Could Blake Griffin become an above average 3-point shooter?

DENVER, CO - MARCH 15: Blake Griffin
DENVER, CO - MARCH 15: Blake Griffin /

Blake Griffin has improved his entire game, but most importantly, his 3-point shot. Is it possible for him to shoot over 36 percent from deep? Ku Khahil analyzes the possibilities.

To many casual fans, Blake Griffin is just known for vertical ability and eliminating Timothy Mozgov from the universe.

However, Griffin has taken pride in expanding his game, and becoming more of a complete player as approaches three decades on this earth.

The NBA has moved into a space game, where launching up a trillion threes on a nightly basis is the way to go. Griffin knows this, and has added the long ball to his arsenal the past couple of seasons.

In 25 games with the Detroit Pistons last year, Griffin shot 34.8 percent from three on 5.4 attempts a game. He did heat up as from long range as he got more comfortable with the team, however.

Rounding up, he was approximately a 35 percent 3-point shooter. That’s okay, but there’s reason to believe that Griffin could push more towards 37 percent this year.

For many who watched Blake Griffin when he first arrived in Detroit, there was an obvious difference between his assertiveness and hesitancy.

Take, for example, his first few games as a Piston, compared to those towards the end of the season once he got comfortable.

In his first 10 games with Detroit, Griffin shot 28 percent from three on 5.9 attempts per game. That’s some pretty poor shooting, especially when you consider how many he was taking.

In his next, and final, 15 games of the year, Griffin improved dramatically. He easily looked more in sync with his teammates, and shot 39.5 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 5.1 attempts.

Now, this simply could’ve been a hot streak. Looking at the numbers alone, you’d probably come to conclusion that he’s somewhere in the middle of those percentages.

However, the point made earlier holds more water in this case.

Griffin’s shooting can be improved, and pushed to north of 36 percent, if he was just more assertive with his shot selection.

Many Pistons’ fans saw this potential, and the statistics back it up.

When Griffin took zero dribbles, he shot 36.3 percent from long range on 3.3 attempts a game. Compare that to his catch-and-shoot threes, where he shot 35.6 percent from deep on an average of three attempts.

Griffin has a great handle, and is capable of putting moves together to create a shot. The problem though is the over-dribbling, and what sometimes seems as if he’s questioning what to do.

For example, when putting the ball on the floor twice, Griffin shot 40 percent from deep. That’s a great percentage.

However, when taking between three and six dribbles, the percentage drops dramatically to 31.1 percent. It gets worse when he dribbles seven or more times, shooting just 27.8 percent.

The major problem here is that Griffin shoots more threes off of 3-plus dribbles than he does two dribbles or less, where he shoots 40 percent.

Griffin attempts 0.5 triples a game when taking two or less dribbles. Compare that to him taking 0.8 attempts a game when using more than two dribbles.

When you’re assertive with your moves, it shouldn’t take more than two or three dribbles. The numbers back up the notion that when Griffin knows what he wants to do, and doesn’t hesitate, he’s quite successful.

Let’s take a look.

When Blake Griffin is shooting what’s called an “open shot”, he shoots 35.3 percent on 2.4 attempts a game.

When he shoots what is called a “wide-open shot”, he shoots 36 percent on 2.9 attempts a game.

The difference between a “wide-open shot” and a “open shot” is, of course, the nearest defender. An “open shot” means that the closest defender is four to six feet away. A “wide-open shot” is anywhere over six feet from the nearest defender.

Griffin shoots a good percentage here, but once again, there’s a downfall.

When holding the ball for less than two seconds, he shot 34.4 percent from deep on 3.4 attempts. When he had the ball from anywhere between two and six seconds, he shot a much-improved 38.8 percent on 1.7 attempts a game.  When he holds it any longer than six seconds, he shoots a putrid 21.4 percent on 0.5 attempts a game.

Looking at these attempts, some may think, “Well Ku, that’s not that many attempts of bad shot selection.” Yes, in fact, it is.

Shooting 0.5 attempts compared to 0.8 attempts a game can swing a player’s percentage from 35 percent to around 37 or better.

The point of all this is not to say, “Hey Blake, once you take two dribbles, pick up the ball and pass!”

Like I said earlier, the power forward possesses a great handle, and is capable of making a move to create his own shot. No one is saying you should never exceed two dribbles. But just be assertive with your move, and take what the defense gives you.

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Cut out the long, over-dribbling ISO’s, and just take the three when the defense gives you the option.

Griffin is an even better shooter than his 34.5 percent season average says he is.

Eliminate the bad, long-range shots, replace them with the field-goal attempts he can make, and we could see Blake Griffin shoot over 36 percent from three this year.