The Utah Jazz have someone really special in second year guard Rodney Hood. While we've looked at him quite a bit this season, I don't think we've praised him enough for his on-court risk taking and performance. The degree of difficulty in his shooting is both high, as he takes so many of his shots from distance, but also masked by the eye-ball test because his shooting stroke, and history for absolutely torching the net, make you think that he'll never miss another shot. He's young, and thus unreliable at times. But when he's on he is like a left-handed Alan Houston. (And that's not a stupid comparison to make, either.) What he is for the Utah Jazz this season is a less polished mirror to pair with Gordon Hayward. Both are triple-threat swingmen who can spot up, drive, pass, and finish over a number of different ranges on the court. Where Hayward is competitive, Hood is a genius.
Rodney is doing something no one in Jazz history has ever done, and this could be just scratching the surface of his genius. He is shooting more threes per game this season than every other player in franchise history. Sure, historically there have been a number of players who have regularly shot the long-ball for this franchise: Bryon Russell, C.J. Miles, Chris Morris, Chris Johnson, Dante Exum, Darrell Griffith, Deron Williams, Devin Harris (air balls aside), Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, Marvin Williams, Mehmet Okur, Mo Williams, Raja Bell, Randy Foye, Richard Jefferson, Shelvin Mack, and Trey Burke. All of these guys rank in the top 40 for single season three-point attempts per game, in a Jazz jersey. Some were bigtime shooters accros the board, others were specifically bombers from deep. Some played in every game, others were only on the court for a handful. But one thing unites them all -- they are looking up at Rodney Hood's 2015-2016 season so far.
There are 40 different instances of a player shooting a lot of threes per game, and they are spread out over 19 different players. They span time from 1983-1984 season to the present day. It's a grand total of 29,993 field goals attempted, with 32.5% of them coming from downtown. (Ordered by most to least for each threshold)
- 2.81 to 2.99 Threes a game: Morris ('96), Russell ('01), Russell ('99), Okur ('10), Okur ('06), Bell ('11), Okur ('09)
- 3.00 to 3.49 Threes a game: Miles ('10), Russell ('02), Korver ('09), Hayward ('13), D.Williams ('10), Hood ('15), Harris ('12), Mau.Williams ('13), D.Williams ('09), Griffith ('85), Russell ('00), Exum ('15), D.Williams ('07), Johnson ('15), Mack ('16), Griffith ('84)
- 3.50 to 3.99 Threes a game: Korver ('08), Jefferson ('14), Hayward ('14), Mar.Williams ('14)
- 4.00 to 4.49 Threes a game: Miles ('11), Hayward ('15), Okur ('07), Harris ('11), Okur ('08), Burke ('16)
- 4.50 to 4.99 Threes a game: D.Williams ('11), Burke ('14)
- 5.00 to 5.49 Threes a game: Hood ('16), Foye ('13), Burke ('15), Hayward ('16)
(N.B. Why 2.81 to 2.99 instead of 2.50 to 2.99? Well, Then the data set would be larger than just the Top 40 sharpest shooting Jazz seasons, or whatever the title of this article should be. Either I can go for a nicer data set in terms of N value, or a nicer data set in terms of raw scores used. Rarely both.) (Watch this be the first and only time I could achieve both, with say a Top 65 or something list that works out perfectly . . . )
Why makes Hood so Good here? Well, he's a few more three pointers off from averaging 5.5 threes a game. That would be a franchise first, and while he is leading this category All-Time already this season, 5.50 threes a game looks a lot nicer than 5.42 threes a game. As it stands there have only been 90 different NBA players who have had a season where they average at least 10.0 FGA per game and 5.5 3PTA per game. (Via. Basketball-Reference.com) Hood would make it 91 and join the following bombers:
- Ray Allen (9x)
- Peja Stojakovic (8x)
- J.R. Smith (7x)
- Gilbert Arenas / Jamal Crawford / Baron Davis (6x)
- Nick Anderson / Rashard Lewis / Reggie Miller (5x)
- Ryan Anderson / Trevor Ariza / Stephen Curry / Tim Hardaway / James Harden / Damian Lillard / Wesley Matthews / Vernon Maxwell / Jason Richardson / Klay Thompson (x4)
- Raja Bell / Mookie Blaylock / Kobe Bryant / Kevin Durant / Paul George / Brandon Jennings / Kyle Lowry / Tracy McGrady / J.J. Redick / Dennis Scott / Jason Terry / Antoine Walker / Jason Williams (x3)
- And 58 other dudes
Getting it done once doesn't make you Larry Bird, or anything. But it's a start. More impressive, it's a great start for a second year player to have this level of offensive distance taking on his resume. If you look back at the Jazz, this season Hood is shooting 45% of all of his FGA as 3PTA, just like last season. The only more specialized Jazzmen *ever* have been Dante going for 63% of all FGA as 3PTA, Christapher shooting 59% in '15, Randy shooting 59% in '13, Kyle shooting 54% in '08, Kyle shooting 54% in '09, and Dick shooting 46% in '14. Unlike those guys who shoot a higher percentage of their FGA as 3PTA than Rodney, NONE of them actually shot the ball a lot. This season Hood is shooting the ball 12.09 times a game from the field. Guys like Exum and Korver actually pass up shots; and out of the rest only Foye shot the ball over 8 times a game.
