Can Torrey Craig continue his 3-point hot streak?
Torrey Craig is a player we’ve mentioned multiple times already as the Portland Trail Blazers gear up for their most important offseason in a long time. That’s because there’s not many better 3-and-D options that are to hit the market this summer that’ll come at his price tag.
His perimeter defense speaks for itself. At 6’7 with an equally lengthy wingspan, Craig can matchup against nearly any other wing in the league and bother them. His lateral quickness also allows him to switch onto smaller guards, an ability that Portland fans are all too familiar with.
What’s worth watching is how he continues to show the improvements he made on his outside jumper. So far in the 2021 postseason, he’s hit a scorching 48 percent of his deep looks. Granted, that’s only on 23 attempts in 11 games, but his marksmanship so far makes it a bad idea to shade off of him behind the arc.
If he can extend his hot streak, there’s no doubt that he’ll be a valuable asset off the Blazers bench. He probably won’t hit over 40 percent of his threes for whichever team he’s on next season, but his rise in 3-point percentage each year so far is an encouraging sign for his growth.
Craig knows better than anybody that the future of his career is entirely dependent on his ability to improve his outside jumper; it’s clear that he’s worked on it over time.
Examine the difference in his shot between the series against the Blazers two years ago and in this year’s first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s minimized the hitch in his shot, leading to a quick, more compact release with less chance for variability.
Now that he’s found a form that’s working for him, all that’s left to do is continue to get reps, grow his confidence in his jumper, and take and make them in games that count.
He hit both of his triples in the Suns Game 1 victory over the Clips in the WCF, and finished a game-high +18 in his 14 minutes played.
If the Blazers can sign him for the minimum, then it’s a no-brainer decision, regardless of how he continues to shoot. But if he can finish over 40 percent while helping the Suns make their deepest playoff run since Steve Nash laced up, he could be worth the Blazers MLE.