Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is a force to be reckoned with near the rim and he demands so much attention from defenses, which leads to wide open looks for his teammates.
The Bucks are averaging 22.8 wide-open three-pointers per game, which is the most in the NBA. In fact, Milwaukee is currently taking more wide-open threes than the Golden State Warriors (12.2) and San Antonio Spurs (10.4) combined. An attempt is characterized as wide open when the closest defender is six feet or further from the shooter.
Alex Boeder recently noted that the Bucks have dominated from beyond the arc despite the fact that Antetokounmpo is shooting just 11.9 percent from three (via NBA.com):
“The Bucks have transformed into a three-point powerhouse — they lead the NBA in threes made this season and are on pace to make the third-most threes of any team in any season ever, after ranking 27th in the league last season — while being led by a superstar who ranks 374th in the league in long-range accuracy. He ranks just below an individual named Thomas Bryant there!”
According to Synergy Sports, only the Boston Celtics (15.9) have taken more unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts per game than Milwaukee (14.2) this season. As such, they’re averaging 15.7 points per game on this play type.
Brook Lopez (who averages 5.3 spot-up points per game) and Malcolm Brogdon (who averages 5.2) have emerged as two of the league’s best spot-up shooters because they get so many unguarded looks. This season, Lopez and Brogdon have each made 40 wide-open three-pointers.
That puts them both Top 5 — only two makes behind Sacramento’s Buddy Hield (42) for most in the league.
Earlier this season, Kirk Goldsberry wrote about the Bucks’ offensive success (via ESPN):
“The ball is flying around the perimeter, and just as important, when it lands in a shooter’s hands he is expected to fire away. The sets in Milwaukee are explicitly designed to create clean looks. The new directive: Shoot ’em if you get ’em. Oh, and they have Giannis, who is quickly evolving into one of the league’s most ferocious 3-point creators.”
Lopez has averaged 3.8 three-pointers per 36 minutes when Antetokounmpo is on the court, shooting 38.6 percent from downtown. Without Giannis, he produces just 1.8 three-pointers per 36 minutes and he shoots just 31.0 percent.
Brogdon has averaged 2.6 three-pointers per 36 minutes when he has been alongside Antetokounmpo, shooting 48.8 percent. He is averaging 1.0 three-pointers per 36 minutes and he shoots 41.6 percent without Antetokounmpo.
This shows exactly how valuable their superstar is and how much he contributes to their excellent three-point shooting, even if he’s not hitting shots himself.