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Live by the 3, win by the 3

This is old in Internet time, but I'm in catch-up mode.  This is from Hollinger's column last week:

2. 3-point attempts correlate with winning.
I've mentioned this before, but teams that take lots of 3s tend to win, and the more 3s they jack up the more successful they are. The idea that "real" teams don't depend on the 3 is based in the old-school mentality that the 3 is a novelty shot, a circus trick that has little to do with real basketball.

The truth is the exact opposite, though. The Celtics and Lakers last season both shot the 3 far more than the league average, as did the Spurs and Suns in 2007, and the Heat in 2006, and nearly every other quality team from the past several years -- the only low-3 teams to break through were Larry Brown's Pistons teams and the 2006 Mavericks.

For a good example, look at the Magic in the playoffs. They have actually shot better in their losses (36.8 percent) than in their wins (34.5 percent) -- but in the wins they tried 23.8 triples, and in the losses they took only 19.0. That's not an accident; it's the NBA's new reality.


Of course, you're going to have a hard time convincing Jerry Sloan about that.  Here are the Jazz winning percentages from the past 3 seasons in regards to the number of three-point attempts:

>=15 attempts per game:
78 games
45-33 - .577

That's a 47 win season.

<15 attempts per game:
168 games
109-59 - .649

That's a 53 win season.

If they take at least 20, then they're nominally better at .583 (7-5).  If they take at least 22 attempts, they're 5-2 (7.14).  That's a small sample size of course.

There's a lot of factors in there though.  Kyle Korver stated when he came here, there were zero plays drawn up specifically for a three-pointer.  So the fact that our players and coach aren't set up for a three-point shooting team plays a big part.  There are others as well I'm sure.

Compared to the rest of the league, the Jazz have been at the bottom of the pack normally when it comes to three point shooting percentage.  Here are the last three years' data for the Jazz:


They've been at the top of the league in attempts, so no one can accuse them of not using the 3 Ball.  Where they've lacked is in percentage.

We're also accustomed to seeing the Jazz get beat by the three, but we're actually in the mid to lower half of the pack when it comes to opponents' attempts and percentages.  So while there have been well-placed dagger threes by opponents, overall, the Jazz aren't bad against the three.

One more thing, here's the splits for wins and losses over the past three season for the Jazz:

2009 - 12.7 attempts per win and 15 attempts per loss.
2008 - 13.6 per win and 12.9 per loss.
2007 - 12.2 per win and 14.0 per loss.

So while it's probably in large part due to the current Jazz offense, if they're jacking up threes, they're more likely to lose a game.  That's why you won't be seeing a change in strategy from Sloan any time soon.

This could also play a big part in our offseason plans.  Don't look for a huge shakeup in the type of players we go after or trade for.