Hood shooting 45% of his 12 shots a game from deep is mind blowing -- even moreso when you recognize that he's getting to the line 2.81 times a game this season. Of these 40 individual seasons (the Top 40 most 3PTA per game average seasons), only 13 times has a player gone for 10+ FGA/G, 3+ 3PTA/G, and 3+ FTA/G. B-Russ did it once in 2000, Griffith once in 1985, D-Will four times (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011), G-Time four times as well (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016), with Memo filling in the rear by doing it twice (2007, 2008), while barely missing out three other times as well (2.92 3PTA in 2010, 2.85 3PTA in 2006, 2.81 3PTA in 2009).
Hood may have a near miss season this year if he doesn't get to the free throw line more per game, but it doesn't diminish the accomplishment of being a threat to score frequently during the game (12.09 FGA), from deep (5.42 3PTA), and moving to the basket (2.81 FTA). But with Rodney it's not JUST about shot taking. Not at all. Kid is a killer when his shot is on, and we've seen him be 'on' plenty of times this year.
Yes, he's streaky, and it all averages out to 1.21 PPS (average for the NBA over the last 15 seasons). But out of Jazzmen who actually shoot the ball frequently (min = 10.0 FGA/G, 2.81 3PTA/G) his shooting splits for 2015-2016 are 5th best all-time!
- Mehmet Okur (2008-09): 17.01 ppg 12.33 fga, 49 / 45 / 82 shooting
- Mo Williams (2012-13): 12.87 ppg, 11.59 fga, 43 / 38 / 88 shooting
- Gordon Hayward (2012-13): 14.13 ppg, 10.74 fga, 43 / 41 / 82 shooting
- Mehmet Okur (2009-10): 13.53 ppg, 10.62 fga, 46 / 38 / 82 shooting
- Rodney Hood (2015-16): 14.69 ppg, 12.09 fga, 42 / 37 / 87 shooting
- Deron Williams (2009-10): 18.67 ppg, 13.38 fga, 47 / 37 / 80 shooting
- Mehmet Okur (2007-08): 14.54 ppg, 11.68 fga, 44 / 39 / 80 shooting
- Deron Williams (2008-09): 19.44 ppg, 14.47 fga, 47 / 31 / 85 shooting
- Gordon Hayward (2015-16): 20.12 ppg, 15.15 fga, 43 / 36 / 83 shooting
- Gordon Hayward (2014-15): 19.25 ppg, 14.30 fga, 45 / 36 / 81 shooting
The FG% of his shooting splits is the worst of that group, but again, no one takes more threes per game than he does. And before we get too far, I know. Jeff Hornacek was/is/will always be awesome. Had he played in today's era he would have been even more deadly. But the most he's ever shot from deep for a season was 3.2 threes a game, back when he was playing with the Philadelphia 76ers. You know, back when he was planning his family around having a baby during the playoffs because he expected to be on his vacation then. In a Jazz uniform (7 seasons) he AVERAGED 14.4 ppg, 10.4 fga, and had shooting splits of 49 / 43 / 90. That's a very hard act to follow, and he only shot 2.1 times a game from deep. I'm not saying that Hood is comparable to Horny in terms of making ability. But I am also saying that this season Hood is shooting twice as many threes a game than Horny did.
I will say that Horny's best Jazz season had him averaging 16.5 ppg off of 11.6 fga, while taking 2.7 3pta and shooting 51 / 41 / 88. And seriously? That's just too good.
The elusive 50 / 40 / 90 club has few members. I don't think Hood will ever get there because he takes too many hard shots. But for a guy in just his second season, he's doing things no other Jazzman has ever done before. Even if he's not the pure shooter at SG we've gone to the NBA Finals with, he's someone who deserves praise. And we all know that he's only going to get better and better and better as he gets more experience.
Kid is going to be a killer.
And he'll be one like no other in Jazz history.