The Milwaukee Bucks landed Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, adding another great weapon to head coach Mike Budenholzer‘s offense.
As we wrote earlier this season, the Bucks are creating more unguarded three-point opportunities than any other team in the league. Defenders have to account for how lethal Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the paint and they often double team him near the basket, which often leads to Milwaukee’s offense having an open man on the perimeter.
This has been a major benefit for Brook Lopez and Mirotic should thrive as well, considering the former New Orleans forward is such a skilled shooter.
Overall, the Bucks average 21.9 three-point attempts per game with the nearest defender is at least six feet away, which is defined as a wide-open shot.
They have also taken 12.8 three-pointers per game when the nearest defender is between four-and-six feet away, defined as an open look. So far this season, Mirotic is shooting 44-for-110 (40.0 percent) on “open” three-point shots.
Before he was traded to the Pelicans last season, he was 59-for-131 (43.5 percent) on three-pointers for the Chicago Bulls when the nearest defender was at least four feet away. These were considered either open or wide open opportunities from downtown. That is quite a bit better than the 36.2 percent league average on three-pointers.
Mirotic ranks Top 5 in successful catch-and-shoot three-pointers (2.3) per game this season. That was before factoring in what Antetkounmpo will do to help clear space for him. Milwaukee has taken 13.2 unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts so far this season, which is Top 5 in the NBA.
This has always been one of Mirotic’s most valuable skills. During the 2016-17 season, he averaged 1.19 points per possession on his unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts. That ranked 64th percentile among all players in the league. The season prior to that, which was his second in the NBA, Mirotic averaged 1.28 PPP on unguarded catch-and-shoot looks. This ranked even better (78th percentile), per Synergy Sports.
Now with Mirotic in the mix, the Bucks can connect on these opportunities at an even higher clip.