Chris Paul 7th best shooter of decade brings long ball to the OKC Thunder

OKC Thunder: Chris Paul #3 takes a three point shot defended by Draymond Green. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Chris Paul #3 takes a three point shot defended by Draymond Green. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder historically are among the worst NBA 3-point shooting squads. With the arrival of Chris Paul, the team adds the seventh-best 3-point sniper of the past decade.

Later today Thunderous Intentions dives into how the NBA has shifted over the past decade. One specific component within that piece is the comeuppance of perimeter shooting. For the OKC Thunder if there was one Achilles heel over the entire history of the franchise it would arguably be 3-point shooting efficiency. Albeit shooting efficiency, in general, hasn’t been the club’s selling point.

For that reason, as superstars Russell Westbrook and Paul George along with rising talent Jerami Grant exit it’s ironic the Thunder may enter this season with the perhaps one of the better perimeter shooting squads in franchise history.

To that end, writer Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN highlights the best perimeter shooters of the past decade. Thunder point guard Chris Paul is among the top ten snipers ranking seventh. Like many point guards of his era, Paul developed his 3-point shot improving his efficiency and the number of attempts he took as he aged.

"In his first six seasons in the league with the Hornets, just 18% of his shots were 3-pointers. In his next six seasons with the Clippers, that number was 28%. But in his past two seasons, 3-pointers have represented more than 48% of his looks."

Although CP3 has witnessed some regression in his long-range shot the last two seasons that could be offset by the fact he’s taking more attempts from the behind the arc. In his rookie season, Paul shot a measly 28.2 percent from behind the arc on 2.3 attempts. His best season of the past decade (as per the basketball reference chart below) came in the first year of the decade, 2009-10 when he shot 40.9 percent on 2.8 attempts per game.

In fact, CP3 has delivered quality efficiency above league average over the majority of the decade outside of 2012-13 (32.8 percent on 3.3 attempts). In each season a steady progression in shot attempts from behind the arc hasn’t witnessed any signs of regression for the gritty point guard.

Much like Russell Westbrook, Paul was noted for his mid-range game but he’s steadily developed the 3-point shot to a level of excellence during his NBA tenure.

Per Game Table

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Generated 9/21/2019.

Paul ranks 51st All-Time with 1,268 deep balls made over the course of his career which means this season he should crack the top 50. Of the 10 players ranked ahead of him only two are currently active (three if Melo returns to play). Should CP3 connect on 130 deep balls (he’s averaged 131 the past three seasons) his career total makes will increase to 1,398 which should jettison him into the top 40 All-Time.

For as much as the OKC Thunder have never excelled from range several of the top 10 talents have ties to the franchise. Kevin Durant ranks second on Goldsberry’s list while James Harden is fifth.

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The complete top 10 list:

The unknown entity is how long Paul will be with the OKC Thunder. What is known is CP3 is intent on having a strong season and showcasing his talents with the hopes title contenders will come calling.

For that reason, the expectations are Paul will be intent on showcasing his very best assets which include perimeter shooting, defense and dishing dimes.

dark. Next. How Thunder backcourt duo Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can thrive together

In addition, his leadership role with the team and particularly youngsters like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be invaluable.