The NBA season began just two weeks ago, but so much has already happened for the LA Clippers. After trading for James Harden, the roster looks significantly different and there is much for the team to figure out if they are to contend for a championship this season.
So far, LA has had somewhat disappointing results with just a 3-3 record after their Monday evening loss in New York. Of course, there is a lot of time to turn things around. But the Clippers currently sit at just 7th place in the Western Conference standings.
But what if we ordered the standings by something other than winning percentage? Doing so can give us a better idea of certain important areas where teams are succeeding or falling short.
NBA standings ordered by three-point percentage:
In a three-point centric league, how well a team can shoot from beyond the arc is more important now than ever before. Three-point percentage is a very simple metric, found by simply dividing a team’s number of three-point makes by their number of attempts.
- LA Clippers: 40.9% (3-3 record)
- Dallas Mavericks: 39.4% (6-1 record)
- Oklahoma City Thunder: 38.8% (4-3 record)
- Houston Rockets: 38.4% (3-3 record)
- Denver Nuggets: 37.1% (7-1 record)
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 36.7% (4-2 record)
- Golden State Warriors: 36.3% (6-2 record)
- Utah Jazz: 36.1% (2-6 record)
- Phoenix Suns: 35.5% (3-4 record)
- San Antonio Spurs: 35.1% (3-4 record)
- New Orleans Pelicans: 33.9% (4-3 record)
- Sacramento Kings: 32.9% (2-4 record)
- Memphis Grizzlies: 32.7% (1-6 record)
- Los Angeles Lakers: 29.8% (3-4 record)
- Portland Trail Blazers: 29.5% (3-4 record)
Unsurprisingly, most of the teams near the top of the West winning percentage-wise are also some of the best three-point shooting teams. The Clippers currently lead not only the Western Conference but also the entire NBA in percentage from behind the three-point arc.
- Indiana Pacers: 39.2% (4-3 record)
- Detroit Pistons: 39.1% (2-6 record)
- Philadelphia 76ers: 39.0% (5-1 record)
- Brooklyn Nets: 38.8% (3-4 record)
- Miami Heat: 38.0% (3-4 record)
- Milwaukee Bucks: 37.9% (4-2 record)
- Boston Celtics: 37.2% (5-1 record)
- Toronto Raptors: 35.8% (3-4 record)
- Washington Wizards: 35.1% (1-5 record)
- Atlanta Hawks: 34.2% (4-3 record)
- Chicago Bulls: 34.0% (3-5 record)
- New York Knicks: 33.2% (3-4 record)
- Cleveland Cavaliers: 32.3% (3-4 record)
- Orlando Magic: 31.9% (4-3 record)
- Charlotte Hornets: 30.6% (2-4 record)
Interestingly, the two worst teams in the East record-wise both find themselves in the top nine for three-point percentage. But these numbers will likely not hold as Detroit and Washington will both be lucky to appear in the play-in.
The Clippers’ three-point dominance is a great sign
The fact the Clippers currently rank as the top three-point shooting team in the NBA is an excellent sign for what they are trying to accomplish this year. The last three NBA champions finished 4th, 8th, and 5th in the league in three-point percentage.
Continuing to generate and knock down good looks from outside will go a long way toward getting the Clippers deep in the 2024 playoffs.