Although the Milwaukee Bucks lost two of their best shooters this offseason, the Bucks actually made strides in their team three-point shooting.
Last season the Milwaukee Bucks made (5.4) and attempted (15.6) the fewest three-pointers of any team in the NBA. They were easily one of the worst long-range shooting teams in the Association and their floor spacing suffered because of it.
Milwaukee lost Jerryd Bayless and O.J. Mayo to free agency and those two made and attempted the second and third most threes, respectively, last season for the Bucks. Bayless made 101 threes on 231 attempts (43.7 percent) while Mayo made 52 threes on 162 attempts (32.1 percent).
So how do the Bucks go about replacing the space created by Mayo and Bayless? In free agency the team signed Mirza Teletovic and Matthew Dellavedova, in large part because of their three-point shooting prowess.
Last season Teletovic made 181 threes on 460 attempts (39.3 percent) while Dellavedova made 98 threes on 239 attempts (41.0 percent).
Just looking at the raw numbers it appears the Bucks have improved their three-point shooting and, by default, improved their floor spacing by losing Bayless and Mayo and adding Teletovic and Dellavedova. Overall, Milwaukee adds 126 made threes and 306 attempts.
Additionally, with the huge uptick in three-point attempts the Bucks also improve by just over one percent point in three point percentage with their new additions. Teletovic and Dellavedova’s combined three-point shooting percentage last year was 39.9 while Bayless and Mayo’s combined three-point shooting percentage last year was 38.7.
When we dive a little deeper into the numbers we see that the Bucks are coming out of free agency with significant shooting improvements.
First we will look at the per game and per 36 minute three-point shooting numbers. The raw numbers come out more favorably for Dellavedova and Teletovic because they played in 62 more games and played 958 more minutes than Bayless and Mayo.
Per game, Delly and Telly still come out on top. They made 0.4 and attempted 0.5 more threes per game than Mayo and Bayless. Additionally, per 36, Delly and Telly lead the way. They made 1.7 and attempted 3.5 more threes per game than Mayo and Bayless.
This indicates that Dellavedova and Teletovic were not just making more threes because they were playing in more more games or playing more minutes. They were truly better shooters than O.J. and Jerryd last season on a per game or per minute basis.
Second we will look at what percentage of these players’ three-point makes were assisted on last season. In order from least to most we have Dellavedova (80.6 percent), Bayless (90.1 percent), Teletovic (95.0 percent), then Mayo (96.2 percent).
Dellavedova, Bayless, and Mayo are all guards yet only Delly creates a sizable chunk of his own three-pointers on his own. Mayo and Bayless are only able to make threes when others facilitate. Teletovic is a 6’9″ forward who does not have guard ball handling skills yet he is creates more of his own threes than Mayo.
Third we will look at which of these four players rely the most on corner threes. Dellavedova and Teletovic shoot a smaller percentage of their threes from the corners than do Bayless and Mayo.
Last season Delly and Telly shot 17.2 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, of their threes from the corners. Bayless and Mayo shot 28.6 percent and 27.8 percent, respectively, of their threes from the corners.
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The corner three is a little shorter than the typical three-point shot. Some players specialize in the slightly shorter shot while not being as competent at shooting from other places along the arc. That makes those players predictable. Dellavedova and Teletovic are less predictable than Bayless and Mayo in terms of where they are willing to launch threes from.
Finally we will take a look at true shooting percentage. This will give us a good gauge for how effective these shooters were from all areas of the floor last season.
In order from best to worst we have Teletovic (57.1 TS%), Bayless (56.8 TS%), Dellavedova (52.7 TS%), then Mayo (47.4 TS%). Telly and Delly will make the Bucks a more efficient shooting team next season.
Regardless of how you slice it, the Bucks certainly have improved their three-point shooting with their free agent additions and subtractions. Telly and Delly should help give incumbent Bucks players like Greg Monroe, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jabari Parker more room to operate.
That extra space might just help Milwaukee make some improvements in the win column too.