The Corner 3 and Potential Playoff Importance

Words by Brian Gibberman of The Knicks Wall…

It’s the shortest distance valuing the greatest number of points and when you think of the game’s most complete offenses, it’s an interesting thought that a team’s ability to knock down shots from the short corner may be one of the most important keys to ultimate success. But do the numbers agree? As we take a look at the Knicks and areas of potential improvement as the trade deadline approaches, let’s dig deeper to see how effectively they’ve knocked down shots from the corners.

The average rank of the top 10 efficient offenses in the NBA based on corner threes attempted per game was 7.6.   The top offense in the NBA, the Thunder, are ranked 22nd, while the Warriors, who are the 10th best offense, rank 18th.  The eight teams in-between are all in the top 10 of corner threes attempted.

The average rank of the top 10 efficient offenses based on corner three percentage is 11.  Only five the top 10 offenses rank in the top 10 by percentage.  The top three though are the Warriors, who have the 10th best offense, followed by OKC and the Heat, who are second and third, respectively.

It needs to be noted that having an efficient offense isn’t all about shooting corner threes.  The list of players on those teams include Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, James Harden, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Stephen Curry and David Lee.

The top 10 players in PER are on the above list and not one player falls below Deron Williams at 43. These teams’ offenses are good because they have incredible offensive players on them.  That is shown by the Thunder having the best offense in the league despite being ranked 22nd in corner threes attempted. Overall, here are your individual NBA Corner 3 Shooting stats. The heat and Thunder rank on top in terms of percentage with the Knicks 18th overall. They would be much worse if not for the prowess of Steve Novak who, as of July 30th, was shooting 52%.

Denver, which has the eighth best offense in the NBA, is the only team without a player listed above.  JaVale McGee ranks 17in PER, but he only plays 18.7 minutes per game.  Their next highest player is Kenneth Faried at 48.

That being said the correlation between corner threes attempted can’t be completely ignored. It not only helps because it is one of the most efficient shots in basketball, it also normally means a shot is being taken with good ball movement. For the ball to get to the corner it has to be passed there.  We aren’t playing grade school basketball here; players don’t dribble into the corners of the court by choice.

So when a team is attempting a high number of corner threes it’s because they have a good player who draws attention plus run an offense that emphasizes ball movement and taking efficient shots.

Tommy Dee

The 2011 Dallas Mavericks, of whom many feel the Knicks have modeled themselves after, had success in the playoffs from there in 2011 taking 123 overall in just the playoffs and shooting 44%. When you add that to the success that the heat and Thunder have shown in terms of effectiveness, it would make sense for the Knicks to consider making an addition to that position if they can figure out the pieces to make it work.