Power Ranking L.A. Lakers' 5 Best Three-Point Shooters
Here we are in 2013 and things haven't gone quite as planned for the Los Angeles Lakers. The injury bug has decided to make an unwelcome visit to an already troubled locker room, and their sub-.500 record has them looking up at the Clippers and Warriors (not to mention only a handful of games above the soon-to-be-Seattle-bound Kings, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports).
Much has been made of their struggles that have led them to this point, so maybe it's time we flip things and take a look at something they aren't doing as bad in.
That's right. You guessed it: three-point shooting.
Percentage-wise, the Lakers float near the middle of the pack in three-pointers (35.7 percent, 14th in the NBA), but in three-point completions and attempts, they're near the top of the league averaging 8.9 threes per game on 25.1 attempts (good enough for fourth and third in the league, respectively).
Let's take a look at D'Antoni's best weapons when it comes to shooting from long distance. If the Lakers continue down this unfamiliar road of losing, he may have to rely on them more and more in hopes that they can keep the team afloat.
Note: All stats are accurate as of January 10, 2012.
5. Steve Blake
Three-point percentage this season: 40 percent
Career three-point percentage: 38.7 percent
While Blake has been injured for the majority of the season and was less than stellar in the seven games he did play, he remains one of L.A.'s best options from beyond the arc.
When he first came to the Lakers, he was the beneficiary of plenty of open looks from distance due to the defense's concern about the likes of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
While he doesn't knock down the shots at quite the same clip as before, he is still very reliable from deep, and when he returns, should be able to be a solid option off the bench to not only manage the offense but also nail the occasional shot when called upon.
4. Jodie Meeks
Three-point percentage this season: 36.7 percent
Career three-point percentage: 37.1 percent
Meeks was one of the more under-the-radar signings of this past offseason but has been one of the more consistent members of the Lakers' bench.
He spent the first three seasons of his career on the East Coast quietly developing into one of the better three-point marksman in the league. Since coming over to L.A., he's been given a lot more room to operate than he's ever had and has taken advantage of the extra space.
Given the lack of depth on the bench, Meeks will continue to get plenty of opportunities this season and should thrive even more once the Lakers find a way to get fully healthy.
3. Metta World Peace
Three-point percentage this season: 36.9 percent
Career three-point percentage: 34.3 percent
Metta is coming off a down year shooting the long ball in which he shot it at 29 percent but has rebounded nicely this year.
Whether he's been Ron Artest or MWP, he's consistently been a three-point threat for the majority of his career and continues that work in the purple and gold.
Given his physical presence, defensive ability and capability to knock down a trey when needed, he poses quite the matchup problem for the opposing coach and should L.A. find their way into the postseason, having World Peace on the floor will continue to give his teammates more freedom to operate.
2. Kobe Bryant
Three-point percentage this season: 35.5 percent
Career three-point percentage: 33.7 percent
Normally, someone who shoots 33.7 percent on their career wouldn't be considered a team's major three-point threat, but when that someone is named Kobe Bryant, you somehow find ways to make it a lethal part of your game.
While shooting from long range isn't the main part of his arsenal, Kobe is a born scorer and is deadly from just about anywhere on the court.
When defenders are trying to stop the Black Mamba, they almost have to pick their poison in terms of what they want to allow him to do, and his ability to shoot the three makes that choice all the more difficult.
1. Steve Nash
Three-point percentage this season: 36 percent
Career three-point percentage: 42.8 percent
The 16-year veteran is known more for the way he passes the ball and sets up his teammates, but Nash is actually one of the more deadly shooters in the league, especially from distance.
Nash's high percentage is a result of him picking and choosing the best spots to shoot. When you're as good as he is at creating for others, it makes perfect sense. He may not be the most athletic or fastest point guard in the league, but the know-how of when and when not to shoot puts Nash in an entirely different class than his peers.
His percentage from deep has dipped the past few seasons, so you might think that his ability in that department is on the decline, but until there is someone else on the Lakers who has managed to shoot 40 percent or above from three-point land for 13 out of 16 seasons, Nash remains L.A.'s biggest weapon from beyond the arc.