Milwaukee Bucks: Corner 3-point shooting stands as marked improvement

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 19: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 19: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As much as the Milwaukee Bucks have looked to stretch their firepower from well beyond the 3-point line, they’ve been incredibly efficient in knocking down shots from both corner spots this season.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ 3-point profile under head coach Mike Budenholzer has primarily been designed to stretch the floor as much as possible.

One can only think about the five blue squares Budenholzer and his staff taped down on the court of the Bucks’ practice facility at the start of their first practice ahead of the 2018-19 season that became the basis of their five-out offense.

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And while they’ve added a few more wrinkles within that offense this season, the Bucks haven’t strayed away from opening up as much space needed for the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe to do damage inside the paint.

But the Bucks’ collective 3-point shooting has been incrementally upgraded, thanks to their improved proficiency hitting triples from both corner spots on the floor.

Corner threes have long been seen as the holy grail for NBA teams, given how much more efficient they are on average based on the location and compared to taking 3-pointers taken elsewhere on the floor.

And under Budenholzer, 3-point attempts from the corner have been a prominent part in the Bucks’ shot profile, though their volume on such shots this season is a tick down from last year where they finished eighth in the NBA by attempting 634 corner threes. This year, the Bucks are 14th in the league with 450 corner threes attempted.

What they have traded in volume, though, they’ve made up in efficiency on hitting corner threes where they have hit those shots at a 40 percent clip, good for ninth this season. That’s up from the 38.2 percent they hit during the 2018-19 season, which ranked 13th.

The reasoning behind that growth can be easily traced to the veteran sharpshooters such as Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews that were brought in and the overall changes they experienced from last summer.

Both Matthews and Korver rank first and second in taking the most corner three attempts on this Bucks team and they have hit 40.9 percent and 41.7 percent on such shots, respectively. That’s followed by the Lopez brothers, Brook, then Robin, and Khris Middleton rounds out the top five and the All-Star swingman is currently 23-of-42 on corner three attempts this season, good for 54.8 percent.

That’s a little different from the top five Bucks players that recorded the most corner threes last season that was led off by Brook, followed by Tony Snell, Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and finally, Sterling Brown.

There’s differing circumstances from those respective lists and certainly the additions of Korver and Matthews, as well as the improved shooting year from Middleton have neutralized the pedestrian marks of both Lopezes. Brook’s currently 15-of-45 on corner threes this season while Robin is 15-of-43 on such attempts (34.9 percent).

The year-over-year improvement is one to be encouraged by, but it will be interesting to see how much of it holds up going into the postseason. That’s especially relevant, given that the Bucks’ corner 3-point shooting dipped down to 33.9 percent during last year’s playoff run on 124 attempts.

Of course, the Bucks’ total range shooting trailed down with each passing playoff series, which isn’t a surprise with the caliber of opposing teams and defenses they were going against in the postseason. That certainly won’t change going into their run this season, which will kick off several weeks from now.

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The question will be whether the improvements and boosts they’ve gotten this season in this regard will ultimately translate on the bigger stage. Time will only tell.