3-and-D means being active on both sides of the court—to be able to make that three-point shot consistently, then still be able to cause turnovers, and play good defense. In this list, we focused on players of teams that have reached as far as the NBA Playoffs.
To keep moving without the ball, hoping to get a free look and then still come back on defense when you don’t get free can be pretty tiring, particularly when you’re 37 years old. That is what Kyle Korver does, though. No other name comes easily to mind when the phrase “catch and shoot” is uttered. As for his defense, one TV commentator once remarked that Korver ranks right up there with Scottie Pippen. The Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard almost always plays honest defense and usually makes those deflections.
A 6’9” small forward of the Philadelphia 76ers, Covington is a streak shooter, who at one time during the current NBA season, averaged 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. You may recall that game in which the 76ers scored 70 points during the first half—against a Golden State Warriors team that was shooting over 50 percent. Covington was partly responsible for that barrage of points by raining a succession of threes during those two quarters.
Boston seems to be a training ground for hitherto unknown players blossoming into important pieces of the team. Coach Brad Stevens is a master at making do with a motley crew of a team missing its star players but is still able to compete. We know Rozier can make that three. With the absence of Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier took over the point guard chores for the Celtics, and with him guarding Eric Bledsoe of the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston jumped to an early 2-0 lead in that first round series, which they ended up winning eventually.
Okay, George was like an embarrassment during this year’s NBA three-point shootout. He made the least number of shots among the participants even as the LA crowd cheered for him—encouraging him to choose Los Angeles as his destination upon entering free agency this coming summer. Winning the three-point shootout, however, does not at all measure the value of a player to his team—Reggie Miller participated in the contest no less than six times without ever winning it. George’s contributions to the Oklahoma Thunder’s playoff aspirations are self-evident: making the clutch three, driving to the hoop, and even making steals during pivotal parts of the game. If he decides to go to his hometown LA, people there will surely welcome him.
He has been given a number of monikers, most notably “Slo-mo Joe” and “Jingle Joe.” Whatever he is called, we know one thing: leave him open beyond the arc and it’s like Christmas for him and his Jazz team. During Utah’s 11-game winning streak during the regular season, Ingles shot 54.2 percent from the 3-point area. As for his defense, Ingles is able to guard multiple positions. His physique has improved: He has even guarded Lebron James. Those looks, reminiscent of a hulking math teacher—he is 6’8” after all—are deceiving. The Utah Jazz management knew what they were getting when they gave Joe a $52-million contract extension.
Ariza averaged a 41.5-percent clip from beyond the arc in 22 games after the All-Star break. We know that if the Houston Rockets reach the NBA Finals, much of the offensive load will be carried by Harden, Paul, and Capela. But someone has to take on the cudgels for the defensive end. They have to get past the Golden State Warriors first to reach the Finals, so the question is who’s going to guard Kevin Durant? Look no further than Ariza.