How the corner 3 became the easiest shot in the NBA

Philadelphia 76ers forward P.J. Tucker has made the corner 3-pointer his signature shot. Eric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images

Tucked into the most claustrophobic area on the hardwood 22 feet away from the rim lies the home of one of the most important shots in modern basketball.

The corner 3 is more than one of the most tactically important shots in the league, it has also come to symbolize the data-driven evolution in game play that has turned the sport inside out in the 21st century.

In 2023, corner 3s are a major part of virtually every NBA offense. Despite the fact that the corners represent just a tiny fraction of the jump-shooting real estate on an NBA court, they now account for a whopping 19.6% of the league's total jump shot attempts.

Aside from shots at the rim, the corner 3 is now the most common field goal attempt in the best basketball league in the world, and the best teams in the league know how to hunt out the shot's efficiency -- and exploit it to open up the rest of the court for the league's biggest stars.

Michael Jordan's final NBA championship represented the end of an era. In 1997-98, corner 3s represented just 3% of all field goal attempts leaguewide. An average game included just 4.7 total shots from the corner. The 1997-98 Utah Jazz, who lost to Jordan's Bulls in the Finals, attempted just 105 corner 3s all season.

By last season, corner 3s accounted for 10% of the league's shots, and an average game included 17.6 of them. The same Jazz who barely attempted one per game en route to the Finals took a whopping 852 in 2021-22, third most in the NBA.

Times have changed. So have strategies.