Kyle Korver: Losing his lethal-ness on three-pointers?


Kyle Korver is still a great three-point shooter, but had some tough shooting performances recently. Is he losing his lethal-ness as a perimeter scorer?

Kyle Korver had arguably his worst shooting game with the Atlanta Hawks in over three years on Tuesday night, going 0-11 from the field and 0-10 from beyond the arc. His only two points in the Atlanta Hawks’ come-from-behind victory over the Houston Rockets came at the free throw line.

While he is rocking a painful-looking black eye, something is off with Kyle Korver and his normally sharpshooting ways. Is he starting to lose some of his lethal-ness from three-point land in 2015-16?

Korver was able to stay in the Association as a youngster largely because of his smooth, 40% stroke from three. He developed into a great all-around player and became a first-time All-Star in 2014-15 at 34 years old. He nearly had a 50-50-90 season in Atlanta last season, so regression from a record-setting pace was honestly expected.

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However after going through two offseason surgeries, one to repair a broken ankle suffered in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the other to repair his elbow, Kyle Korver has dropped below 40% shooting from long distance for the first time in seven seasons.

Korver entered Tuesday night shooting .386 from three, falling to .382 after missing 10 straight attempts from distance against the Rockets. Keep in mind he is a career .431 shooter from three. While he is actually shooting better than average from two at .543, nearly .100 better than his career average of .459, it is Korver’s patented three-ball game that packs the seats at Philips Arena and gets the Highlight Factory jumping in Atlanta.

He’s been at around his career average this season in field goal percentage (.443), free throw percentage (.881), and effective field goal percentage (.568). However, it has been his better two-point percentage combined with his worse three-point percentage that has given Kyle Korver his worst PER since his rookie season in Philadelphia in 2003-04 at 10.2. Korver’s style of play normally keeps him under the league average PER permanently set at 15 (13.1 career PER).

It’s not that the Atlanta Hawks’ offense is force-feeding Kyle Korver three-point attempts. He was averaging only 4.9 three point attempts per game entering Tuesday’s contest, his lowest total since coming to Atlanta in 2012-13. However, Korver is making only 1.9 three pointers per game, also a low for his time in Atlanta.

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Kyle Korver is still shooting .362 from three-point range and that is still significantly better than the league average from distance. He isn’t falling off a cliff with his three-point shooting, but Korver did set the standard so high in 2014-15 that anything less than 45% from three would look like a huge drop off. Korver’s threes tend to come in bunches and while he missed 10 straight in Houston, maybe he will drain most of his three-point attempts on Sunday versus the New York Knicks.