When Buddy Hield knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the arc early in the fourth quarter last Monday in Washington, it gave the Kings the lead.
Not in the game they eventually lost, but in the franchise record books.
That shot was the 739th successful 3-pointer this season for the Kings, which set a new club mark. They’ve since added 29 to that total.
The previous record of 738 came in 2003-04, the season Peja Stojakovic made a franchise-best 240 from long range.
It’s fitting that Hield helped set the team mark because he’s closing in on the single-season record for players. The third-year shooting guard has hit 231 3-pointers and is on pace to shatter the number made by one of the team’s assistant general managers.
Hield makes more than 3.3 3-pointers per game and would reach 275 if he continues at this clip while playing every remaining game. At 43.4 percent from outside the arc this season, he’s shooting just a tad better than the 43.3 percent Stojakovic put up in his record-setting campaign.
Setting the club mark isn’t a one-man show. This season 15 players have contributed to the 768 makes from downtown. Bogdan Bogdanovic is second with 104, followed by Nemanja Bjelica (94) and De’Aaron Fox (74). Iman Shumpert, no longer with the club after being traded to the Houston Rockets, also made 74 3-pointers. Even center Willie Cauley-Stein is shooting 50 percent from outside – he’s 1 for 2.
“We can get them up. That’s what we do,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said Friday after a loss in Philadelphia, adding that the space and pace the team has played with all season leads to opportunities for shooters.
After beating the Chicago Bulls on Sunday to end a three-game slide, the Kings (34-35) have 13 games left. Their makes and shooting percentage on 3s are middle of the pack in the league – 15th and 16th, respectively – but they’re No. 4 in efficiency at 37.3 percent.
They’ve also teamed with their Northern California neighbors to set a league mark. On Jan. 5 at Golden 1 Center, the Warriors and Kings combined for 41 3s, an NBA record for a single game.
“It’s crazy, but hats off to us for making shots, hats off to them for making shots,” Hield said after making a career-high eight 3-pointers in that game.
Sacramento set a franchise high with 20 makes from the arc in that game, one better than what they made Dec. 12 in a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Kings were long shots to be a winning club when the season began. Should they win at least eight of their final 13 games to finish above .500 for the first time since 2005-06, they can likely attribute some of that success to the long shot.