Is Kevin Porter Jr’s 3-Point Shooting Sustainable?

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets
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Houston Rockets, Kevin Porter Jr
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Digging Into the Data on Porter's 3-Point Shot

Single season 3-point shooting is incredibly fickle. According to analysis, it takes about 750 3-point attempts for 3-point shooting to stabilize. Only one player last season, Stephen Curry, reached that figure, and he came in at an even 750. Porter, even as a high-volume 3-point shooter, only took 413 last season and has taken 732 in his career. This doesn’t mean his 37.5% shooting from deep last season should be written off, but it does mean his 32.3% shooting on 319 attempts in his first two seasons shouldn’t be either. 

Where Porter did his damage as a 3-point shooter also needs to be taken into account. He shot 48.2% on 1.9 catch and shoot 3-point attempts per game and 33.2% on 4.8 pull-up 3-point attempts per game. While his 3-point efficiency was far better on catch and shoot attempts than pull-ups, given context, it was actually his pull-up shooting that stood out more.

Porter’s 3-point shooting on pull-ups last season was exceptional, but 293 attempts aren’t enough to know if he’ll continue to shoot the lights out. His shooting on wide open (43%) and open (38.2%) threes also far outstripped his shooting when tightly covered (25.4%). That’s far from surprising, but it does raise questions about how repeatable his 3-point shooting will be when on the ball. 

One area of concern for Porter to maintain his 3-point shooting from last season is his free throw shooting. Looking at the top-200 players by 3-point shooting efficiency to take at least 100 3-pointers and free throws between the 2018-19 season and the 2021-22 season there is a .365 linear correlation between 3-point shooting and free throw shooting. 

dark. Related. Finding a Fair Kevin Porter Jr Extension

In short, 3-point shooting isn’t a massive predictor of free throw shooting, but there is some positive correlation. Porter shot 64.2% from the free throw line last season and is a career 68.6% shooter from the stripe. Last season, his 3-point efficiency was 6% better than league average, but his free throw shooting was 17% below league average. 

The only player who posted similarly divergent 3-point to free throw shooting efficiency was Ish Smith, who is a career 32.5% 3-point shooter. His free throw woes are not a death sentence for him as an efficient high-volume 3-point shooter, but it is something to monitor.