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Byron Scott wants Lakers to shoot absurdly low numbers of 3-pointers per game

Byron Scott

Byron Scott


Noted Mike D’Antoni hater Magic Johnson said he never wanted to see the Lakers shoot another 3-pointer.

Lakers coach Byron Scott – whom Johnson endorsed for the job both himself and through the late Jerry Buss – won’t go that far.

But he’s offering a compromise.

Scott, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

“Our game plan is really to get to that basket,” said Scott after practice Tuesday. “I like the fact that we only shot 10 threes. If we shoot between 10 and 15, I think that’s a good mixture of getting to that basket and shooting threes.

“I don’t want us to be coming down, forcing up a bunch of threes. I really want us to attack the basket.”

NBA teams have averaged more than 15 3-pointers per game for each season in the last decade. In the last two years, only the Grizzlies have a season with fewer than 15 3-pointers per game.

Scott’s last seven teams, including a year in New Orleans he was fired during the season, have attempted more than 15 3-pointers per game.

What makes these Lakers so different? They have several players who made a solid clip of their outside shots last year:

  • Wayne Ellington – 42%
  • Nick Young – 39%
  • Wesley Johnson – 37%
  • Jeremy Lin – 36%
  • Xavier Henry – 35%
  • Ryan Kelly – 34%

That list includes neither Kobe Bryant (career 34 percent 3-point shooting) nor Steve Nash (career 43 percent 3-point shooting), both of whom missed most of last season due to injury. Kobe and Nash seem healthier now.

Simply, NBA teams have increasingly recognized they should shoot a healthy number of 3-pointers (i.e., more than 15 per game) to get efficient points and space the floor. Maybe some teams should buck the trend, but the Lakers aren’t one. They have enough solid 3-point shooters to threaten from beyond the arc.

If this is Scott’s shorthand way of saying he wants more shots at the rim, great. Shots are the rim are good.

But there’s a large area between the 3-point arc and the restricted area. Taking fewer 3-pointers won’t necessarily lead to more shots at the rim. It might just create more inefficient long 2s.

By focusing on reducing 3s rather than increasing shots at the rim, Scott risks his message – if it is in fact the right one – getting lost.

I get it. The Lakers don’t like D’Antoni. But if they keep trying to prove he was wrong about everything, they’re only going to spite themselves.