True or false: Shooting is the hottest commodity in the NBA these days.
The answer is trickier than you might think.
From the treetops, it looks like 3-pointers are in vogue more than ever. Teams fired an average of 22.9 3-point attempts every 100 possessions last season -- the highest in league history and more than double the rate two decades ago, in 1993-94. In the big-man department, Paul Millsap added the 3-pointer to help him earn an All-Star spot, and Chris Bosh grabbed two championships with a newly minted trifecta.
One way we can tackle the "hot commodity" question is to look at the free-agency market. Remember when everyone freaked out about the Jodie Meeks contract on the opening day of free agency? The shooting-starved Pistons threw $19 million over three years to Kobe Bryant's backup-turned-starter last season. Why? Because he can shoot the heck out of the ball. Meeks was a career-high 40.1 percent from downtown last season while averaging 15.7 points per game as a 2-guard, a position that is shallower than a puddle. So he got his money.
But Meeks is only one tiny speck among nearly 100 players who have signed this offseason. If shooting -- particularly the 3-point variety -- has become all the rage, wouldn't we be able to see it in the contract data?
This is where it gets interesting. My feeling heading into this study was that we'd see an enormous shooting effect on the free-agency market. If you can shoot 3s, you're due for a big payday. From the other side of the table, teams were paying a premium just to get in on the 3-point action. Or so I thought.