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January 4, 2012, 11:37 PM ET
DeMar DeRozan Can Make Better History

by Kevin Pelton

Over 82 games last season, DeMar DeRozan made five three-pointers in 52 attempts. On Wednesday night, DeRozan matched that total in eight attempts in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As NBA.com’s John Schuhmann noted yesterday, DeRozan’s three-point percentage (9.6 percent) was the worst in NBA history for a player with at least 50 attempts. On a more positive note, DeRozan has a chance to make history again. If he shoots better than 35.6 percent from beyond the arc this season, DeRozan will make the largest single-season improvement by any player with at least 50 attempts both seasons. That record currently belongs to Josh Childress, who went from 23.2 percent to 49.2 percent between his first and second campaigns. Just one other player (Hubert Davis, after a fluke down year) has improved his three-point percentage by more than 20 percent.

It’s surely much too early to speculate where DeRozan (currently 10-of-16, 62.5 percent) might finish the season. Already, however, he’s shown more development than most players make after shooting so poorly from downtown.

Player                   Year    3P%   3P   3A    3P%

DeMar DeRozan            2011   .096   10   16   .625
Dennis Johnson           1987   .113   12   46   .261
Michael Jordan           1988   .132   27   98   .276
Greg Anthony             1992   .145    4   30   .133
Detlef Schrempf          1993   .154   22   68   .324
Larry Hughes             1999   .154   29  125   .232
Mookie Blaylock          1991   .154   12   54   .222
Allen Leavell            1984   .155    8   37   .216
Micheal Ray Richardson   1983   .157   14   58   .241
Larry Drew               1987   .167   26   90   .289
Ray Williams             1982   .167   15   74   .203
Tony Campbell            1990   .167   16   61   .262
Rod Strickland           1997   .169   12   48   .250
Terence Stansbury        1986   .170   11   29   .379
Dwyane Wade              2006   .171   21   79   .266
Michael Jordan           1985   .173    3   18   .167

DeRozan has already made more threes the following season than three of the previous 15 guys who shot worse than 17.5 percent with at least 50 attempts. No one in this group made more than 30 triples the next year, a number that DeRozan has a chance to breeze past.

There’s another encouraging fact here, and it’s the number of these players who eventually became competent outside shooters. Obviously Michael Jordan stands out. Jordan eventually became a fine three-point shooter, especially when the line was moved in from 1994-95 through 1996-97. Mookie Blaylock ranks 29th in NBA history in threes. And Detlef Schrempf shot 38.4 percent in his career, including 51.4 percent in 1994-95. So even before his successful start to the year, it was much too early to write off DeRozan’s chances of developing into an accurate marksman.

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