It’s no secret the NBA has become a 3-point league. This trend started back with Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni with the Suns back in the day and has grown tremendously with the Splash Brothers in Golden State and now D’Antoni and James Harden in Houston. Even Brook Lopez has started to heave up a ton of threes every game. The Pacers, on the other hand, have yet to adapt in this area of the modern game.
In the 2018-19 regular season, the Pacers shot the second least three-pointers per game at 25.4. For reference, the Houston Rockets shot almost twice that number at 45.4. And what is most shocking about this small number for the Indiana Pacers is that they shoot the three tremendously well. The Pacers finished fifth in the NBA in three point percentage at 37.4%.
Look at the Pacers roster. Out of the players that average the top 10 most minutes per game for the team, the only player who isn’t a capable shooter from beyond the arc is Domantas Sabonis. Even the Pacers’ other two bigs- Myles Turner and Thad Young- shoot it pretty well from deep. In addition, the Pacers have three of the NBA’s top 15 shooters in terms of 3P% in Bojan Bogdanovich, Darren Collison, and Doug McDermott.
For evidence of how effective the three-ball can be, just look at the Milwaukee Bucks. In 2017-18 the Bucks shot just 24.7 threes per game and finished 44-38 which put them at seventh in the East. In 2018-19, however, the Bucks decided to vamp up their shooting from deep with 38.2 per game (second most in the NBA) and finished 60-22 which put them at first in the East. Sure there were other major factors (like the massive step up Giannis has taken and the development of his supporting cast), but this jump in three pointers and wins for the Bucks is no coincidence.
Any team that doesn’t join this three point trend is living in an outdated NBA and is only harming themselves. I love Nate McMillan, but one thing I need to see out of him is the ability to adapt. Hopefully, he and his staff will make some changes to their strategy with the three-point shot this offseason.