Inconsistent 3-point shooting by the Kings isn’t due to a lack of effort.
For years, Sacramento has tried to use the draft and free agency to improve its 3-point shooting. But the problem persists.
The Kings entered Saturday’s game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena 20th in the NBA in 3-point shooting, making 34.2 percent of their attempts. The Kings say they are getting good looks, including many wide-open shots. But too often, they aren’t taking advantage.
Without a consistent 3-point threat, the lane is packed around DeMarcus Cousins or Rudy Gay as defenders dare the Kings to hurt them from the perimeter.
Cousins can find shooters out of double teams. But the Kings have to make 3s, or opponents will swarm the team’s top scorer relentlessly.
Kings coach Dave Joerger said the offense is producing scoring opportunities.
“We’re getting great looks, absolutely,” Joerger said.
Sacramento attempts a 3-pointer that is either open (defender within 4 to 6 feet) or wide open (defender more than 6 feet away) 24.3 percent of the time, according to NBA.com/stats.
And making those 3s has been key in wins. The Kings make 39.4 percent in wins and 31.5 percent in losses.
The Kings aren’t filled with knock-down shooters who routinely make 40 percent or better on 3s. They’re more a collection of streaky shooters. When they’re hot, it’s fun to watch. But they can go cold for long stretches.
Sacramento’s leading 3-point shooters entering Saturday were Garrett Temple (39.7 percent), followed by Cousins (37.3 percent) and Darren Collison (37.1 percent). Temple is the only King in the top 40 in the NBA in 3-point shooting. He was tied for 32nd.
The Kings added Temple, Arron Afflalo and Anthony Tolliver to bolster their outside shooting and complement Omri Casspi, who had a good year beyond the arc last season.
Those signings came one year after the signing of free agent Marco Belinelli, who spent 2015-16 in a shooting slump.
While the overall results have been disappointing, the Kings are confident the shots will fall.
“I think we get good shots,” Cousins said. “It’s a matter of us making them. We’ve had some wide-open looks that we’ve just completely blown. I think we get good looks.”
The Kings hope Casspi can regain his form of the previous two seasons now that he’s back in the playing rotation. Casspi shot above 40 percent from beyond the arc the last two seasons, but is at 31.6 percent this season.
Also,Ben McLemore, who’s back in the lineup in place of Afflalo, might be able to build on the career-high 36.2 percent he shot from long range last season.
Temple said the Kings sometimes rush a 3 or could find a better look, but overall he can’t complain about the shots the Kings have gotten.
“I think we’re getting the looks we want,” Temple said. “ ... The right guys are shooting 3s. As long as they’re open and in rhythm, we trust the people we have to make 3s.”
Notes – The NBA announced that the Kings’ Nov. 30 game at Philadelphia that was postponed will be played at 6 p.m. EST on Jan. 30 at Wells Fargo Center.
The game was postponed because of unsafe playing conditions on the arena floor. Players complained that the floor was slippery from an unknown substance. Arena tried were unable to remove the substance.
The game will make the Kings’ longest trip of the season an eight-game trek. The trip begins Jan. 20 at Memphis and concludes Jan. 31 at Houston.
Instead of having two days off before finishing the trip in Houston, the Kings will finishwith back-to-back games.
There will be three sets of back-to-back games on the trip.
▪ Reserve forward Matt Barnes was active Saturday after being given Friday off for rest.
Joerger said he plans to rest Barnes, 36, at least once a week and that the rest is unrelated to possible legal issues from an altercation at a New York City nightclub early Monday morning.