It’s a make or break concept; to live or to die by the three-pointer. For Orlando, it never worked in the long run, as there were too many games with too many “sharpshooters” (see: Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis) who just kept missing. Then again, there are the teams who can put it together to win the big ones (i.e. Mike Miller, Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals).
Yet the three-point shot is something that Charlotte has struggled to grasp over the years. Steven Jackson and Gerald Wallace did what they could, and D.J. Augustin wasn’t too shabby when it came to hoisting up the long-ball, but the Bobcats haven’t been able to find that dynamite three-point specialist to lead the team from beyond the arc.
This season, though, the duties for shooting threes have been spread around, with plenty of the shots-to-come from new acquisition Ben Gordon, a lifetime .406% three-point shooter. Also, Kemba Walker looks to improve his shooting percentage from beyond the arc, as does fourth-year man and incumbent shooting guard Gerald Henderson; Matt Carroll, Reggie Williams, and Jeff Taylor will also look to get in on the fun off the bench.
There is, however, one player that insists on shooting three-pointers for the Bobcats, but the Cats may be better off if he simply stopped. Byron Mullens, a fourth-year player out of Ohio State, has struggled early this season from three-point land, and it’s hard to tell if his shooting will improve. He’s only 2-of-14 from beyond the arc, a mere .142%, and only .357% from the field total.
It’s times like these that cause one to scratch their heads about what is unfolding in front of them. Byron Mullens is seven-feet tall. Byron Mullens weighs 275 pounds. One would assume that Byron Mullens would use his height and frame to pound the ball inside and play like the average “big man”. Mullens, however, tends to float around the three-point line and fire away whenever his defender gives him enough room.
This just in: every defender should give a seven-footer enough room from 26-feet away, because no seven-footer should be taking those shots. Mullens, it seems, is content with taking the easy shot rather than banging around with the big boys for higher-percentage looks around the rim.
Consider the following: in two regular season games this year, Mullens is 10-of-28 from the field, yet 2-of-14 from three. Rework the percentages, and Mullens is shooting 7-of-14, or 50%, from within the three-point line. Likewise, Mullens shot 17-of-38 in the preseason when shooting from within the three-point line, good for .447% from the field.
Mullens’ shot selection is proving to be costly for the Bobcats. He’s not making his low-percentage shots, and continues to take them. Also, by setting up on the perimeter and so far away from the paint, Mullens is missing out on rebounding opportunities, a category in which Charlotte has yet to lead this season (outrebounded 52-41 & 43-38).
Byron Mullens has confidence in his abilities, a key factor for any young team looking to rebuild. What a young team like the Bobcats don’t need are ill-advised shots, such as the ones Mullens has been taking. It’s about time he stopped.