With five seconds left on the shot clock and all their teammates covered, guards have to create. Some perform much better at it than others.
Creating and then converting a three-pointer is basketball’s version of a grand slam. A 24-second violation nets nothing – and a wild shot attempt isn’t much better. So it’s a three-point swing if a player can nail a three off the dribble. Since few players shoot high percentages in these situations, the players who excel have tremendous value.
After evaluating all three-point shooters for volume, accuracy and the ability to create their shot without an assist, Spurs guard Gary Neal stood out. He hit 41.9 percent overall from three-point range last season, even though only 54.2 percent of his made threes were assisted. On average, 84.2 of NBA three-pointers were assisted in 2011-12.
Most top three-point marksmen have a very high percentage of their threes assisted. That’s no problem of course, it’s their job to spot up and drain threes. But it makes players who can convert threes off the dribble even more valuable, especially for teams that don’t get many open three-point looks from their set offense.
In addition to Neal, other players who shine in this area include Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Jose Juan Barea and Lou Williams.