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Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Evolution of the Usage of the Three Point Shot

The three pointer has become an integral aspect of basketball at all levels of the game. This was not always the case. The trey is generally identified as an ABA innovation, even though it actually predates that league's existence. For several years after the NBA-ABA merger the old guard NBA owners refused to institute a three point shot. Even after they relented it took quite some time before coaches really integrated the three pointer into their offensive game plans. My latest NBCSports.com article looks at how the usage of the three point shot has evolved since the founding of the ABA in 1967-68:

The Evolution of the Usage of the Three Point Shot

posted by David Friedman @ 10:48 PM

6 comments

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6 Comments:

At Monday, March 05, 2007 12:48:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

The 3 point shot is fools gold. Get rid of it.

 
At Monday, March 05, 2007 2:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once did a similar overview of the evolution of the three-point shot for a messageboard. The numbers give a clear picture of the evolution of the three-pointer, from outcast to specialization and then slowly broadening its "fan base" until Rick Pitino came along applying the same scheme that reportedly Hubie Brown used in the ABA: the three-pointer as a way to control the tempo of the game.

Also, the Rockets' back to back titles stand out, because we go from one of the least long shooting teams winning titles (the Bulls) to the biggest chucker getting the trophy, and back to the Bulls again.

To me, the most amazing aspect of it all is the fact that the three pointer was not expected to change basketball so much, it was devised as a way to unclog the lane period. And it turned out to be perhaps the biggest change to basketball since the 24-second clock.

 
At Monday, March 05, 2007 5:14:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I don't think that the three point shot is fool's gold but I do think that in today's game we often see the wrong players shooting it at the wrong times. Used correctly, the three point shot does indeed unclog the lane and it is also a valuable weapon for teams trying to come back from big deficits.

I think that casual fans who read my article will be surprised by a couple things: (1) the low number of three point field goals made in the NBA for most of the 1980s, even by Larry Bird; (2) the fact that today's teams take and make far more three pointers than the "wild and crazy" ABA teams ever did.

 
At Monday, March 05, 2007 6:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only that, teams are now firing at a higher rate than during the "shortened line period".

Three-pointers are also an economical way to slow down a game: if you can't match the other team's offensive output, your best bet is to slow it down, let he shot clock get into single digits each play, and then chuck a trey. If a few of them go in, you have a chance.

 
At Monday, March 05, 2007 8:55:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

The three point is more prevalant today because of the absence of centers and post play. Growing up the tallest player was always picked first because basketball is played inside and out. The 3 point shot is fools gold because a player makes one then his next five shots are threes. He thinks he is hot. Look at Antoine Walker.

The low number of 3's in the 80s is not surprising at all because of the center play. Plus its not a high quality shot because it is farther out. Bird didnt shoot that many threes because his mid range game was so beautiful and he posted up anybody. There is no need for a 3 if you can do that. Dirk shoots 3's but his game is better when he post up and goes to the basket, even though he attempted more 3's last year than the year before.

Of course if you are down 20 and extra point will help. In the college game, the 3 pointer can control tempo because its a high school shot. The college line is too close and should be 21 feet 9 instead of the easy high school distance.

 
At Monday, March 05, 2007 9:27:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I think that overall the three point shot is a good addition to the sport but I agree that some players think that they are hot from that range when they are not. I do think that the distance for the shot should be standardized. Now it is 19-9 in H.S. and college, 20-6 in FIBA and 23-9 in the NBA.

Used correctly, the three point shot can help the post game and vice versa by opening up the floor. The Rockets did this to perfection during their two championship seasons.

I suppose that, in theory, a team could slow the game down and fire threes but off the top of my head it seems to me that most teams that shoot a lot of threes are uptempo teams.

 

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