Stats don't back up Draymond's claim about Rockets' Tucker


Draymond Green made a bold proclamation Sunday night that caught the eyes of Warriors fans.

Following the Houston Rockets' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of their second-round NBA playoff series, Green said this about P.J. Tucker.

Why would Green say something like that, considering he plays with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, arguably two of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history?

Probably because Tucker lives in the corners. No, seriously. Tucker has built mansions in the corners on just about every NBA court he has played on the last few seasons.

Since joining the Rockets in 2017, Tucker has taken a whopping 719 corner 3-pointers, according to NBA.com. He's made 282 of those shots, good for a 39.2 percentage on corner 3-pointers.

During the current 2019-20 NBA playoffs, Tucker is shooting 20 of 52 (38.5 percent) on corner 3-pointers through the first eight games. In terms of attempts, the next closest are teammate Danuel House Jr. and Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, who both have taken 28 such shots.

By pure volume over the last three years, Tucker is blowing away the field. He has made it his signature shot as the Rockets try to beat opponents by taking nothing but 3-pointers or high-percentage shots close to the rim.

But when looking at Curry and Thompson's regular-season corner 3-point percentages since the beginning of the 2017-18 NBA season, the argument that Tucker is the best loses steam.

Granted, Curry and Thompson have taken far fewer attempts than Tucker and both missed either the entire 2019-20 season or most of it. But their percentages are better than Tucker's.


Curry, since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, has made 95 of 213 for 44.6 percent on corner 3-pointers.

Thompson is even better. In two full seasons, he has made 107 of 230 corner 3-pointers, good for 46.5 percent.

Of course, if Curry and Thompson took as many corner 3-pointers as Tucker does, their percentages might drop.

In terms of volume, yes, Tucker is the best. No one takes that particular shot more. But in terms percentage, he's not the best. Another argument against Tucker: During the 2019-20 regular season, six other players made at least 60 corner 3-pointers. All of them (Buddy Hield, Ben McLemore, Dorian Finney-Smith, Langston Galloway, Bojan Bogdanovic and Duncan Robinson) all finished with a better percentage. In fact, Galloway shot a remarkable 52.7 percent, making 69 of 131 corner 3-pointers. Of those six, Finney-Smith's 42.6 percentage was the lowest, more than four percentage points better than Tucker.

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Green might be a victim of recency bias, but it's hard to blame him. As we noted, Tucker has been living in the corner during the playoffs. When someone takes as many corner 3-pointers as Tucker, it's hard to remember that other players might be better at it than him.