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Does Cleveland Need More Outside Shooting Threats?

David Richard, USA TODAY Sports

 

Three-point shooting is an art form. It is something that can dig you out of a deficit, build momentum for your team, or even deflate your opponent’s momentum. Arguably, being able to shoot the ball from downtown can also help you be a contender in the playoffs. The 2013-2014 season is proof enough; 11 of the top 14 three point shooting teams made the playoffs last season. The San Antonio Spurs led the NBA at 39.7% and were also the NBA Champions.

When looking back at the NBA’s last 6 champions, there is definitely something that stands out, statistically. Last season, the Spurs led the league in three-point percentage. The 2012-2013 championship Miami Heat team shot 39.6 percent ranking #2 overall. The previous years’ Miami Heat squad was able to land at 10th best, shooting 35.9 percent from behind the arc. In 2010-2011, the Dallas Mavericks were ranked 11th, shooting 36.5 percent. Boston was a three-point threat in 2007-2008, knocking down 38.1 percent of their shots and was 5th overall in the league. Back in 2006-2007, the Spurs once again made it rain from long range, ranking 3rd overall at 38.1 percent.

The Cleveland Cavaliers finished last season 18th in three-point percentage, shooting 35.6 percent. Does this mean that going into the offseason this year, Cleveland needs to add more outside shooting to their squad? Based on a historical standpoint, the answer is a yes.

{adinserter 2} The Cavs have done a wonderful job so far this offseason in adding players that will be able to help improve their outside shooting. LeBron James is a unique player who is danger shooting the ball anywhere on the court, going into last season he has been consistently working on his deep range accuracy. James finished last season with a 37.9 percent three-point shooting. Mike Miller and James Jones have made careers by shooting the long ball with high accuracy, both with career averages of 40+ percent. Not so bad so far, considering the Cavaliers still have Dion Waiters who shot 36.8 percent last season and Kyrie Irving who shot right below that mark at 35.8 percent. Now that’s a lot of Goosie’s to look forward to this year.

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At this point does Cleveland need more outside shooting talent? Well this still seems to be the front office’s agenda. The Cavaliers have been chewing at the Kevin Love trade for quite some time. This trade is something that has been reported as a “when” situation over an “if” scenario at this point. It is almost 99% sure that a trade for Love will go through. Love is an excellent three-point shooter. He finished last season at 37.60 percent and has a career average of 36.20 percent. He is also a former three-point shooting star at the NBA All-Star weekend. Ray Allen is also still on the list of potential free agent targets for the Cavs. He is notorious for being deadly at shooting three-pointers and potentially the best shooter the game has seen. Allen posts a career average of 40 percent over the course of 18 seasons, an unmatched average for such a long and successful career. Last but not least, a report came through that the Cavaliers were now targeting another big name veteran free agent in Shawn Marion. Marion may not have been always considered a deep threat but last season he put up impressive numbers with his three-point shooting. Since Marion is 36 years old, he is no longer to be as aggressive in the lane as he was during his ‘Matrix’ days. He has been able to adjust his game with age, which is why last season’s 35.8 three-point percentage ranks 3rd overall in Shawn Marion’s career.

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The Cavaliers front office has made one thing clear however, and that is they know the importance of having great outside shooters. They have made it clear so far with the additions this offseason that they are trying to improve their three-point shooting. If they are unable to make the move for Kevin Love and/or sign these free agents, it will be interesting to see if the Cavaliers change their strategy. It is absolutely important for the Cleveland Cavaliers to keep improving in this area. If the Cavs are able to make the trade for Love and sign Marion and Allen, they will be one of the top three-point shooting teams in the NBA for the 2014-2015 season. Either way, Cavaliers’ fans should be ready to see their team throw up a lot of three’s this season, as the Cavs compete for a title.

 

 

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