D'Angelo Russell from the Los Angeles Lakers
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell set a franchise record for single-season 3-pointers

Published March 23, 2024 at 8:02 PM
Kevin Barreau
March 23, 2024  (8:02 PM)

D'Angelo Russell's comeback season with the Los Angeles Lakers has witnessed him excel from various spots on the court, notably from long range. He's achieving a career-high 42.4% accuracy from beyond the arc this season, averaging almost three 3-pointers per game. This achievement not only leads the current Lakers roster but also etches his name in Lakers history. In Friday's matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, Russell's first 3-pointer of the game marked his 184th of the season. This surpassed Nick Van Exel's previous record for the most 3-pointers made by a Laker in a single season. Despite missing his initial attempts, Russell eventually found his rhythm with a 25-foot shot, assisted by LeBron James.

Initially, one might assume that leading a prestigious franchise such as the Lakers in any single-season category is exceptionally impressive. However, the reality is that the Lakers have never been known for their proficiency in 3-point shooting.

The Lakers, historically, haven't centered their team around a superstar whose primary offensive strategy relies on 3-pointers. In contrast, if you look at the Warriors, the top 18 single-season 3-point shooting records are dominated by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, providing context for why the Lakers' record is relatively low.

Nick Van Exel stands out as an exception here, achieving his record in the 90s. Most other players on this list are 21st-century shooters, which aligns with the league's evolving trend towards increased 3-point attempts. In 1995, when Van Exel set his record, the average NBA team attempted 15.3 3-pointers per game. This figure has since risen significantly, now averaging at 35 per game.

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How did Van Exel achieve his record during a time when 3-pointers weren't as common? The NBA shortened the 3-point line to a uniform distance of 22 feet from the basket starting in the 1994-95 season, which lasted until the 1996-97 season. Notably, Van Exel's appearances on this list coincide with that period.

Before Russell, most of the Lakers' top shooting seasons came from role players in recent years or during unusual stretches in history. However, with nearly a month left in the season, Russell has the opportunity to enhance this record and potentially become the first Laker in team history to reach 200 3-pointers in a single season.

While this milestone may not carry the same weight in 2024, as numerous players have achieved it, including 20 players just last season alone, it does signify the Lakers' transition towards modern shooting standards. Considering this record was previously held by Van Exel, the Lakers' progress in this area is noteworthy.

Source CBS Sports : D'Angelo Russell sets Lakers record for most 3-pointers in a single season, but that's not saying much
March 23   |   2 answers
Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell set a franchise record for single-season 3-pointers

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