One of the goals the Timberwolves have entering next season is to keep up with the Joneses of the NBA, the Rockets and Warriors, and take more three-pointers.
To do that, they brought back Anthony Tolliver, a familiar face from his two seasons in Minnesota from 2010-12. But Tolliver’s game might look a little different.
As Tolliver, 33, has aged, he has moved his game outward like many NBA players. He went from attempting 1.8 three-pointers per game in 2010-11 to averaging 4.6 last season for the Pistons.
Where Tolliver will help the Wolves the most is how he attempts his three-pointers. More than three quarters of Tolliver’s shot attempts were catch-and-shoot three-pointers, according to NBA.com, and he was proficient when he shot them.
Of players that played in at least 41 regular-season games and attempted at least two catch-and-shoot threes per game, Tolliver ranked ninth in the NBA in catch-and-shoot three-point percentage at 44.9. That put him ahead of such marksmen as the Warriors’ Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry and just behind shooters like Cleveland’s Kyle Korver and Philadelphia’s JJ Redick.
Nobody took fewer catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season than the Wolves, who attempted them on only 19.3 percent of their shots. Teams generally shoot a significantly higher percentage of catch-and-shoot threes than they do pullup threes. For the Wolves, that difference last season was 38.3 percent vs. 29.8. Shooting more of that type of three-pointer is a priority for them for next season.
Karl-Anthony Towns took 3.2 catch-and-shoot threes per game while Nemanja Bjelica, who recently signed with the 76ers, attempted 2.5.
Tolliver promises to raise that mark. With the weapons the Wolves have on offense, a player who specializes in that kind of shot can help to space the floor and stretch defenses to make life easier for those around the basket. Tolliver shot a career-high 43.6 percent on three-pointers last season, improving from 36 percent two seasons ago.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Tolliver improved his percentage thanks to technology from a company known as Noahlytics. Noahlytics measures a shot’s angle and trajectory and gives players data on how likely they are to make or miss shots based on that information. Tolliver found his shot needed more arc, and the resulting changes he made helped him up his percentage. The Lynx employ Noahlytics at their practices.
“I literally used it one time, and I could tell the difference in my thought processes as far as what I need to do to make sure I make the next shot,” Tolliver told the Free Press.
Tolliver should add that missing dimension from the Wolves offense to make them more efficient in stretches, and he could help ease some of the scoring burden from the main contributors.