Takeaway #3: The Pelicans are going to shoot more threes this year.
In total, the Pelicans only took 32 threes on Wednesday, which, as we cited in the previous slide, is only two more than their season average from last season. Two more threes doesn’t seem like the kind of increase that warrants a takeaway, but it does when you take a closer look.
In the first quarter, the Pelicans only took four threes. For the rest of the game, they took 28 threes. That averages out to roughly 9.3 threes per quarter. If they maintained that rate for an entire game, that would lead to an average of 37.2 threes per game – over seven more threes than they averaged in 2022-23. That would have been seventh in the NBA last season.
What really stuck out is the number of threes attempted by CJ McCollum. McCollum’s scoring efficiency was four percentage points below league average last year (26th percentile, per Dunks & Threes) because he took a ton of midrange jumpers (95th percentile) and didn’t get to the rim a lot (44th percentile).
He still took a lot of threes (84th percentile), but if he’s going to be a more efficient scorer alongside Williamson and Brandon Ingram, he’d do well to exchange some of his midrange shots for 3-pointers. And that’s exactly what he did on Wednesday, taking 11 threes (and hitting six of them) and only three midrange shots.
Along with him, we also saw Ryan, Jordan Hawkins, and Herbert Jones adding to the team’s overall total.