NBA 2017-18: Top 10 3-point shooters from the regular season
The team's star scorer starts a play with the ball in his hand at the left 45. He starts his dribble, crosses up his defender and enters the mid-range. Help defense arrives and the roll man can't get the pass through a packed paint.
The scorer looks up to find an unguarded man on the right 45 and dishes it to him. The latter makes a head fake, looks around to find the man at the left corner free and passes it to him for an uncontested three.
The play just described above is run by every single NBA team over and over, every single game. And it is just one of umpteen different combinations they could try in order to find an open man.
Spot-up shooting has always been a vital part of basketball. Efficient spot-up shooters are some of the rarest commodities in the NBA. As Allen Iverson said in his Reebok commercial: "A jump shot can get you a shoe deal, a supermodel, a big house, fancy cars, a bunch of yes-men and a Swiss Bank account. But none of these things can get you a jump shot."
Let's take a look at the 10 deadliest shooters from 3-point range in spot-up situations this season.
Honorable Mentions: Doug McDermott, E'Twaun Moore, Steph Curry, Karl-Anthony Towns, JJ Redick
#10 Al Horford
Big men are continuously having to evolve their game in the modern NBA, where the game is faster than it has been in over 20 years and every team is hoisting 3-point shots at historic rates. Al Horford is one of the few centers to have successfully made this transition.
This season, Horford averaged 42.9% on 3-pointers, taking 3.1 attempts per game - these are the best percentages for a center taking 2 or more attempts. This clears out space in the paint for the likes of Irving, Brown, and Tatum to play their mid-range and driving game, as opposition centers have to go to the 3-point line to effectively guard Horford.
Al is also averaging 4.7 assists per game, and he continues to be an effective defender. Horford's all-round excellence has made him a 5-time All-Star, and a primary reason why the Boston Celtics competed for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.