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Rasheed Wallace and Historically Bad Three-Point Shooting Seasons

 

I’m going to be honest: I knew Rasheed Wallace was having a poor three-point shooting season, that any sub-30 percent mark from deep was pretty awful.

But I didn’t know it was this bad. Sheed isn’t having the all-time worst three-point shooting season, but he’s in the discussion.

Sheed has jacked 245 three-pointers, which puts him on pace for about 345 attempts for the season at a rate of 6.8 attempts per 36 minutes of play. He is shooting 28.5 percent.

Let me preface the rest of this post by saying three things:

1) In public comments, Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have (mostly) said that Sheed has the green light to shoot when he’s open;

2)  His ability to shoot threes, even if he doesn’t make them, drags a big man away from the hoop and opens up the lane. You can see this during games.

3) Sheed’s per-minute total is high (by any standard), but it’s actually down considerably from where it was after 20 games or so.

But: Since the NBA introduced the three-point line in ’79-80, only 11 players have attempted more than 300 three-pointers and hit fewer than 30 percent of them in a season. Two guys have done it twice—Jason Williams (the one that is shooting 46 percent from deep for the Magic right now) and our very own Antoine Walker. (‘Toine pulled this trick off for Miami in 2007 and Dallas in 2004).

Paul Pierce also makes the list, by the way. He hit just 29.9 percent of 384 three-pointers in ’04. He’s shooting 46 percent from deep this season, and you wonder how much of that improvement is due to actually being a better shooter and how much is due to having better teammates and learning to be a smarter shooter.

The full list (from worst percentage at the top to best at the bottom):


Back to Sheed. Most of the 11 guys on the above-mentioned list were starters playing heavy minutes. Sheed is a bench guy getting mid-level run and jacking threes at the high rate of 6.8 per 36 minutes. To put that in perspective, Ray Allen has attempted threes at that per-36 rate just three times in 14 seasons. Antoine Walker surpassed it just once.

So I decided to look at the players who have attempted threes at Sheed’s prodigious per-minute rate (at least 6.0 per 36 minutes) while making fewer than 30 percent of them (minimum: 250 attempts).

This list includes only four names:

Oh, Toine. You never really learned. It somehow makes you more lovable.

And Michael Adams: Stop shooting! But these were the Paul Westhead Nuggets of ’90-91, so you can almost forgive Adams for attempting an astronomical number of threes even though he hit just 29.6 percent of them. It was part of the team’s run-and-gun philosophy.

As poorly as Sheed is shooting, it will be hard to top the two seasons that really stand out here as arguably the worst three-point shooting seasons in NBA history: Antoine Walker’s ’07 season in Miami and Jason Williams’ ’00 season in Sacramento. As you can see, Toine tossed up 6.0 threes per 36 minutes and made just 27.5 percent of them. That’s beyond awful.

J-Will, though—wow. Dude jacked more than 500 threes in ’00! Ray Allen has only attempted that many four times in his career!

In any case, it’s obviously not news that Sheed is having a poor shooting season from deep. Danny Ainge has said he brought Sheed here in hopes that he would hit about 35 percent of his threes—a mark he hovered around in each of his last four seasons in Detroit.

So we can listen all we want when people talk about all the side benefits Sheed’s perimeter range creates. The fact remains: Very few players in NBA history have shot threes as poorly and as often as Sheed has so far this season. He needs to improve. Now. Or stop shooting them so often.

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  • jonathan

    How does Sheed’s rate compare with the other players on the list when considering the extremely slow pace the Celtics play at? As you mention with Adams’ shooting being a partly derivative from the Nuggets offensive philosophy during those years, I bet that if you consider Sheed’s chucking as a percentage of offensive possessions the numbers are even worse that they already look.

  • Rocci

    I’m sorry, because this is barely related, but I couldn’t help but notice that Mookie Blaylock’s #1 on that first list. I used to love Mookie because of all the steals he’d rack up.

    He was one of my role models back when I was playing middle school basketball. I had no offensive game, but I’d always match myself up on the other team’s best player because I loved playing good D – and Mookie was proof that it was cool to be a defensive phenom.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I always had a soft spot for when Stu Scott would m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m MOOKIE. But dude couldn’t shoot from deep.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    Not buying point 2). Before every game, opposing teams will review a scouting report that must say something like; “sheed will jack 3s often, and is hitting at 28%. thats the least efficient offensive possession the celtics can possibly have. encourage this behavior at all costs. sag as much as possible. pretend you are stepping out but don’t actually do it”

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @kool-aid: maybe. teams will certainly close out less fervently, but I think they still have to close out. But there will come a time when they’ll stop caring, for sure.

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  • Berkcelt

    Great post! This has been killing me all year. Not surprised how bad it really is. I might be missing something, but basically Sheed is 1% behind Antoine’s mark of futility with more 3FGAs per 36 minutes. Seems like another month like February and he’s on his way.

    Also, I kind of agree with don’t_drink_the_kool-aid on number (2). I mean, who knows how team are game-planning exactly, but Sheed seems to get a lot of wide-open threes. I don’t see why a team wouldn’t want him to take it, it’s the high percentage play…it all reminds me of a time long, long ago–last year in fact–when I cheered when Sheed shot a three (I also laughed out loud every time I heard “Ball don’t lie!” but that’s another story).

  • CelticJay

    This story is so incomplete… I hope a Celtics fan didn’t write it.

    Rasheed’s real problems are much deeper. Yes he takes way too many 3′s – especially on a team loaded with decent 3-point shooters (Allen, Pierce, Eddie while he was here, and now Nate).

    Wallace is a lazy player who simply doesn’t appreciate his role within the Celtics offensive & defensive schemes. When he hangs out behind the arc (usually on a high pick), hoping to eventually launch from 3, he takes away the low-post presence for the Celtics. Even if you don’t shoot the ball from the post – a 7 footer inside commands attention from the D. When the ball moves inside out it creates lanes for the forwards to drive. Also it creates screens for the shooting guards to curl around and catch off the dribble on the weak side…. does the name Ray Allen ring any bells?? By standing up top, the defense knows it can load up on the strong side and the ball doesn’t move. The shots usually end up being long J’s and guess what….. Rasheed is not in position to collect the offensive boards.

    Add to that, his laziness puts undue pressure on the other 4 guys to get back and defend in transition. Rasheed barely moves his feet on D and guys simply shoot over him, drive around him or outhustle him for the offensive board – or all 3. He doesn’t play physical. He doesn’t block shots or even alter shots because he is so slow to react. Also he is the WORST guy to have on the court to play team defense because he is always a step or two behind. What’s worse is he has yet to get into playing shape. As a fan (and a teammate I’m sure) that is an insult!

    Give Shelden Williams Rasheed’s minutes. At least Shelden hustles, runs the floor and attacks the glass. Why does Doc Rivers insist on playing Rasheed. We watch the games… whenever they go to him the leads dissapate for the reasons I mentioned – and I’m just a loyal fan, not a coach!!!

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  • matthew

    i hate sheed. just bench him the rest of the season.

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  • ken

    you should take a look at where sheed’s threes fall in the shot clock. Lots of attempts in the last 5 seconds = more defensible, more attempts with 5+ seconds left = more egregious.

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    Lol! I love it!

  • http://www.phototshirt.net/ Photo T Shirt

    Sheed had a pretty bad run there. It is considered of one of the worst 3 shooting periods ever.

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