The constant beef with the Wizards last regular season involved their lack of nightly 3-point shot attempts in the current bombs away era.
The logical pushback noted the lack of viable perimeter shooters on the roster led to fewer attempts. Washington finished ninth in 3-point percentage (36.0), but 27th in attempts (16.8).
Things changed in the playoffs when the small ball lineup with Paul Pierce at power forward - a look coach Randy Wittman passed on during the regular season because he didn't want the 37-year-old dealing with the extra pounding - took the court. Drew Gooden remaining in the rotation over Kris Humphries also played a factor.
Washington took 6.5 more 3-pointers per game (23.3) in the playoffs. Yet even with uptick in 3-point tries, the Wizards still lagged behind most playoff teams in part because of the overall dearth of outside options. They shot a playoff-best 40% from deep, but ranked 12th among 16 playoff teams in attempts even with Pierce and Bradley Beal launching at will.
The Wizards added four players to the roster this offseason: Veterans Jared Dudley (38.5% career 3-point shooter), Gary Neal (38.1) and Alan Anderson (34.6) along with first round pick Kelly Oubre Jr. All are 3-point threats (Oubre is the shakiest simply because the NBA line is deeper than college arc, but he sank 36% at Kansas). In theory, only the rookie doesn't figure to be part of the rotation most nights.
Before looking ahead, here's a look at last season's primary 10-11 man rotation plus additional backups:
Starters: Nene, Paul Pierce, Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal, John Wall
Reserves: Kris Humphries, Otto Porter, Kevin Seraphin, Rasual Butler, Ramon Sessions
Next up: Drew Gooden, Garrett Temple
Next, next up: Martell Webster, DeJuan Blair, Will Bynum
Of the top 10, only Beal (team-high 40.9%), Pierce and Butler qualified as true 3-point shooters, in that they're quality enough shooters to design plays for and will put fear in defenses if left alone.
However, Butler departed from such classification over the majority of the second half of the season. Wall attempted the fourth most on the team (2.7), but only sank a paltry 30% of those tries. Porter improved in the playoffs, but still isn't a knockdown shooter yet. Sessions showed a consistent touch with the Wizards, but not historically.
Ultimately that gave coach Randy Wittman 3-5 deep threats on good nights (remember they also must play defense so playing time isn't just about shooting).
Now look at the upcoming season's projected regular season rotation:
Starters: Nene, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal, John Wall
Reserves: Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson, Kris Humphries, Gary Neal, Ramon Sessions, Drew Gooden
Next up: Garrett Temple
Next, next up: Martell Webster, DeJuan Blair, Kelly Oubre Jr.
Really only Nene, Gortat and possibly Humphries are complete non-deep threats. If we assume Porter's shooting improvement continues entering his third season, that means six of the top 11 are legitimate 3-point options. That doesn't account for Sessions and Wall; the possibility that Humphries extended the length of his shot to beyond the arc; Temple (37.5% last season); or that Webster's balky back improves.
Nene remains the assumed starter until someone in authority says otherwise. However, the presence of Dudley, seven years younger than Pierce, means Wittman can use a stretch-4 look more often in season.
That Gooden is the de facto fourth true big man over Seraphin means another deep threat in the regular mix, though the 34-year-old will likely once again be a spot player during the regular season.
Gooden, the best 3-point threat among the big men, didn't truly join the rotation until Humphries' late season injury. He then never left. His presence at stretch-4 along with Pierce changed the look.
The addition of Dudley, Neal an Anderson will change the look as well, certainly for 82 regular season games.
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