During Media Day, Quincy Pondexter announced to all reporters within earshot, "I am a great shooter. I know that." If either confidence or most recent performances count the most, he's absolutely right. In a Pelicans uniform, he converted on 43.3% of his three-point attempts.
During the second half of the season (the final 41 games), Q-Pon finished 8th in the top 10 of 3PT FG%. Although Eric Gordon finished 3rd on that list, he wasn't really as impressive as Pondexter to close out the season. Following the All-Star break, Gordon's 44.6% paled in comparison to Pondexter's 46.4%. Furthermore, for the months of March and April, Q-Pon shot a blistering 48.5% and 48.8% respectively.
Did you know that Ryan Anderson and Gordon have only managed to shoot for as high of a monthly percentage just once (a minimum of 200 monthly minutes played)? Yep, Gordon proved to be as dominant last February where he made an incredible 53.8% of his 3-pointers. However, that's it. Once for Gordon and none for Anderson. The flame thrower's best three-point shooting percentage (45.5%) occurred back in November of 2012, his first month as a member of the New Orleans organization.
What do you think? If 100 people were asked to name the Pelicans best three point shooter among the regular rotation (sorry Luke Babbitt fans), do you believe all 100 would say either Anderson or Gordon?
Career statistics seem to support this notion: Anderson (37.9%), Gordon (38.3%) and Pondexter (36.5%). However, everything changes if we're allowed one logical cherry-pick. Before Q-Pon came over from Memphis last season, he was really struggling. In 30 games, he made just 17 out of 73 three-point attempts (23.3%).
As I mentioned back in January, it appeared Pondexter's relationship with head coach David Joerger was responsible for a significant portion of the woes. In fact, Scott Kushner of the Advocate reiterated the same notion earlier in the week.
During Media Day and before Q-Pon proclaimed he's a fantastic shooter to the group holding a wide array of recording devices, he attempted to explain the overwhelming improvement witnessed in his three-point shooting upon leaving the Memphis Grizzlies. He offered several off-the-cuff suggestions and one of them included the change in scenery. "It might have been a bit of a coaching change for me."
Look, the real reason doesn't matter, and there is certainly no sense in prodding one of the nicest players around any further, but for our purposes please understand that excluding Pondexter's 2014-15 Memphis numbers is logical. Anomalies should be recognized and treated accordingly. If those 73 attempts are removed from his career total of 553, his NBA three-point percentage would spike from 36.5% to 38.5%, placing him ahead of both Anderson and Gordon.
Now let's dream a little bigger. Kyle Korver, considered the best three-shooter in the game today, didn't experience his best seasons from the perimeter until he turned 28. During the last six years of his career, he has led the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage three times. Prior to his age 28-season, he was a career 40.0% shooter. Since, that three-point percentage sits at a sparkling 46.3%.
Quincy Pondexter will be entering his age-27 season. Equally as important, he is coming off of the two best perimeter shooting months of his career, a level that more renowned shooters like Anderson and Gordon have only combined to duplicate just once.
Best of all, he appears extremely happy to be in New Orleans. He is one of the leaders of the team who has already gone on record stating he thinks this upcoming season will be the best in franchise history. In my opinion, he was the best small forward in the deal that brought him to the Crescent City, he may already be the best three-point shooter on the team, not named Babbitt, and the odds might be in his favor that the best years still lay ahead.
Let's hope his knee rehabilitation comes to a positive conclusion in the near future and he'll manage to play for the rest of the season unabated. Alvin Gentry can never have enough weapons of Pondexter's caliber in his uptempo system and the Pelicans will be a noticeable stronger team for it.