SACRAMENTO -- The corner 3-pointer is considered the best bang-for-buck shot in the NBA.
So why does Dirk Nowitzki, one of the best shooters in basketball history, almost never attempt the shortest 3-point shot?
“I don’t really get to the corners much,” Nowitzki said. “It’s more running to get to the corner.”
That reasoning is tongue in cheek, of course. Laziness has nothing to do with Nowitzki having made a grand total of one corner 3 all season.
Yep, you read that right. Only one of Nowitzki’s 123 3-point buckets this season has come from the corner, according to NBA.com’s shot chart. Only nine of his 311 3-point attempts have been corner shots.
That’s not unusual for Nowitzki. He’s made more than three corner 3s in a season only once during coach Rick Carlisle’s six-year tenure in Dallas. Nowitzki was 21-of-38 from the corners in 2010-11, which seems to be somewhat of a statistical fluke. Nowitzki is 8-of-36 from the corners in Carlisle’s other five seasons.
“We want to get everybody corner 3s when we can,” Carlisle said. “The truth is the league does a really good job of taking them away because it’s such a good bang-for-your-buck shot, so there’s got to be a balance. We like trying to move him around anyway.”
The best 3s for Nowitzki come when he’s a trailer in transition. Those can’t come from the corners.
There is good reason that Nowitzki rarely spots up in the corners when the Mavs are operating out of half-court sets. He’s the screener in a pick-and-pop or posting up on a lot of possessions. When Nowitzki is serving as a floor spacer, it suits the Mavs best for him to spot up on the wing.
“Most of the plays, I’m more high and then a wing or a guard is low [in the corner],” Nowitzki said. “So then when the ball goes to me and we have nothing, I can swing it and we can run a side screen-and-roll. If I’m in the corner and there’s a guard, we can’t do that same action. You can’t swing it to me and run a pick-and-roll. That’s nothing, so that’s why a lot of the plays, I’m on the high wing spotted up.”
So that’s why one of the best shooters in basketball history rarely shoots the best shot in the NBA.