This is a league where you live and die by the three. It started with the Warrior’s dynasty and it has finally filtered down to the rest of the association.

Oklahoma City, though, isn’t considered a “deep threat.” Sure, there’s Paul George… that’s about it. Shooters is something that always has been a question mark. With the absence of Alex Abrines, the Thunder’s three-point shooting woes have been glaring to say the least.

In the 2018 part of the schedule Oklahoma City ranked 30th in 3-point shooting (32.2 percent). Only George and Jerami Grant shot above 33 percent during that time frame. Folks like Russell Westbrook and Terrance Fergusons hot under 30 percent.

There’s been a large changing of the guard with the emergence of Ferguson’s deep ball threat and Patrick Patterson finding his groove. Since the start of the new year, Oklahoma City hits 41.1 percent of their threes, only second to San Antonio’s 42.5 percent.

Patterson leads Oklahoma City at 48.6 percent shooting. Dennis Schröder at 44.7 percent. In fact, there are five Thunder players who see at least 14 minutes per game shooting over 40 percent from three.

None of the three-point shooting was more evident than in the 2018 portion. They shot under 28 percent in losses and 35 percent in wins. In the 2019, They’re shooting almost 40 percent in losses and 43.5 percent in victories.

If the Thunder can add in Alex Abrines back into the fold whenever his personal issues are done, the Thunder will be adding another shooter who’s a career 37 percent shooter. It spreads the floor and provides people like Steven Adams space to work inside.

They’re not going to hit 41 percent for the remainder of the year. It just doesn’t fit the makeup of this team. Which is to score off their defense’s suffocating manner. It frees up a lot of opportunities, though. As we saw in the win over Memphis.

They played zone, they packed the paint,” Billy Donovan said. “They really were not concerned about matchups at all. Sometimes you have to take what the defense gives you.”

Oklahoma City finally forced the Grizzlies out of the paint after taking 44 threes and were able to explode in the second half.

If the Thunder are going to go far in the Western playoffs, it’ll be on the back of not just the superstars, but also the three-point shooting.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.