Former Toronto Raptors guard Dell Curry, the ultimate pure shooter, played 16 seasons in the NBA from 1986-2002. (Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com)
The storyline for the Toronto Raptors has shifted to their summer plans as the team quietly plays out the remaining 11 games in yet another disappointing season.
Currently ranked 22nd in field goal percentage (44.2 percent), the Raptors will join a long line of teams hoping to upgrade their roster with a pure shooter.
I wish I could tell Raptors fans that Dell Curry, the best pure shooter in team history, will come out of retirement and be 20 years younger–but since that is clearly impossible, here is a profile of five players who could legitimately improve the Raptors’ offense next season.
Kyle Korver, Forward-Guard, Atlanta Hawks
Playing in the final year of a three-year, $15 million deal, Korver, 32, is second in the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 45.6 percent.
For his career, Korver has hit 1,305 3-pointers in 730 games at rate of 41.9 percent. This season, in which Korver is fourth in total 3-point field goal conversions, he has managed to shoot 45.5 percent overall–his best mark since 2009-10 with the Utah Jazz.
Korver connected on a NBA-record 53.6 percent from behind the arc in that season with the Jazz, but he was limited to 52 games.
Korver, who is averaging 11 points per game this season, also has as a solid mid-range game, connecting on nearly 47 percent of his shots between 15 and 24 feet from the basket.
The downside is that Korver is injury prone, having missed 20 games on average per season over his 12-year career.
Randy Foye, Guard, Utah Jazz
Randy Foye, 29, is playing this season on a one-year, $2.5 million contract, averaging 10.7 points per contest.
To this point in the 2012-13 season, Foye has knocked down a career-high 151 3-pointers at a respectable rate of 40.8 percent.
Although Foye is shooting just 39.7 percent overall, his effective field goal percentage is an impressive 58.3 percent in the 20-24 foot range and 57.5 percent from 25-29 feet.
On Jan. 11, Foye went 6-for-7 from beyond the arc and tallied 25 points in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks and earlier in the season, he poured in 28 points on 5-for-9 shooting from 3-point range in a narrow 116-114 defeat by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Foye would be a suitable replacement if the Raptors and guard Alan Anderson, who is averaging 11.6 points per game on 38.7 percent shooting, cannot agree on a new contract this summer.
James Jones, Guard-Forward, Miami Heat
James Jones is averaging only 3.8 minutes per game this season. (Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com)
James Jones, 32, has a player option on his contract for next season that would pay him $1.76 million.
Winner of the 3-Point Shootout at the 2010-11 All-Star weekend, Jones established career-highs in 3-point attempts (287) and makes (123) in that year before a considerable dip in minutes played over the following two seasons.
Jones would benefit from a change of scenery and would have a defined role as a shooting specialist off the bench for the Raptors.
J.J. Redick, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Acquired by the Milwaukee Bucks from the Orlando Magic to bolster perimeter shooting for the playoff push and post-season, J.J. Redick, 28, is in the final year of a 3-year, $20.1 million contract.
With Redick there is no secret that the Raptors would be getting a player who loves to hoist up 3-point shots – to the tune of 51.1 percent of his overall field goal attempts this season.
Redick has established a new career high in 3-point makes in 2012-13 (143), which partly explains a roughly 2 percent dip from his average 3-point shooting percentage of 39.4 over nine seasons.
Redick was actually keeping pace with his career average until his 3-point field goal percentage plummeted to 31.7 percent in 16 games since being dealt to the Bucks.
J.J. Redick has made a career out of draining 3-point baskets. (Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com)
A shooter such as Redick benefits from a team system that is able to spread the floor and create open perimeter shots through offensive schemes such as draws-and-kicks, the attracting of double-teams in the post and timely ball movement–like it was in Orlando (prior to this season) with Dwight Howard at the center position.
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry is capable of getting the ball to open shooters and forward Rudy Gay can attract multiple defenders, so it may hinge on whether they have a center that can keep his defender close to the basket to create the space that Redick needs to operate.
O.J. Mayo, Guard, Dallas Mavericks
O.J. Mayo, 25, can opt out of a contract that would pay him $4.2 million in 2013-14.
Mayo, second on the team in scoring at 16.4 points per game, has started in all 71 games for the Mavericks this season and has been a major factor in their recent push for a playoff spot.
His level of accuracy from the field this season (46.2 percent) is impressive because he is also leading the team in minutes played and field-goal attempts.
Mayo certainly does not shy away from shooting 3-pointers (he has launched 310), but he has found the basket 129 times at a rate of 41.6 percent.
If Mayo decides to test the free-agent market, he would be the most expensive option on this list and would be the only player here to command a spot in the Raptors’ starting five.
With DeMar DeRozan and Gay already occupying the 2 and 3 spots, there is little reason to believe the Raptors would go after Mayo either in free agency or via trade. However, if the Raptors decide to shake up the roster and move DeRozan, then Mayo would be an ideal replacement.