The Spurs' 3-point struggles should be no more in 2023

Josh Richardson, Devin Vassell
Josh Richardson, Devin Vassell / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages

3-point shooting has become an increasingly big part of the NBA, but for years, the San Antonio Spurs have lagged behind the rest of the league in that area. In fact, this season marked their seventh consecutive bottom-five finish in 3-point attempts per game. As a result, their offense has suffered, and they ranked just 19th in the NBA in offensive rating.

San Antonio worked to address their lack of shooting last offseason by signing Doug McDermott and drafting Joshua Primo. Those moves produced mixed results. McDermott drilled a terrific 42.2% of his 3-point attempts but was unable to stay healthy and missed 31 games while Primo shot just 30.7 % from three as a rookie.

Fortunately, McDermott figures to play more next season, undoubtedly helping San Antonio's spacing, and Primo is a better shooter than he's shown and shouldn't continue to struggle. Both players should play an important role next season, in addition to Josh Richardson.

Richardson was acquired in the deal that shipped former Spur Derrick White to Boston and has shot the ball incredibly well since joining the team.

Actually, post-trade, he's hitting 44.4% of his threes, compared to White, who has hit less than 30% of his threes in Boston.

With Richardson back next season, the Spurs will have another veteran to match McDermott as an accurate, high-volume 3-point shooter. That would allow the team to have at least one sharpshooter on the floor at all times, which could have a positive effect on San Antonio's offense considering they have several rotation players who seldom take threes.

Meanwhile, Devin Vassell, who was named a starter following the White trade, could have a breakout season next year. He showed improvement throughout his second season and finished strong, averaging 17.8 points per game in his last seven games by firing away from three.

Vassell nailed 44% of his 8.3 3-point attempts during that stretch and could take a similar amount next season. In doing so, he’d also fill another role vacated by White, who was sort of a de facto designated shooter and had the leeway to be aggressive shooting from outside while others didn't. White was miscast in that role considering his inconsistency as a shooter. Vassell is better suited for it. 

Dejounte Murray will also be key to San Antonio reinventing their offense. He evolved into the team’s best player and led the Spurs in scoring and assists this season and created plenty of open 3-point attempts. 

In fact, on average, his passes led to nearly 30% of the team's 3-point attempts and he assisted on 3.3 of San Antonio's made 3-pointers per game. Moreover, with perimeter players like McDermott, Richardson, Vassell, and Primo, he could generate even more open shots for those knock-down shooters. That would help to dramatically increase the Spurs' number of attempts and lead to more made threes, no doubt increasing the team's offensive efficiency.

All in all, San Antonio figures to be much better from beyond the arc next season, with their additions over the last couple of seasons potentially paying big dividends. Murray will also factor in. He's already great at creating open shots on the perimeter but could be even more effective with better shooting around him.

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Were that to happen, it could signal that the Spurs will finally end their 3-point shooting woes next season.

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