The Milwaukee Bucks are off to a great start to the new NBA season. One of the reasons this has happened is due to their newfound ability of hitting 3-point shots.
There are a lot of reasons the Milwaukee Bucks have been so good this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is on pace to be named the 2018-19 MVP (knock on wood). His wingman, Khris Middleton, is having an All-Star caliber season and has one of the purest shots in the league. Head coach Mike Budenholzer has everyone firing on all cylinders and is a big reason why the Bucks are tied for the third-best record in the NBA.
Maybe the biggest reason Milwaukee has been so successful is actually the collective effort and execution of their 3-point shooting. Despite the fact they made no huge personnel changes besides new starting center Brook Lopez, the Bucks have amplified their effectiveness in shooting from behind the 3-point line. Coming off a 2017-18 season that ended with the Bucks being a bottom-10 team in the category, they have increased their 3-point efficiency from 35.5 percent to 37.6 percent.
While that may not seem like a huge jump, it is the volume they’re hitting their 3-pointers at that is most significant. Milwaukee was hitting 35.5 percent of its 3-point attempts last season on a mere 24.7 attempts per game, ranking 25th in the league. This year, however, the Bucks have turned over a new leaf. Their current clip of 37.6 percent is coming on 40.5 3-point attempts per game, trailing only the Houston Rockets for most in the league.
Hitting more 3s at a much better rate is allowing Milwaukee to score more points, and in return, win more games. The Bucks ended last season scoring 106.5 points per game, ranked only 15th best in the NBA. This year, they are leading the league with 121.6 points scored per game. Think about those scoring averages when you compare Milwaukee’s 7-6 start to the season last year vs. this year, and there is definitely a correlation.
This phenomenon can’t be attributed to just one or two players but the entire roster, from top to bottom. Besides Giannis, all of the regular contributors are shooting exceptionally well from behind the 3-point line.
Middleton’s 46.4 percent from the 3-point line so far this season is the best of his career and is quite a leap from his 35.9% mark last year. Despite moving to a role that brings him off the bench this year, Tony Snell is hitting an incredible 48.6 percent of his 2.7 3-point attempts per game.
Former Rookie of the Year Malcom Brogdon has taken that starting role and excelled, which includes shooting 43.5 percent from deep. The addition of Brook Lopez at center is looking better and better while Lopez hits 41.9 percent of his 3-pointers.
With an incredible star, a great wingman, and an extremely knowledgeable coach at the helm for the Milwaukee Bucks, they are going to be able to accomplish many things this season. However, if they want to make a deep playoff run and exceed expectations, continuing to knock down a lot of 3-pointers on a high volume could turn the Bucks into the title contenders they want to be.