The 3-point has been the name of the game for the past several years. It's common nowadays to see forwards and centers with smooth strokes. Highlight reels are no longer stuffed with dunks or acrobatic shots. But way before the NBA turned into a 3-point shooting fiasco, the shot was thought of as a mad gimmick. Three legendary coaches once voiced out their angst at the 3-point shot.
One of the coaches against the 3-point shot is San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. His opinions are interesting, especially since the Spurs set the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers in 2014. Along the way, they defeated LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
"I can't be stubborn just because I personally don't like it and think it mucks up the game," Popovich said, per ESPN.
"We all know if you don't shoot the 3, you're probably not going to win. Everybody in the league shoots the 3-point shot well and knows the importance. I still hate it," he added.
Pat Riley, who has five championship rings as a coach and two as an executive, echoed Popovich's sentiments. He harkened back to the old days when the 3-point was in their offensive playbooks. Riley recalled that they only thought of jacking up a 3-pointer in particular instances.
"It just wasn't something that we used back then. I think it was seen as more of a gimmick in the beginning," Riley said.
"There was a philosophy throughout the league about how to play," he added. "There wasn't an emphasis on the 3-point shot even though it was there. It's almost as though anytime you wanted to take a 3-pointer, it's because you were down two and you could win the game. Or you were down three and it could get you back. And you started to sling 'em."
Bad for the game?
Larry Brown, most known for his stint with the Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons, also had the same thoughts. But what he's more concerned about is the long-term effect of the shot on the game. He grows anxious whenever he sees kids heaving up 3-point attempts.
"My biggest concern," Larry Brown says. "is when I go to the playground or I watch kids when I go to a high school game, everyone's jacking up 3-point shots in warm-ups. I don't see our game improve. I don't think the people who invented the game wanted to put more emphasis on outside shooting, but that's my personal opinion."
Interestingly, Brown's comments mirror that of Stephen Curry's haters, who claim he ruined the game for becoming too much of a shooter. Amid Curry's rise to one of the greats, kids inevitably imitated his moves. Instead, they throw up half-court shots like Chef. But unlike him, the ball doesn't even hit the rim. That is a sad predicament for some as they feel that kids should be working on their fundamentals and not tossing up crazy shots.
It's unfair to lay the blame on Curry. After all, he just honed his God-given shooting stroke as much as he could. Not even in his wildest dreams did Curry believe he would impact the game in the way he did. It isn't his fault that everybody wants to be like him.