The Truth About Shooting More Threes

“The Truth About Shooting More Threes” by Coach Doug Brotherton was originally published by HoopGrind Basketball

In the NBA, teams are embracing the analytics, which encourages teams to shoot lay-ups and threes. According to the data, mid-range jump shots are inefficient and do not lead to success. Like most things in basketball, the NBA is the trendsetter, so now college basketball coaches are doing the same thing, and even high school coaches are preaching that lay-ups and threes are the key to building a successful team. High School basketball is where the debate heats up, as a lot of long time successful coaches are not interested in adapting to this new strategy. After reading a recent debate on Twitter, I decided to dive into the numbers. Below is the process that was used for this project.

  • Use MaxPreps to gather three-point shooting statistics
  • Find the three-point attempts per game numbers for all of the 200 teams that qualified.
  • Separate the teams who shot the most three point shots per game (30+ attempts per game), from the teams who shot the fewest three pointers per game (under 20 attempts per game).
  • Look up the WIN/LOSS RECORD of all of these teams, to find out if increased three point attempts per game correlate to a higher winning percentage.
  • Gather the POINTS PER GAME for each team, to find out if increased three point attempts results in a higher points per game average.

Here is the table that I created:



After diving into the data, it supports the belief that shooting more three pointers will result in scoring more points offensively. In fairness, this study does not include pace of play, or any metric to judge the caliber of opponents. It simply shows that high school boys teams who shoot 30+ three pointers per game, score significantly more points than teams who attempt less than 20 three point attempts per game. This remains true, despite the fact that the teams shooting more three pointers, shot a much lower percentage from deep.

  • Teams shooting 30+ three pointers shoot at an average percentage of 31% and score 76.9 points per game.
  • Teams shooting under 20 three pointers make 37% of their attempts, but only score 63.7 points per game.



The results here actually show the exact opposite. Shooting more three pointers, at the High School level, does not correlate to winning more games. In fact, teams shooting under 20 three point attempts per game won 73% of their games, while the teams shooting over 30 three point attempts per game won only 67% of their games. As one can see, this study only involved the 200 teams that MaxPreps listed. The requirements to be listed are that a team must have played at least 18 games, and attempted a minimum of 226 three pointers on the season.

  • Teams shooting 30+ three pointers won 67% of their games.
  • Teams shooting under 20 three pointers won 73% of their games.


In conclusion, this project is far from perfect, but it supports something that most experienced coaches already know. There are a lot of different ways to win high school basketball games. If your philosophy is to score more points, then attempting more three point shots should help your team accomplish this goal. It is just important to note that shooting more three point shots does NOT guarantee that your team will be more successful. If you want your team to maximize their ability, then you must find the balance between what your players do well, and how that can be incorporated into your system.

To further the discussion, you can contact Coach Doug Brotherton via Twitter: @CoachBrotherton
Or you can reach him via e-mail at:
You can also reach us via Twitter at: @DynamicCoaches

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