Since Mike Budenholzer took over as head coach in Milwaukee, the Bucks have had a mantra of “Let It Fly.”
However, never has that saying meant so much as it has this month.
Entering Tuesday night’s game against Charlotte, the Bucks are shooting 3-pointers at an unprecedented pace in team history.
Milwaukee is taking 44.7 shots from behind the arc this month. Only Golden State (45.9) has attempted more and just one other team – Boston (40.5) has attempted more than 39s per games in January.
It’s not just the amount of 3s for the Bucks, it’s the ratio.
The Bucks are putting up 90.6 field-goal attempts per game. That means 49.3% of any shot which leaves a Milwaukee’s player’s hand is being done from behind the arc.
Barring a game plan devoid of 3s (which seems highly unlikely especially in this era of hoops), the Bucks will set a franchise record in a month for 3-point attempt rate. The previous high was 46.2% in August 2020 during the NBA bubble. In non-COVID years, 45.8% in November 2021 was the high-water mark.
This is also something of a departure from previous months this season. Although, again, the 3-pointer is a heavy component of any team in this day and age, Milwaukee’s 3-point rates in the first three months were (in order from October-December) 42.2%, 41.8% and 42.3%.
But it’s not like Milwaukee is just chucking the ball up. The Bucks are hitting at a 39.1% clip from 3, a hefty increase from earlier in the season. Milwaukee made only 33.4% from behind the arc in October, 35.5% in November and 34.2% in December.
Of all the high-volume shooting 3-point teams in the NBA this month, no one has been more accurate than the Bucks. Golden State is close at 39.0% but Boston is at 35.4%, Utah (38.3 attempts) 38.3% and Dallas (38.0) 36.3%. Sacramento, at 39.7%, has taken the most attempts and had a higher percentage than Milwaukee, although the Kings are at 35.5 shots from 3, nearly 10 fewer per game than the Bucks.
Eight Bucks players, albeit with varying playing time, are hitting at least 40% from 3 in January with three others at 37% or better.
It’s no coincidence that Milwaukee is averaging 115.1 points in January – the most of any month this season (the Bucks will need to score a decent amount against the Hornets to not slip below the 114.6 average from December). The Bucks are also 10-5 this month entering the final day, the team’s best winning percentage since October, when they went 6-0 despite averaging only 103.8 points).
The Bucks are truly letting it fly – and it’s gotten them up to second in the conference, 2 1/2 games in back of the Celtics. Perhaps it’s their path to the top as well.