The three-pointer debate is one of the most talked about issues in the league today. Is there toom for teams to shoot even more three-pointers? What’s the point when it becomes an absurd exercise in chucking from anywhere on the court?
Coach Pop is one of the most prominent opponents of the 3 pointers, recently saying he has hated the shot for 20 years now. In his view, it takes the beauty out of the game (something like the Rockets probably, just layups and threes). It comes at a surprise because the best basketball ever in the NBA (in my opinion) was presented by the San Antonio Spurs against the Miami Heat in the 2014 Finals – the Spurs used the three a lot that year. Still, Pop’s opinion isn’t a complete shock.
But when Steve Kerr, one of the first true 3-point specialists, and coach of the Golden State Warriors say something against the three, you take pause. Here’s Kerr on the shot behind the arc (via NY Times):
“I kind of liked the 3-pointer before every player on every team was a 3-point shooter,” said Steve Kerr, the N.B.A.’s all-time leader in 3-point shooting percentage, after hearing of Jackson’s proposal. “It’s being shot way too often these days, and it’s hurting the game.”
To be honest, I did misrepresent the quote a bit. At the time, Kerr wasn’t a coach. He gave that quote after retiring the year before, in 2004!!!! To put things into perspective, the highest rate of 3 pointers attempted was by the Seattle Supersonics at 23.6 and the league average for 3 point attempts was 14.9 per game.
The 73 – 9 Warriors, coached by Kerr, attempted 31.6 threes on average. The average in the league was 24.1 that year, which would make the Sonics a below average team in that regard.
It is fascinating to think about how much the game has changed in 15 years. In 2004, Steve Kerr thought it was “hurting the game.” The Splash Brothers changed the paradigm so much that what used to be crazy, today is below average.