The NBA has evolved a lot over the years, with teams looking to dominate opponents offensively. That explains why teams are keen to add sharpshooters to their ranks. Several players have worked on this skill to make an impact for their teams.
Point guards, in particular, are always looking to add more skills to their arsenal. Playing that position is no mean feat, and point guards need to keep evolving. One aspect that point guards are expected to master is shooting.
Possessing good shooting ability makes a point guard unpredictable for opposition defenses, keeping them guessing whether the player is going to pass or shoot. Not all top point guards are elite shooters, though, which hurts their teams.
On that note, here's a look at five point guards who should improve their shooting ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season.
#5 Dennis Schroder
Dennis Schroder will be playing for the Boston Celtics during the 2021-22 NBA season. Schroder endured a difficult time during free agency.
The former LA Lakers point guard was hopeful of bagging a contract in the region of $100-120 million. However, no team showed interest to offer him that sum. Schroder eventually signed with the C's by accepting a contract worth $5.9 million taxpayer mid-level exception.
Schroder struggled with several aspects of his game last season, including his shooting. He shot 43.7% from the field and 33.5% from the deep. But he has shown in the past that he can be a decent shooter, but needs to be more consistent.
If he does show improvements in that regard next season, teams might offer him the kind of contract he would like when he enters free agency again.
#4 Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe's field-goal shooting percentage improved drastically during his stint with the Milwaukee Bucks between 2017 and 2020. He shot roughly 48% in each of his three seasons there. However, he had a dismal campaign with the New Orleans Pelicans last season, shooting just 42.1% from the field.
It was very underwhelming for a player of his caliber, who was doing well in that aspect of his game before. He will be playing for the LA Clippers next season, one of the best shooting teams in the league last year.
So it will be important for Bledsoe to rediscover his shooting form when he dons the Clippers jersey for the second time in his NBA career. He has also struggled a lot with his 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting in the last few seasons.
Bledsoe converted 34.1% from the deep on five attempts per contest in the 2020-21 NBA season. His free-throw shooting percentage took a dip as well, as he managed just 68.7% of his shots from the foul line last year.
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#3 Ja Morant
Ja Morant is still young in his NBA career. The Memphis Grizzlies point guard has a lot of time to improve before he becomes a top-rated player in his position. Morant has shown the potential to be a high-volume scorer and a solid playmaker. His career averages of 18.4 points and 7.3 assists per game are a great testament to that.
However, his scoring remains a work in progress. He will need to work on his shooting to improve his scoring. Morant is a very streaky shooter. He made 47% from the field in his rookie season, but that number went down to 44.9% last campaign.
Morant's 3-point and free-throw shooting haven't been impressive for a point guard who works best at the offensive end. He has converted just 31.2% of his 3-point shots and 75% of his free-throw attempts in his last two NBA seasons.
#2 Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook will finally be playing for his hometown team, the LA Lakers, in the NBA. That isn't something a lot of analysts and fans were too excited about, though. Many feel Westbrook may not make the Lakers a better team.
That's because he isn't one of the best shooting point guards in the NBA. The former OKC Thunder talisman has shot 43.7% from the field and 30% from the 3-point line throughout his NBA career. His inefficiency for someone who has averaged 18.8 attempts per game from the field is sub-par.
It has been an area of his game that he has been heavily criticized for throughout his career.
Westbrook has a great chance of addressing that criticism next season. He will be aiming for nothing less than to win his first ring alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If he does improve his shooting in the offseason, it will only ease the pressure on him and the Lakers to win the title next year.
#1 Ben Simmons
The late great Kobe Bryant once said Ben Simmons needs to get a jump shot, or else he would regret it. That was the case for the Australian guard during the 2021 NBA playoffs and in the offseason.
Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers' 2020-21 season ended against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. The 6' 9" point guard had a dismal postseason campaign, where his inability to make jump shots was on full display. That eventually led to the Sixers' exit.
Simmons passed on an easy layup in the dying minutes of the elimination game against the Hawks in the playoffs. Had the Sixers won that tie, they could have progressed to the Conference Finals.
But that wasn't the case, and now the Australian is on the trade block. But it doesn't end there. His suitors are unwilling to give up key assets of their organization for his service, as they do not view Simmons as a reliable player, largely because of his shooting woes.
Simmons has made just five 3s in his career. Almost all of the points he has scored in his career have come by driving to the basket. As a point guard who can defend any position from 1 through 5 and create an impact as a playmaker, Simmons would become one of the best players in the league if he starts making jump shots.
Wherever he ends up playing next season, it will likely be a make-or-break campaign for Simmons. That's because time is running out for him to make a mark as an elite player and a point guard.