During his last year in Italy, before moving to the NBA and later to Fenerbahce, Gigi Datome had already been an elite three-point shooter for some time. At the end of the regular season in the 2012/13 season, playing for Virtus Rome, he was 11th overall in the Italian league, shooting 41.9 percent from three, but only three players among those who preceded him had more three-point field goals made.
Seven years have passed, and Datome has in the meantime become an even more reliable outside shooter. After five games – which are still a very limited sample, of course – Gigi is shooting 62.5% from three-point range and is first overall in Italy. He made only 16 shots, just over three per game. Among the top 10 in the ranking, on average, only Davide Moretti shot less threes than him. It is no coincidence: Datome has been on the court for a total of 80 minutes, 16 per game, so he launched a three every five minutes spent on the court. It is even more interesting to note that while at home he is 1-for-4 from the arc, on the road he is 9-for-12, 75 percent, the result in part of the different playing time, nine and a half minutes at the Mediolanum Forum, over 20 on the road, which has been dictated by the flow of the games, a little bit more balanced away from home.
Datome is therefore the first reason why Olimpia is first in the three-point shooting after five regular season rounds, converting with 43.2 percent of its attempts. Three Milan players are among the top 10: after Datome, there is Sergio Rodriguez, fourth, 52.9 percent, while Moretti is tenth (46.7 percent). Among other things, Datome also completed two rare four-point plays, the first against Reggio Emilia at the debut, the other against Fortitudo in the past round. And in the meantime, he is 14-for-14 from the line for the season, equally split between the two competitions, EuroLeague and Serie A (in the EuroLeague, he is riding a streak of twenty free throws made and he is 91.4 percent for his career, third ever among those who have made at least 200 free throws). The team leadership in the three-point shooting is even more relevant, when coupled with what Olimpia is producing at the other end of the court: Olimpia is also the team against which opponents are shooting worst from the arc, it is the only one to allow less than 30 percent from three.
Back to Datome: combining the Serie A numbers with the EuroLeague numbers, his shooting percentage remains the highest on the team, 56.1 percent, while the other aspect that is relevant is the almost mathematical distribution of two and three-point shots: 41 and 44. During the Istanbul years, as happened to many players also due to the perimeter evolution of the game, Datome had started taking more shots from two than from three-point distance (155 against 91 the first year) until the complete overturning of last season when the two-pointers were just 82 and the threes 102 in 28 games.
Datome obviously remains one of the most effective shooters in the EuroLeague history. At this time, he is 22 threes away from 300 for his career, which represent the threshold of excellence. But of the top 50 bombers, only Petteri Koponen (46.1 percent) boasts a better career percentage. Gigi’s is 43.44 percent: among the first 50 in history for three-pointer made, only 18 are converting over 40 percent of their attempts (among these, Sergio Rodriguez and Vlado Micov). Datome’s percentage is higher than those of recognized specialists such as Jaycee Carroll, Arturas Milaknis, Vitaly Fridzon or, speaking of past shooters, Trajan Langdon or Drew Nicholas, to name a few.