Los Angeles Lakers: Will newcomers improve the team’s 3-point shooting?

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(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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The Los Angeles Lakers have had some notable shake-ups to the roster this offseason. Will the team see improvement from 3-point range in 2020-21?

The Los Angeles Lakers have been busy since beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The franchise has been doing much more than just celebrating, however. There have been several notable additions and departures since the squad lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy on October 11th.

Key Additions: 

Dennis Schroder

Montrezl Harrell 

Marc Gasol

Wesley Matthews

Key Departures:

Danny Green

Dwight Howard

Rajon Rondo

Avery Bradley

JaVale McGee

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On paper, the Lakers will enter next season with a more talented roster, an assertion supported by the team’s NBA-best 2021 title odds on several sportsbooks. Several questions remain unanswered, however, including whether the team will be improved in an area of increasing importance in modern basketball: 3-point shooting.

Los Angeles had the third-ranked defense last season but only the 11th-ranked offense and below-average shooting was one of the main drivers of this. The Lakers shot a 21st-best 34.9 percent from three on a 23rd-most 31.6 attempts per game in the regular season. Things didn’t improve significantly in the postseason either, where the team shot a 12th-best (among 16 teams) 35.4 percent on 34.2 attempts per game.

Analyzing Key Departures

Will the Lakers improve from downtown this upcoming season? First, it’s worth quickly examining the key departures from last year’s squad.

Javale McGee/Dwight Howard: Although McGee and Howard somehow managed to shoot 3-6 and 3-5 respectively from downtown last season, the offense won’t be missing either’s long-range acumen.

Rajon Rondo: The 34-year-old veteran deserves a ton of credit for a playoff performance that included 40.0 percent 3-point shooting on 3.1 attempts per contest. This was a bit of an aberration, however, and his 32.8 percent shooting in the regular season is likely a better reflection of his capability moving forward.

Avery Bradley: Despite his team managing to win a championship without him in Orlando, Bradley is a capable shooter who would have helped the cause this season. The 30-year-old guard shot 36.4 percent from downtown in 2019-20 and hasn’t shot worse than 35.1 percent since 2012-13.

Danny Green: The 6-6 guard was much maligned by Lakers fans for his 3-point shooting in the postseason. He managed to shoot 33.9 percent in the playoffs overall, but his efficiency took a major dip after 38.3 percent and 39.1 percent showings against the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets respectively. The 33-year-old only shot 32.7 percent in the Conference Finals vs. the Denver Nuggets, following that up with only a 27.7 percent performance against Miami.

It shouldn’t be forgotten, however, that Green has been a solid shooter for a long time. He not only hit 36.7 percent from downtown in the regular season but is only one year removed from shooting 45.5 percent from three (second-best in NBA behind Joe Harris’ 47.4) with the Toronto Raptors in 2018-19. Like Bradley, Green’s shooting will be missed.