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Stat of the Week: Corner 3s

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In this edition of the Stat of the Week, I dive into the second most efficient shot in basketball and how the Nuggets can use it effectively.

NBA: Preseason-Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The success of the Corner 3 shot in basketball has been well documented over the years. Statistically speaking, it’s the second most efficient shot in basketball (following shots in the restricted area), and many teams in the NBA focus heavily on generating looks for their best corner shooters. What in the past was an overlooked location on the basketball court has now become one of the most valuable.

A great source of why the Corner 3 has taken over the NBA is Seth Partnow’s documentation a couple of years ago. He does a great job of illustrating the effect of the 3 point line in today’s NBA, especially at its edges. The below picture is a small tidbit.

Seth Partnow, Nylon Calculus

Given that the value of every shot is two points out until beyond the three point line, the Effective Field Goal percentage line in green truly emphasizes why teams heavily pursue “the Daryl Morey Model,”of emphasizing three’s and layups.

With that in mind, here are the statistics for your Denver Nuggets relating to corner 3s:

Player Corner 3 Attempts Corner 3 Percentage
Axel Toupane 40 32.5%
Kenneth Faried 1 100%
JaKarr Sampson 14 28.6%
Gary Harris 102 34.3%
Darrell Arthur 33 36.4%
Mike Miller 10 40.0%
Nikola Jokic 12 33.3%
Will Barton 45 33.3%
Danilo Gallinari 29 34.5%
Emmanuel Mudiay 18 27.8%
Jameer Nelson 11 27.3%
Jusuf Nurkic 0 N/A

I’m not encouraged when looking at this list. These are all of the players on the current iteration of the Nuggets that could possibly be playing for the team this year. Gary Harris is the only player to take above 50 shots from the corners, which is not a healthy number.

Now, the Nuggets will get back Wilson Chandler, and they will also add Jamal Murray, Juancho Hernangomez, and Malik Beasley. All have been labeled as solid shooters, and each guy, especially Chandler, utilizes the corner 3 to their advantage. A full 13 of Chandler’s attempts from beyond the arch have come from the corners, where he shoots 39.6 percent.

With the Nuggets featuring a starting lineup that includes Emmanuel Mudiay and possibly Jusuf Nurkic or Kenneth Faried, the team needs to find a way to space the floor from beyond the arc with other players. Gary Harris led the team in corner 3 attempts last year, and I would expect him to lead the team again if he’s healthy.

The real advantage would be upping the attempts of Danilo Gallinari and Nikola Jokic from the corners. Gallo averages 38.0 percent from the corners and could be a real asset from that area on higher usage, while Jokic is still improving his game and has shown the necessary touch to be lethal there.

As for the two young guards, here are college games in which I believe each was used well as a threat with the corner 3 ball.

Jamal Murray:

Malik Beasley (highlight mix):

Murray can catch and shoot or move off screens, while Beasley solely a catch and shoot guy. That being said, both guys could help improve the overall shooting from the corner for the Nuggets. Juancho Hernangomez is more of a mystery from the perimeter, but from the first three games of the preseason, he looks like more of a wing and top of the key shooter than a corner guy.


Well that wraps up this edition of the Stat of the Week. Let us know in the comments section if you’re enjoying the series and if there’s a statistic that should be explored in depth!