If there’s one thing today’s NBA is showing—you can never have too many shooters.
Traditionally, the Charlotte Bobcats have never been an elite three-point shooting team. Coincidentally, the team’s current core is made up of players who aren’t strong jump shooters.
Last season Ben Gordon led the Bobcats with 113 makes on 38.7% shooting. Kemba Walker followed with 107 makes on a streaky 32.2%. The Bobcats top five players in minutes combined to make 175 threes on 32% shooting. With the absence of spacing and the three-point shot, possessions stalled and shot clock violations became common.
The Bobcats are hoping that the acquisition of Al Jefferson can open up their spacing. Jefferson is one of the league’s top low-post scorers and is no stranger to double teams. He’ll be paired with Cody Zeller, drafted partly due to his potential as a “stretch” power forward.
After attempting a low volume of perimeter shots in two seasons at Indiana, Zeller sported an improved jump shot in his draft workout with range out to the three-point line. He was used mostly as a low-post scorer in college, which may or may not have contributed to his shooting woes.
The Bobcats brought in a trio of low-cost shooters to experiment with. The team signed journeyman forward Anthony Tolliver to a one-year deal. Tolliver shot 34% from three last season with the Atlanta Hawks, but has had inconsistent percentages throughout his five year career.
This past week the team announced the signing of former Syracuse forward James Southerland to a non-guaranteed contract.
Southerland made 84 threes on 39.8% shooting as a senior, including a record 17 threes in the Big East Tournament. Southerland’s three-point shot became the homerun ball for the Orange in route to a Big East Tournament Championship and Final Four appearance.
Despite showing good shooting mechanics and a quick release, Southerland went undrafted. Perhaps scouts don’t believe his shooting will translate to the next level. Southerland’s three-point percentages were erratic prior to his senior year and he didn’t show much ability to do anything else when his shooting cooled.
The same holds true for Troy Daniels, who the Bobcats also signed to an unguaranteed contract this offseason. Daniels is a 6’4 guard who made over 100 three pointers as a senior at Virginia Commonwealth.
Players such as Danny Green, Anthony Morrow and Gary Neal have shown that three-point specialists can fly under the radar during the draft process. The Bobcats are hoping that at least one of the two will stick with the team for depth.
Internal improvement would also be welcomed. Walker’s shot looked much better last season and Gerald Henderson was much more confidence from long range. Additionally, Jeffery Taylor showed some promise as a catch-and-shoot threat in limited minutes.
The three-point shot likely won’t be helpful to the team this season, but going forward the Bobcats will need to emphasize it to keep up with today’s style of play.