Yesterday, I read this bit from an article by the great Alan Hahn and it got me all kinds of curious:
Chandler practices that corner three to the point where it has become almost automatic. Shawne Williams, who finds himself in the opposite corner when he's on the floor with Chandler, does the same thing. "We get in the gym and we get a lot of reps up," Chandler said. "You've got to be able to knock them down when Amar'e gets double-teamed like that."
True indeed. Shawne's propensity to poop in the corner is well documented and, when you reflect on it, that's really been Wil's spot as well. Unfortunately, there isn't a good aggregate shot chart on the internet anymore (this is defunct), so unless somebody combed through single-game charts and tallied up different spots, we couldn't have a concrete idea of how well Chandler and company were corner-poopin'.
That was going to be my project for today...until somebody did it for me!
Kevin Clark of The Wall Street Journal wrote a superb article on the Knicks' success from that spot, and was kind enough to include some specifics (snaps to Adam NYC for finding this as well):
They have made 49% of their 112 3-point shots from the left corner. The league average on all 3-pointers is just 35.9%.
The left corner is the prime real estate for a number of Knicks: five players shoot at least 50 percent from there, including Mr. Felton's 80%, Shawne Williams, 73.3% and 50% from Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.
Rookie Landry Fields is the only player with significant attempts to be better from the right corner than the left—he's made just four of 17 attempts from the left corner and five of nine from the right. The only team better from the left corner, the Boston Celtics, have made 52% of their shots from the left, but have only taken 62, less than half of the Knicks' attempts. The Knicks shoot 38% from the right corner, just 18th in the NBA.
So, that's cool. It's not just the corner three, but the LEFT corner three that's keyed the success. Read on for some excellent quotations from your favorite gunners, as well as some philosophy from Mike D'Antoni himself. A few things that all this brings to mind:
- Correct me if I'm wrong, but at MSG, a left corner three during the second half is directly in front of the opposing bench. It makes sense that chillbros like Wil and Extra E would be cool enough to launch inches away from the barking dogs.
- Threes lead to long rebounds, which lead to opposing fast breaks. Corner threes, in particular, put the shooter in the worst possible position to get back on defense. Two things: I. You better hit your corner threes (and the Knicks hit near half of theirs, so we're cool). and II. It's probably prudent that forwards like Chandler and Williams are the ones attempting most of those shots. That way, the guards are free to hustle back in transition.
- I will henceforth think of "D'Antoni and the Corner Three" in the same vein as Harold and the Purple Crayon. If there were no moon in the night sky, Coach would just grab his corner three and shoot it into existence.
And finally, a jam for the occasion: