NBA pointed toward threes
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry grew up watching his dad, Dell, make a name for himself as an NBA three-point shooter.
In 1987-88, his second NBA season, Dell Curry took 81 three-pointers, a big number in those days.
Today, Stephen takes about that many in 11 or 12 games.
Stephen Curry is at the forefront of a three-point revolution that has seen NBA teams go to an evolving strategy of spreading the floor and adjusting to the disappearance of the dominant big man inside.
In 1979-80, the first season of the three-point field goal in the NBA, teams attempted 5.5 combined per game.
Last season, teams shot 36.8 combined threes per games, and this season they’re on pace to shoot 40.
“That’s pretty crazy,” said the younger Curry, who himself attempts 6.9 three-pointers per game this season.
The Eastern Conference-leading New York Knicks average 28.7 threes. If that continues, they will attempt 2,353 this season, breaking the league record of 2,284 set by the 2008-09 Knicks.
In that debut season of three-point shots, teams averaged 227.
Not that Knicks coach Mike Woodson has setting a record as a goal.
“I didn’t know that. I don’t care about that. You gotta make them,” Woodson said.
Stephen Curry is not alone. New Orleans Hornets forward Ryan Anderson has shot 317 threes this season — hitting 7-of-14 in Monday’s win against the Sacramento Kings — and is on pace to shoot more than 600.
Considered a gimmick or novelty when introduced to the NBA 33 years ago – “I can recall pretty heated discussions about adopting the three-pointer in the NBA,” former Phoenix Suns owner and general manager Jerry Colangelo said – the three-point line has become not only a staple of offenses, but a vital shot necessary to win regular-season games and titles.
In last year’s NBA Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Miami Heat made 42.9% of their threes in a five-game series. Game 5 was a clinic. They hit on 53.8%, including 7-of-8 by reserve forward Mike Miller.
“It’s been one of the reasons the game has gotten better to watch aesthetically,” said Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who won the 2010-11 … [For more on NBA pointed toward threes, click here.]