In A 3-Point-Shooting League, Oklahoma City Thunder Are Having Success With Mid-Range Game

The NBA has shifted completely to a 3-point shooting league. With offense at an all-time high, it is a shot that is a necessity. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder are finding ways to be efficient in the mid-range game.

About a quarter of the way through the 2019-20 season, Oklahoma City is 15th in the league in 3-point shooting percentage and 23rd in attempts. To help combat those struggles, they are first in NBA in mid-range shooting at 47.1 percent. Furthermore, they are 13th in the league in attempts at 12.5, showing they do not rely on mid-range shooting, but are extremely productive from there. 

Last season, the Thunder were seventh worst at 38.0 percent on 14.2 attempts from mid-range. A large portion of this drastic change is due to major personnel change on the roster.

Oklahoma City has three of the top 20 mid-range shooters in the NBA on their roster this season. Among players who shoot at least 2 mid-range shots per game, Chris Paul is eighth in the NBA in mid-range shooting at 52.1 percent on 2.5 attempts per contest. Dennis Schroder is ninth in the league at 51.9 percent on 2.8 attempts. Finally, Danilo Gallinari is 19th, shooting 48.2 percent on 2.9 attempts per game.

Other notable members of the Thunder who are less volume mid-range shooters include Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shooting 40.5 percent on 1.9 attempts, Nerlens Noel shooting 37.5 percent on 0.9 attempts, and Terrance Ferguson shooting 71.4 percent on 0.4 attempts per game from mid-range. 

What is more impressive is that Oklahoma City still has room to improve. For example, in the 2018-19 season, Steven Adams shot 60.0 percent on his 25 mid-range attempts on the year. This season, however, he was unsuccessful on his single attempt. As Steven Adams recovers from injury and gets more comfortable around his new teammates, he should be able to only help the Thunder’s efficiency from mid-range as he begins to take those shots.

With new players in Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being among the Oklahoma City Thunder’s four heaviest mid-range shooters, it is no surprise their shooting numbers look very different than last season. However, with Paul, Gallinari, and Schroder being popular trade topics early in the season, these numbers could dip if they are moved.

As the NBA’s top mid-range shooting team, if at any point in the season Oklahoma City can get its 3-point shot clicking while continuing their mid-range success, their offense will be difficult to defend with the currently constructed roster. 

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Nick is a contributor at Forbes covering the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is from Owasso, OK and a recent 2017 graduate of Oklahoma State University. Nick currently reside