A season ago, the Clippers were one of the greatest 3-point shooting teams of all time; at 41.1 percent from deep, L.A. was second only to the 73-win Golden State Warriors among teams who took at least 2000 threes during a season.
Now? The Clippers can’t buy a bucket. Despite leading the league in the number of open looks they get (meaning the closest defender is 4-6 feet away), much of the same roster is only canning 32.4 percent of its threes. Offense is down throughout the NBA, but to go from historically great to substantially below league average is a shooting transformation no one saw coming from the Clippers, least of all themselves.
“It’s just ugly, I can’t explain it,” Reggie Jackson said Monday after a game in which he shot 5-of-17 from the field, 2-of-7 from three. “We were just in the locker room joking like, last year, man, we felt like we were damn near, we couldn’t miss. We damn near called timeouts for teams knowing how hot we were going to get to a degree, and now we’re all just sitting there, feels like probably with our fingers crossed, just hoping one of them drops.”
There are some theories as to why the Clippers can’t get the ball to go in. Ty Lue has mentioned the team’s conditioning is still behind, and tired legs lead to missed jumpers. Paul George said there is an adjustment period with the new Wilson balls, though he is still stroking it from long distance, making 41.1 percent of his triples. The Clippers are also reportedly on fire in practices, per Jackson, with the same Wilson balls, so presumably something else is amok.
Lue said his players were laughing on the bench during the first half against OKC when they went 15-of-50 from the field and 3-of-21 from three, in disbelief at the type of shots they were missing. Jackson joked that the Clippers needed to change the baskets or loosen the screws, but rookie Brandon Boston Jr. told his veteran to stop being so cruel to the basket, and “she’ll be good to you”.
Whatever the problem is, rest assured the Clippers are going to shoot their way through it. The team was constructed to generate offense from the perimeter, and they’re happy with the looks they’re getting. As George said postgame, “this is the worst that we can shoot”. The bricks can’t last forever.
More news for Tuesday:
- The Undefeated dove into the historical details of this year’s City Edition jerseys.
- Ricky O’Donnell ranked all 30 looks, and the Clippers fared pretty well!
- Alternately, Dan Favale listed his 10 biggest disappointments of the season so far, and the Clippers showed up on that list.
- Lou Williams says this is probably his last season in the NBA.
- Fellow former Clipper JJ Redick, who retired this offseason, will be joining ESPN as an analyst.
- Rob Mahoney has a fun feature about LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets, who come to Los Angeles on Sunday.