30Q asks the important questions about the Kings all through September.
Last season, there were few categories in which the Kings did not rate as "god awful." Three-pointing shooting was one of those. The Kings finished 14th in three-point shooting percentage at .368. The league average was .367.
But the flavor of the team has changed, and whether the Kings can improve or at least remain as good as last season from behind the arc is a question. A question I will henceforth attempt to answer.
Part of the equation is unanswerable until we see exactly how the Kings offense will work (or attempt to work). Should Tyreke Evans take the reins early, the team could very well be focused on slashing and finishing rather than swinging the ball. There's also the matter of where on the court Paul Westphal will primarily station Spencer Hawes (who vacillated between the post and the perimeter under Reggie Theus and Kenny Natt). Finally, the small forward rotation matters quite a bit: Francisco Garcia and Andres Nocioni shoot from deep regularly, but Desmond Mason does not.
But we can at least sort out who is and is not a good three-point shooter on this team, and who will and who will not take three-point shots. Threes are an increasingly important facet of offense in the NBA; for a team not expected to blow the doors off on defense, it's a vital part of the game for Sacramento.
Kevin Martin. Martin nearly shot as well from three-point land (.415) as he did on two-pointers (.423) last season. Along with that marvelous efficiency from the perimeter, Martin also utilizes the deep shot often, with a third of his FGAs coming from behind the arc (5.4/game last year). Martin is clearly the team's best shooting weapon from deep.
Francisco Garcia. Like Martin, Garcia's deep jumper has improved with experience. He shot .391 in 2007-08 and .398 in 2008-09. Last season, Garcia took a third of his FGAs from behind the arc, some 3.4 per game (in 30 mpg). Garcia is a particularly good set shooter; hopefully the Beno-to-Tyreke transition will help Flaco get more of these opportunities, and not fewer.
Andres Nocioni. Nocioni shot the deep ball beautifully in 2008-09 for the Kings, at a .441 clip while taking 40% of his FGAs (4.4/game) from behind the arc. Nocioni has always taken many shots from deep -- 33% of his career FGAs are threes -- and has a lovely .373 career clip. As discussed recently, he's a valuable stretch power forward ... on offense.
Spencer Hawes. Hawes hit .348 on three attempts last season, below league average but solid for a 7-footer. The key was that he took so many -- 118 on the season, up from 21 attempts his rookie season. Reggie Theus, for all his faults, did unleash Shooter Hawes to a degree, and it was nice to see those go down the nylon glory hole. I think Hawes could nudge up the frequency a bit, provided he maintains or improves the efficiency. Hawes hasn't been a particularly good midrange shooter, so turning a portion of those long twos into threes (especially short corner threes) would be a boost for the team.
Beno Udrih. I'm iffy about placing Udrih in this category, but since I've been accused of pessimistic curmudgeonhood lately, what the hey/hay/HAI. Beno shot only .310 from deep last season, and took a remarkably low share of his total FGAs from behind the arc (16%). But he's been better in the past. His career clip is .356, and his career 3PA/FGA is 24%. He shot .387 in his Kings debut season. If Beno returns to at least .350, his deep shooting will be a plus.
Desmond Mason. Career .260 deep shooter. Has taken 6,523 field goals over his career. Only 254 of those have been three-point attempts. Only 66 of those have been makes.
Tyreke Evans. We're all stoked for 'Reke, but I have no illusions about his perimeter shooting right now. It's going to be ugly, in all likelihood. Derrick Rose shot .337 at Memphis and .222 with Chicago his rookie season. Kevin Durant shot .404 his freshman year at Texas and .288 his rookie season in Seattle. Evans only shot .274 in college. It ain't gon' be pretty, y'all.
Donte Greene. Similarly, D.G. is going to have to prove he can hit the three regularly before we count him as dependable. As a reminder, Greene shot .260 from deep last season.
Sergio Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a career .304 three-point shooter. Last season was his best from the perimeter (.325), and he's not shy on the trigger. But at this point, the team needs better performance out there, given the other options.
Omri Casspi. No idea how Casspi will shoot at the NBA level ... nor how often. He has a nice stroke and good mechanics, though.
Jason Thompson, Jon Brockman and Sean May will not be shooting threes this season. I hope.