LA Clippers Mamba Mentality Challenge: Sam Dekker

PLAYA VISTA, CA- JULY 18: Sam Dekker
PLAYA VISTA, CA- JULY 18: Sam Dekker /

A few weeks ago, Kobe Bryant issued “Mamba Challenges” to various public personalities. Our staff felt the need to issue our own challenges to each LA Clippers’ player. First up is Sam Dekker.

The Challenge

Our challenge for Sam Dekker is to shoot 37% or better from three-point range this season.

The reason that this is Dekker’s challenge from us is due to the decline in his three-point percentage since his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. For that season, Dekker was 39% on 3.7 attempts from behind the arch. His attempts per game stayed within a few decimals of that number until he was drafted, yet his percentage fell to 32.6%, then came back up slightly to 33.1% for his last season as a Badger. During his first season in the NBA, Dekker played just 3 games and did not attempt any threes during his time on the court. His next season however, (last season) he shot 32.1% on 2.4 three-point attempts per game.

The first benefit of the doubt that we give Dekker for the lower percentage is that he is took more than one three-point shot per game less. The next is that the NBA three-point line is three feet (23.9) longer than the NCAA line (20.9). The three-foot difference may be having an effect on his ability to knock down long distance shots, but he should be adjusting to the longer distance soon, right? I’m no shooting coach, but Dekker’s jump shot has a pretty high release point. In other words, he releases the ball when his arms are nearly straight above his head. This kind of release could be hindered due to the added three feet; he might benefit from adding more arm behind the shot (once again, not a shooting coach).

Dekker will be coming off of the Clippers’ bench next season, likely playing at least as much as he did last season (18 minutes per game). If you examine the bench and assume Patrick Beverley and Austin Rivers will be the team’s starting guards, there isn’t much three-point power. Assuming Doc won’t be giving the rookies any real minutes, the only real options to drain some long distance shots are Milos Teodosic and Lou Williams. This is where Sam Dekker could stand out as a nice option for long-distance scoring.

Before signing with the Orlando Magic, Mo Speights was able to bring a cool 8.7 points per game off of the bench for the Clippers. Perhaps the best part of his offense was his three-ball, which fell 37.2% of the time in just 15.7 minutes per game. My point is, people loved him for his three-point ability, and it was refreshing coming from a backup center. People will love Dekker even more if he is able to bring a consistent three-point shot into the season and hit our challenged percentage of 37% or higher.