Community Shootaround: 3-Point Shooting

Thanks to analytics, the NBA has undergone radical changes in the way the game is played.

The traditional center has become more and more obsolete. The mid-range jumper and isolation plays are discouraged, rather than being a staple of every team’s offense. A big man’s game has been replaced by small ball.

Now, every game is a bevy of drives to the basket and 3-point shots. It wasn’t long ago that players would get benched for taking transition threes. Now, coaches get upset if someone passes up a good long-range look on the fast break.

But like eating too dessert, has the emphasis on 3-point shooting become too much of a belly-ache instead of sweet satisfaction?

The amount of 3-point attempts has skyrocketed in just a decade. In 2009/10, the Magic led the league in 3-point attempts at 27.3 3-point tries per game. The Grizzlies ranked last at 12.4 per game.

Five years later, the Rockets led the league at 32.7 attempts per game but there was a big dropoff to second place in that category, as the Cavaliers shot an average of 27.5. The Timberwolves ranked last at 14.9 and 10 other teams shot fewer than 20 per game.

Look at where we are today. The Rockets, no surprise, rank first with a whopping 44.2 attempts per game. The eight teams immediately below them shoot at least 35 per game. The Pacers rank last at 27.7 per game.

That’s right. The team taking the fewest 3-pointers this season would have ranked first in that category 10 years ago.

The way things are trending, 3-point attempts will continue to rise, though not as dramatically as they have the last five or 10 years.

Is it time for the league to step in and prevent every game from essentially turning into a 3-point shooting contest? They could try to experiment with limiting the amount of threes that could be taken, such as counting shots beyond the arc as three points only at certain times of the game. Or they could do something really drastic, like erase it altogether.

The latter is a pipe dream, but there are many fans out there who would like to see basketball return to its roots.

That brings us to our question of the day: Do you like the dramatic increase in 3-point shooting in recent years or do you think the NBA should take steps to curtail or discourage teams from taking so many 3s?

Please take to the comments section to voice your opinion. We look forward to what you have to say.

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33 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: 3-Point Shooting

  1. I like the 3 point shooting a love seeing Trae Dame Curry and others launching the ball from way back and with the 3 point line and increased shooting the NBA has increased the popularity of the league world wide.

    I can’t see that changing anytime soon but maybe the NBA makes it easier to score 2’s or get and ones down low to make that area no die

    • Call less fouls down low to stop the likes of Harden and others making the game so soft. Make the painted area a spot for bigs again to dominate.
      Maybe even think about making courts bigger making the lanes more opening for driving and making more area for mid range shooters. In doing so your making the 3 point line further from the hoop and making the 3 ball harder.

      Teams would settle for more 2’s and shoot less 3s

        • Not really harder for Houston. Change the rules to make the game more entertaining and make the 2 point shot more easier hopefully making that part of the game great again.

          When they first introduced the 3 point line it was obvious that eventually there will be so many good three point shooters that shooting 2’s doesn’t make sense when you can shoot a 3. Its just taken till now for the midrange game to be almost dead.
          Make the court slightly bigger, make the 3 ball harder and make the 2 point easier. It would then make the game faster because there’s more space and brings back teams wanting to shoot the mid range.

          DeRozan and Russ would be great on a slightly bigger court with slightly more space for them to work, Simmons and LeBron to love to run and attack the rim have slightly more open lanes and more space to attack with. Then big like Embiid and Jokic have more area down low to create or score also

      • Otogar

        Wouldn’t “calling less fouls down low” have the opposite effect (encouraging people to attempt even less 2’s)?

        • harden-westbrook-mvps

          They already do that in Rockets games. Anyone who watches them on a regular basis see multiple no-calls every single game when Westbrook and Harden are fouled going to the basket and the refs swallow their whistles about 80% of the time.

          • x%sure

            What a claim.
            Dribbling into traffic rarely gets the calls, even at the HS level. But nobody seems to be able to figure this out. TV commentators rarely bring it up even though it happens over & over. The fouls are called “incedental”, whatever that means. Not the point. The refs have to be able to identify a specific fouler or play goes on.

  2. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    Isn’t the most basic skill in basketball the ability to make a shot? Good 3-point shooters are generally considered to be among the best shooters in the league. Trying to dictate HOW a team plays or what shots they can take seems pretty counterproductive to me…

  3. ksmurray

    It would be nice if they called travelling when they slide two feet back to take the shot. Also, quit calling such ticky tack fouls around the line. They don’t call such flimsy fouls anywhere else on the court. That would even things up some. Call more fouls down low. Why have they changed the way they referee? That has contributed to the imbalance.

  4. x%sure

    3pt shots count for too much; it makes too much sense to ignore a 2pt shot. It is 50% more than a 2pt… If the 2pt counted as 3 from the getgo, the distance shot would be assigned to get 4, only 33% more– and more in line with what it’s worth.
    The gap could be closed with the fouling parameters. One shot and the ball out on a foul… Three FTs take too much time.

    The league (Silver) has encouraged 3pt shooting, so to decrease its use, he would have to addressed. Right now the the distance shot gives the fans a chance to be involved and anticipation begins with the ball in the air then leads to celebration. Silver has to like that. But not the three FTs on a foul, nobody likes that.

    There has been a change in officiating that reflects a bias for it. Last year, the shooter had to avoid landing on the opposition’s foot. This year, it’s a foul if the defense doesn’t get their feet out of the way, even if the shooter basically searches for a foot to land on to draw the foul. They get away with it like Reggie Miller used to with a kick-out. Bogus.

