Phoenix Suns shooting no concern amid league-wide preseason struggles

The Phoenix Suns shock loss to the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday was predicated on an enormous three-point shooting differential, with the NBL team lighting it up from beyond the arc.

Adelaide shot 24-for-43 (55.8%) from three-point range, scoring 45 more points from deep as the Suns went 9-for-34 (26.5%). Phoenix’s dominance from inside the arc was a theme of their league-leading regular season in 2021-22, with that continuing against the 36ers as they shot 39-for-64 (60.9%) compared to 22-for-40 (55%) .

While the 36ers shooting proved jaw-dropping and ultimately match-winning, the Suns sub-standard mark was unsurprising given the numbers produced across the NBA so far.

The Phoenix Suns three-point shooting on Sunday night has been indicative of league-wide struggles throughout the opening 13 games of preseason.

Early season shooting struggles aren’t uncommon as players look to acclimate back to competitive on-court action. Many current and former players have alluded to the physical difficulty of doing this, subsequently leaving a lot of jump shots short and hitting front rim.

Through 13 games of the preseason thus far, NBA teams (excluding Adelaide and Maccabi Ra’anana) have shot an average of 31.9% from three. For context, the league average was 35.4% last season and 36.7% in 2020-21.

Phoenix Suns’ Torrey Craig shot 1-for-4 from three on Sunday night. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

While the league percentage may be down, it’s not as if the constant barrage of three-point attempts has slowed down. Teams are averaging just under 36 attempts, a slight increase from the 35.2 of last regular season. It’ll be interesting to see if the increase in three-point attempts continues for a 12th straight season.

Those wanting to watch an offensive masterclass best have not tuned in to a battle between two of the Suns pacific rivals; the Los Angeles Lakers playing host to the Sacramento Kings on Monday. The teams combined to shoot 16-for-69 (23.2%) from three as the Kings ran away with a 30-point win in the second half.

These are all early preseason numbers after all, and the percentages should revert back towards 35% soon enough. It’s just proof that Sun’s fans shouldn’t be concerned with their three-point shooting numbers from Sunday’s loss.

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