Michael Jordan dominated the game behind his offensive prowess focused on scoring from inside the arc. Jordan stretched the floor with his 3-point shot, but it never became a consistent part of his game. The former Chicago Bulls great reluctance to venture that route came down to a methodical reason.
Michael Jordan’s illustrious NBA career
Jordan played 15 seasons, where he established himself as arguably the game’s greatest talent.
His resume speaks for itself as he set numerous league records and individual historical feats. Much of his illustrious legacy is defined by his championship success, as he won six NBA titles in as many appearances.
Jordan has won NBA Finals MVP and five regular-season MVP awards, earned 14 All-Star Game selections and 10 All-NBA First Team nods, received a Defensive Player of the Year award, and garnered 10 scoring titles. He stepped up his game in the playoffs, averaging 33.4 points per contest while setting a league record with eight 50-point performances.
As he progressed through his career, he developed from finding success through his athletic ability to becoming a dominant mid-range factor. However, he never pushed his way to depend on his 3-point shooting. All that came down to a specific reason why he never adopted that approach.
Michael Jordan admitted the simple reason why he never truly embraced shooting 3-pointers
Jordan‘s offensive identity was built through his relentless ability to get to the rim while dominating the mid-range game.
However, the 3-point shot never became a significant aspect of his repertoire as he shot 32.7% for his career while taking 1.7 attempts per contest. During the 1992 NBA Finals, Jordan revealed why he had a lack of willingness to take the 3-point shot.
“My three-point shooting is something I don’t want to excel at because it takes away from all phases of my game, Jordan said. “My game is fake, drive to the hole, penetrate, dish-off, dunk. When you have that mentality of making threes, you don’t go to the hole as much. You go to the three-point line and start sitting there, waiting for someone to find you. That’s not my mentality, and I don’t want to create it because it takes away from the other parts of my game.”
Jordan’s offensive mentality featured a heavy reliance on scoring from inside the arc. His tireless work ethic guided him to become a highly effective mid-range scorer, while his footwork and first step allowed him to score at the rim.
His game never became predicated on his 3-point shot. He never averaged more than 3.6 three-point attempts in any campaign while falling below 2.0 shots per contest all but four times.
It wasn’t that Jordan didn’t work on his 3-point shooting ability, but rather, he felt that it was a part of his game that didn’t want to depend on significantly. His game didn’t suffer, and further excelled in other areas that cemented him as arguably the greatest player in league history.
Would Michael Jordan have excelled as a 3-pointer shooter in today’s NBA?
Although Jordan never fully embraced making the 3-point shot a consistent part of his game, he would have incorporated it if he felt necessary.
Over the last decade, the NBA has transitioned to a greater dependency on the 3-pointer. Jordan could have worked to the point of it becoming an adequate shooter like many of the game’s best players.
He found success from 3-point range in the first two years of the second three-peat. He hit at a 42.7% clip on 3.2 attempts in the 1995-96 campaign and 37.4% on 3.6 attempts in the 1996-97 season. All those factors make it hard to imagine wouldn’t have adjusted his game effectively.