This year's free agent class might lack star power, but it certainly doesn't lack shooters.
As I wrote around this time last year, there are different levels to being a good shooter in the NBA. For the purpose of this article, I wanted to focus primarily on 3-point shooters and players who aren't stars. That's why you won't see Brandon Ingram despite the fact that he is shooting 38.7 percent from 3-point range on decent volume this season or DeMar DeRozan despite the fact that he has long been one of the league's best midrange scorers.
Also, I approached this almost as an All-NBA Team for some variety, so you'll see two guards, two forwards and one centre. Everyone in the NBA is shooting 3s nowadays. It only seemed fair.
With that in mind, onto the list!
Fred VanVleet, G, Toronto Raptors
A big reason why the Raptors have been able to get away with starting two points guards in Kyle Lowry and VanVleet this season is because they're both knockdown shooters.
According to NBA.com, VanVleet made 43.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts entering the Orlando bubble. Of players attempting at least 2.0 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts per game this season - a group that is made up of 213 players - only 15 are making them at a higher percentage.
This season isn't an anomaly either. VanVleet has been a big catch-and-shoot threat since entering the league back in 2016-17, making over 40.0 percent of those opportunities each season.
|Season||Frequency (Percentage of total FGA)||3PM-3PA|
VanVleet has grown as a 3-point shooter off the dribble as well. His efficiency hasn't changed much since last season - he's at 32.4 percent on the season - but he's almost doubled the amount of pull-up 3s he's taking per game.
The better he gets at those shots, the higher VanVleet's ceiling is as a primary creator.
Joe Harris, G, Brooklyn Nets
Harris is one of the most accurate 3-point shooters in the league.
The 28-year-old led the NBA in 3-point percentage (.474) in 2018-19 and is among the league leaders again this season, having made 41.2 percent of his 3-point attempts. He's done so in decent volume in both seasons. Whereas he ranked 51st in 3-point attempts last season, he ranks 33rd this season.
The majority of his 3s are catch-and-shoot, but Harris is much more than a standstill shooter. According to NBA.com, he's generated 25.1 percent of his offence this season running off of screens and ranks in the 65th percentile with an average of 1.00 points per possession.
The only players scoring more points per game than him off of screens are Terrence Ross, JJ Redick and Paul George.
His comfort running off of screens means Harris covers more ground than a lot of players on a per-game basis. He's in constant motion and he's someone teams can't afford to lose sight of in the halfcourt because as soon as his defender relaxes, he's off to the races.
Danilo Gallinari, F, Oklahoma City Thunder
Any team looking for a stretch four this offseason has two strong options.
The first? Gallinari.
Gallinari has always been a solid 3-point shooter, but he's increased the volume with which he shoots 3s significantly this season. Last season with the LA Clippers, he averaged 5.5 3-point attempts per game, the second-highest mark of his career. He's shattering that this season with the Thunder to the tune of a career-best 7.3 3-point attempts per game.
For context, there are only 19 players in the league attempting more 3s per game than Gallinari. He's also making them at an impressive 40.9 percent clip.
Having a power forward who shoots 3s in volume and makes them at a high percentage provides valuable spacing on offence, spacing that is made all the more valuable by Gallinari being a versatile shooter. Not only can he spot-up, he can run off of screens and pick-and-pop.
Injuries will always be a concern with Gallinari, but it's encouraging that he's been pretty healthy over the last two seasons.
Davis Bertans, F, Washington Wizards
The other stretch four who will be a free agent this offseason? That would be Bertans.
Bertans has had a ridiculous season. There is not a single player on this list - honourable mentions included - that has taken more 3s than Bertans has this season. There isn't a single player on this - honourable mentions included again - that has knocked down those 3s at a higher percentage than Bertans either. Prior to the season's resumption at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, which Bertans won't take part in to prepare himself for free agency, he was launching 8.7 3s per game and making 42.4 percent of them.
In fact, there are only three players in NBA history who have done what Bertans has this season. Their names: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Duncan Robinson.
Bertans doesn't shoot regular 3s either. He shoots deep 3s. According to NBA.com, he made 18 of his 24 3-point attempts from 30-34 feet this season.
To be clear, that's around this range...
Yeah, Bertans can really shoot it.
Aron Baynes, C, Phoenix Suns
Two seasons ago, Baynes started experimenting with shooting 3s. Now, he's one of the best 3-point shooting centres in the league.
On the season, Baynes is up to 4.0 3-point attempts per game while making them at a respectable rate (35.1 percent). He's run a little hot and cold - he went from shooting 44.7 percent from the perimeter in November to 28.2 percent in December, for example - but he's had some absurd performances along the way.
Chief among them: Baynes going for 37 points on 9-for-14 shooting from 3-point range against the Portland Trail Blazers shortly before the season was suspended.
🔥 Baynes 37 PTS, 9 3PM 🔥@aronbaynes records career-highs in points and threes, lifting the @Suns over Portland! pic.twitter.com/q3AN8ARhEu- NBA (@NBA) March 7, 2020
There's a chance Baynes will never get that hot again, but it shouldn't take away from the fact that he's turned himself into a legitimate stretch five.
Other options for the centre spot: Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, both of whom are having the best 3-point shooting seasons of their career. The difference with Baynes? He's a little more willing to let it fly. He's jacking up 6.5 3s per 36 minutes this season compared to 4.6 for Gasol and 4.3 for Ibaka.
Evan Fournier, G, Orlando Magic - 40.6 percent from the perimeter this season. Fournier has a $17.0 million player option for next season.
Tim Hardaway Jr., G, Dallas Mavericks - 40.7 percent from the perimeter this season. Hardaway also has a player option for next season, his worth $18.9 million.
Paul Millsap, F, Denver Nuggets - Quietly canning 46.5 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s this season. Millsap will be an unrestricted free agent.
Marcus Morris, F, LA Clippers - His 3-point shooting has taken a hit with the Clippers, but Morris made 43.9 percent of his 3s with the New York Knicks at the start of the season. He'll be an unrestricted free agent.
Serge Ibaka, F/C, Toronto Raptors - Up to a career-best 39.8 percent from 3-point range. Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent.
Marc Gasol, C, Toronto Raptors - Gasol's 3-point attempt rate (.538) has skyrocketed this season, as has his percentage (40.2 percent). He'll be an unrestricted free agent.
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