    I always thought they should ban the box-out from past the 3-line because that turned into a football block.

    Just ban defenders from crossing the 3-line to defend, like is called with the circle under the rim. If the shooter wants to jump forward to shoot, his risk.

    • El Don

      Sorry dude, I love the three FTs, I think it’s the only fit & right thing, if they give you only 1 FT all the defenses will do nothing but foul, so you only score 1. Also FTs are the ultimate skill in shooting, just you & the ring, brilliant to watch a great shooter from the stripe, horrible to watch a bad one!

      • x%sure

        Getting the ball out too makes that option statistically similar to three shots. Seen one, seen them all-three!

  5. rexington12

    As time goes on players will start working on that mid range again because all the kids now are being taught to defend the three or the rim. The 3 will become harder to shoot as more and more kids grow up defending it and forcing drives

  6. Jeff Zanghi

    I think it’s silly to even consider changing the rules for 3-pt shots at this point. Like you can’t just make such a massive adjustment to the game especially with how much teams have adjusted/changed their rosters and everything to focus on 3pt shooting. I get it that years ago the 3 didn’t even exist but it’s been decades now since then and now it’s just a part of the game whether you like it (I personally do) or not… no matter what – it’s here to stay (and should be… a change that drastic just doesn’t make sense especially for a game that’s doing as well as the NBA is revenue and fans wise)

    • El Don

      I agree, I really love the threes, maybe not shooting as many as some teams do, but I start watching games in the mid 80’s, so I only have known the game to have threes, can’t imagine it otherwise.
      Maybe what to do would be the reverse of what they did in the mid 90’s, back then the league was trying to encourage shooting 3’s & they put the line a foot closer, so players like Jordan, Mourning & so on did benefit from it, maybe now they can move it a foot farther away to cut down a bit the shots, but anyway NBA is now at its best with the best player we have ever seen, so I don’t think it needs any tinkering, not broken don’t change it, right?

  7. I don’t think the league needs to step in regarding 3pt shooting. I genuinely think it’s up to teams to scheme for it, and in turn, teams to counteract that by finding the new inefficiencies. Eventually, with enough defensive attention and improvements across the league, teams are going to have to look at the mid range game again to counter it. Everything comes back around.

    I do think the league needs to step back from the oh-so-obvious bias in referring towards the offense though. Too many bail out calls, too many touch fouls.

  8. Skip, Tampa

    The rule changes over the last 3 years have been a big money boom for players and agents. The NBPA putting it’s thumb on the scales. FT should be 2pts only including a technical.
    Not being able to even touch a player is BS. Landing on a foot is a foul, get real.
    The technicals against Westbrook and Harden the other night were BS also.
    Do Love a great well earned 3pt shot and drive to the rim. Not the freebies.
    Makes the game cheap.

  9. Appalachian_Outlaw

    I love the 3pt shot, and the fact that you see it more frequent now. The game is more fun to watch. I honestly think I might find the game a little boring if it reverted too far back the other way. I know one day it will, but I just hope everyone doesn’t try to emulate the 90s Knicks.

  10. bknowledge

    If they eliminated the corner 3 by ending the 3 point line at the free throw line extended, this would change the game. Not sure it would better, but it would definitely be different.

    • x%sure

      Continue the 3pt-line arc to the sidelines.
      With players not posting there almost off the court, that would open up the baseline for action and take away a formulaic part of the game. The corner-3 offensive strategy is the issue here, and they even had to bend the 3line to make it possible.

      • bknowledge

        Yes to both of your replies x%sure. Your suggestion to change the 3 pointer to a 4 pointer and a 2 pointer to a 3 is also an interesting/good suggestion. I don’t enjoy it that almost every team is now for the passed several years using the same offensive system. I think it would be more entertaining if teams could succeed using different formulas.

  11. Skip, Tampa

    Thought about exactly that many times over the last couple of years. Also extending the lane penalty to 5 seconds as well. Sure enough wouldn’t be very popular for many players.

  12. stevep-4

    All things have their era, and as defenses are developed to make 3s more difficult, the game will change again. I do think that part of the rules changes created a lot of ‘easy’ fouls and made it much easier to shoot outside. Part of the reason 3s were not so prevalent in prior eras was the legality of moves that now are instant fouls on defense.

  13. I personally think it’s pretty silly that an offensive player can make contact with the defender, and get a foul call. Harden is the worst.

  14. It’s the same in all 3 major team sports. The PTB sit around thinking of ways to make offense easier and defense harder. It hit a saturation point years ago, and all 3 are less watchable than ever.

    Personally, I’d start by rolling back the restrictions on defense. Dispense with the newer rules on illegal defense, defensive 3 seconds, prohibition on hand checking, enforce existing rules like verticality, travelling (send the Euro step back to Europe) and hold refs to measures of even handed foul calling, and less foul calling.

    • x%sure

      Yes, the MLS keeps gaining even though the league office has never done anything right, except give up on that process maybe 10,15 years ago. Fans show up anyway. Opposite the NBA game on TV was soccer’s opening in Nashville with over 60k fans supposedly.

  15. shmurdascene

    I hate today’s NBA. The lack of traditional positions has hurt the game. The lack of defense makes the game boring to watch. I don’t see what’s supposed to be exciting about 3 pointers. To me, the exciting part of basketball is the athleticism. Dunking, shot blocking, and defending. We need more 7 footers, we need hand checking. I hate three guard lineups and small ball.

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