Rockets’ PJ Tucker once again leads NBA in corner three-pointers

Houston Rockets wing PJ Tucker has a hot spot on the court and it’s become one of the most important parts of his offense. For the second year in a row, Tucker is one of the NBA’s best corner three-point shooters.

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In the graphic above, which shows the leading scorers by zone, Tucker appears on the left side and right side on corner three-pointers. He has connected on 36-of-78 (46.2 percent) of his attempts from the corners, per Cleaning the Glass.

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The 33-year-old forward leads the league in both attempts (41) and made shots (23) from the right corner, shooting over 56.0 percent on these looks. He has been the most accurate shooter from this zone among every player who has had at least 10 looks.

Meanwhile, no one has made more three-pointers from the right corner (13) than Tucker as well. Indiana’s Bojan Bogdanovic has been more accurate on the right corner, but he hasn’t hit as many shots from there as Tucker.

His volume and success from the corners have been a trend for several years. Tucker led the league in three-point attempts (117) and makes (50) from the left corner last season. But despite his strength on the left, Tucker also connected on more shots from the right side than all but four players.

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The previous season, once again, Tucker took the most 3s (84) and hit the most (34) from the left side. His pairing with head coach Mike D’Antoni is like a match made in heaven for this play type.

It’s no surprise someone like Tucker who’s coached by D’Antoni leads the league in attempted 3s from the corner. Offenses that D’Antoni has run have been among the most effective from this zone several times during his coaching career.

In fact, his offensive frequency for this play type has ranked in the Top 10  among all teams during the past 14 seasons that he has spent as a head coach. It’s no coincidence that, in addition to Tucker, former Rockets swingman Trevor Ariza led the NBA in right-corner 3s during the 2016-17 season (56) and the 2017-18 season (49).

Jonathan Feigen, who covers the Rockets, described how D’Antoni runs his offensive system (via Houston Chronicle):

“The Rockets rarely move without the ball. There are occasional cuts. More pin-down screens have been added to free shooters. But the Rockets would happily station shooters in each corner and on the wing, run pick-and-roll in the middle and have the point guard determine which standstill shooter is open to shoot a 3.”

The starting lineup has two shooters (Tucker is joined by James Ennis) on the corners. Clint Capela mans the center while James Harden and Chris Paul are incredible ball-handlers who are both capable of dominating during one-on-one opportunities.

But this five-man grouping only works if both players on the wing can consistently knock down their corner attempts. Otherwise, defenders can double-team either Harden or Paul. Ennis, too, has been elite on corner attempts – shooting over 50 percent from this zone.

If he and Tucker both hit corner 3s frequently, it’ll help make D’Antoni’s offense as successful as its been in the past.

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