Sixers three-point shooting to receive boost
Change is not just apparent with the Sixers' eight new faces; the team's style of play is undergoing a renovation as well.
“We would like to be a team that has more points in the paint, more points behind three and fewer two-point field goals outside the paint,” Doug Collins said Wednesday, the third day of training camp. “Last year we were a medium range shooting team because that is what we were comfortable doing. I am hoping this year we can be a team that can shoot the ball more from distance.”
The Sixers certainly have the weapons to make that happen with the additions of Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright and Nick Young on the perimeter, complementing Andrew Bynum in the post.
“Dorell did an awesome job last year in Golden State,” Richardson said. “He broke some of the records I had there. Nick can get it going; if he hits one he can hit ten in a row and I can get it going. I think having Andrew down there, it will free him up a lot more if you put two of us or all three of us on the court. That will give him a lot of room to operate down low.”
Richardson, in his 11 years in the league, has made 1520 three-pointers, which ranks 15th all-time. In the 2007-08 season, he led the league with 243 makes from long range.
Dorell Wright is a career .365 three point shooter in his eight NBA seasons, but he has made a fraction of the three-pointers Richardson has -- just 372. In Wright’s first five seasons, he attempted a total of 55 shots from behind the arc. And then his jumper blossomed.
“When he was in Miami for six years, he was a defender and rebounder,” Collins said. “And then he really added shooting to his game which is a tremendous asset for us with his size.”
“I have been working on my shot a lot,” Wright said. “Every time I take my shots. I try to take it with a lot of confidence. Guys are finding me around the perimeter and my job is to knock them down. If I am open I am going to try and knock it down.”
Nick Young rounds out the trio as a career .378 shooter from range, making 105 and 103 threes in each of the last two seasons, respectively.
As a team, the goal is to shoot 38 percent from behind the arc, higher than the .362 Collins' squad posted in 2012, which ranked 8th among the 30 teams.
“Percentage wise I think our best three-point shooter was [Andre Iguodala], but he wasn’t a guy who was going to take a lot of them,” Collins said. “It could be that Jason Richardson takes four or five, then Dorell and Nick; so they are going to be more volume three-point shooters. If we could shoot 38 percent from three, then all of a sudden you put yourself in the upper echelon of teams.”
Last year, the Sixers averaged a combined 30 points from the foul line and three-point line per game. They ranked 25th in three-point attempts per game and were last in free throw attempts. Doug Collins believes they can improve that number by 10 points this season.
Only five teams in the league averaged a combined 40 points or more in those areas last year, so it is a lofty goal. But if Wright and Richardson are pushing each other for downtown makes, as they did a couple seasons ago, it's possible.
“I told Jason the first day I really appreciate him, because the year I led the league in threes, he was second,” Wright said. “Each and every game, if I made seven, he made six. If I made five, he made seven. I was always keeping close to what he was doing, so he made me better.”
That year, Wright made 194 threes; Richardson made five less playing two less games. Both players seem reliable to make at least 100 shots from long range. (Wright has done so each of the last two seasons and Richardson the last eight.)
The Sixers historically have not been a dominant three-point shooting team. Only 10 players in the history of the franchise have made 100 or more three pointers in a season, with Kyle Korver doing it three times. Allen Iverson, Dana Barros and Hersey Hawkins did it twice. Vernon Maxwell, Willie Burton, Jodie Meeks, Jerry Stackhouse, Trevor Ruffin and Andre Iguodala round out the group.E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org