentage

  1. Brooklyn Nets: 38.7%
  2. Indiana Pacers: 38.7%
  3. Miami Heat: 37.3%
  4. Detroit Pistons: 36.6%
  5. Philadelphia 76ers: 36.4%
  6. Washington Wizards: 36.3%
  7. Boston Celtics: 36.1%
  8. Milwaukee Bucks: 36%
  9. Atlanta Hawks: 35..4%
  10. Chicago Bulls: 35%
  11. New York Knicks: 34.4%
  12. Toronto Raptors: 34.2%
  13. Orlando Magic: 33.1%
  14. Cleveland Cavaliers: 32.6%
  15. Charlotte Hornets: 29.6%

The Kings have a problem

So far, the Kings have not been able to rely on their outside shots. Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter, Sasha Vezenkov, and Chris Duarte are all shooting less than 33 percent from long range.

Trey Lyles hasn’t even played yet, and De’Aaron Fox, who started the season shooting 37.5 percent from three, missed the last five games. Nevertheless, they take an average of 42.4 threes, which ranks third in the league behind only the Celtics and the Mavericks.

It is tough to have offensive success if you take that many threes but can’t hit them. The Kings’ offense is built around dribble handoffs to get open threes as well as players who can stretch the floor for Sabonis, Fox, and Monk to get to work in the paint. 

That is difficult to do if the shots aren’t falling. Especially with Fox out, it was a problem. Monk was the only player who could reliably get to the rim. Everyone else settled for threes that would go in.

As a result of their shooting struggles combined with some other issues, the Kings’ offensive rating has plummeted to 108.8, which is only good for 20th in the league. Last regular season, they led the league with an offensive rating of 118.6. 

In the playoffs, it dropped to 109.3, showing a certain correlation between offensive rating and shooting struggles. If the Kings want to return to the playoffs, they have to get this under control. 

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Kevin Huerter already looks like he is finding his shot, which would be a huge boost and suggests that the Kings can get back to being a solid shooting team.