May 3, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks small forward Kyle Korver (26) attempts a three over Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) in the first half of game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Can Kyle Korver Maintain His Production in the Coming Years?

Kyle Korver is staying in Atlanta with his 73-game three-point shooting streak still intact.

Korver reportedly agreed to a four-year, $24 million contract. Most have called it a fair contract, especially compared to the similarly sized contract between J.R. Smith and the New York Knicks.

As a top-15 three-point shooter in NBA history, Korver’s contributions to the team won’t be a surprise to anyone. His role will most likely be a carbon copy of what he brought to the Highlight Factory last season. He has become a master of curling off of down screens and finding his long-range stroke, whether in the corner or above the arc break. Here is a heat map of his per, where the size of the dots represents the number of shots from that location. Also, red = good / blue = bad. Pretty simple, right?

It’s no secret that players tend to decline as they advance past the age of 30. Korver’s contract will run into the 2017-18 season, when he’ll turn 37 that March. But as a shooter who doesn’t rely on a large amount of strength or agility, will his skills, and more importantly his production, diminish over the course of the contract? Take a look at the career leaders in three-point shooting percentage in the link above. We can compare him to other shooters at this stage in their career and see how they fared in their 33-36 age period.

I took a few notable .400%+ all-time three-point shooters that matched a similar criteria of playing to the age of 36 or 37. Those I selected were all-era shooters Steve Kerr, Jeff Hornacek, and Ray Allen.

Player 3P% PER Win Shares Win Shares/48 Minutes
Kyle Korver, career .419 13.0 44.1 .115
Steve Kerr, age 33 .313 9.9 1.6 .103
Steve Kerr, age 34 .516 10.6 0.6 .111
Steve Kerr, age 35 .429 10.6 1.5 .108
Steve Kerr, age 36 .394 12.3 1.8 .114
Jeff Hornacek, age 34 .441 19.3 9.5 .186
Jeff Hornacek, age 35 .420 17.8 5.3 .176
Jeff Hornacek, age 36 .478 17.8 6.5 .147
Ray Allen, age 33 .409 15.2 7.9 .186
Ray Allen, age 34 .363 16.4 10.9 .135
Ray Allen, age 35 .444 14.8 4.7 .166
Ray Allen, age 36 .453 14.7 5.4 .145

Steve Kerr is rightfully known as one of the most prominent shooters in history, helping Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan take home a few titles in two separate stops. But at his peak he only played 20-24 minutes a game and rarely more than 16 minutes a game from the age of 33 on. That helps explains his low amount Win Shares accumulated.

Hornacek was a great all-around player, often forgetten when recounting the Stockton-Malone 90’s era in Salt Lake City. Ray Allen’s career is ongoing, coming off a season at the age of 37 with reduced minutes, but still shot over .400%+ from three point land and earning his second world championship in the process.

These players have maintained a respectable level of play even as they head into the twilight of their career. We can hope Korver does the same over the course of his new contract. As of now, the Hawks have also signed Paul Millsap to pair with Al Horford down low and hopefully draw the attention off of Korver spotting up around the arc. Also, if his defense comes as a worry to Hawks fans, the Hawks have also reportedly signed DeMarre Carroll, a defensive specialist small forward from Utah.

All of Atlanta will surely be rooting for Korver as he aims to break a streak of consecutive three-pointers hit next season, and as he helps lead the Atlanta Hawks toward contending for a seventh straight playoff appearance and hopefully more.

*All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Kyle Korver

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