To live and die by the 3-point shot

Since the 3 point line was introduced in the rules of the game in the 1979-80 season, a lot have changed and a lot of records have been broken until now.

Back in the 90s, the style of play was completely different compared to the one which is played now, the game plan was mainly focused on the inside the paint, the bigs “ruled the world” and, as many retired legends are saying now, defence had a meaning, in a sense that hand-checking was allowed and there was more physicality in the game than it is now, because of the all kind of new rules that the NBA implemented throughout the years. There were some pretty good shooters starting from back then, including Steve Kerr, Larry Bird, Dennis Scott, John Starks, Reggie Miller being one of the best of them, but the game was not so heavily based on the 3 point shot.

For comparison, the leader of the ’87-’88 season was Danny Ainge (the actual GM of the Boston Celtics) who made 148 3-pointers. In comparison, the ’17-’18 season was only about 45 games in, and Klay Thompson was leading the NBA with 154 3-pointers made. This graphic takes a look at how players have improved to take advantage of the 3-point shot.


You can easily see the numbers going up as the times goes by, while sharp-shooters like Ray Allen, Jason Terry, Kyle Korver, Steve Nash continued to keep up the torch for the guards in the 2000s era. They are currently in the top 10 all-time on the 3-pointers made list, except for Steve Nash, who is on the 19th place.

But, as it is in all things in life in general, they change as the time goes on, and so was the style of basketball when a “stud” named Stephen Curry came into the league and began to shoot threes from between 28 feet and the half-court line (47 feet). He invented the concept of “modern NBA”, where every player, even centers, have to know how to shoot the three-ball for their living. Since he came in the league, a lot of individual and team records were broken, such as the record for threes made in a season, where we can see that there is Stephen Curry in a league of his own, then the rest of them.


This is the best example of the impact that Curry had to the game and how he made other guards to practice a lot more their outside shot. With all that being said, it’s hard to believe that there will be someone who will brake this record. Recently, he moved on the 3rd place in the all-time 3-pt field goals with 2313 FGM, passing Kyle Korver. The one’s in front of him are Reggie Miller with 2560 and Ray Allen with 2973. Considering the pace that he is going at right now, it’s safe to say that he has huge chances on being the first on that list one day.

Klay Thompson, his “splash brother”, broke the record of 3s made in a game with 14 this season, at the end of October in a match against the Bulls, after he was coming from a shooting slump from the beginning of the season. The previous record was 13, and it was held by his teammate, Curry. I think the Golden State Warriors are having a lot of fun in practice. In the match against the Kings, both of the teams set a new record of 41 three-pointers in a fully offensive display.

The Warriors shot 21-for-47, while Sacramento shot 20-for-36 and that marked the first game in NBA history in which both teams made at least 20 3-pointers.

The Spurs set an NBA record with 14 consecutive threes to start the game versus Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this year, a feature that is pretty hard to accomplish, especially when you think that Gregg Popovich is not a fan of the modern NBA and the idea of shooting a bunch of threes. He even stated that “These days there’s such an emphasis on the 3 because it’s proven to be analytically correct. Now you look at a stat sheet after a game and the first thing you look at is the 3s. If you made 3s and the other team didn’t, you win. You don’t even look at the rebounds or the turnovers or how much transition D was involved. You don’t even care. That’s how much an impact the 3-point shot has, and it’s evidenced by how everybody plays.

Even though he adjusted to the analytically driven 3-point game, he is not a fan of it. “I hate it, but I always have”, Popovich said. “I’ve hated the 3 for 20 years. That’s why I make a joke all the time (and say) if we’re going to make it a different game, let’s have a 4-point play. Because if everybody likes the 3, they’ll really like the 4. People will jump out of their seats if you have a 5-point play. It will be great. There’s no basketball anymore, there’s no beauty in it. It’s pretty boring. But it is what it is, and you need to work with it.

It’s not quite a surprise hearing this from Gregg Popovich, because we all know that he was always an old-school coach, who liked the fundamentals more than the “fanciness” of the game.

Another record that has been broken this season from the 3-point line is held by Houston Rockets. They set an NBA record against the Washington Wizards, hitting 26 three-pointers, the new single-game mark for made threes. The previous record was held by the Cavs, with 25 in a match against Atlanta Hawks in March 2017. As a negative side of a record, James Harden was 1-for-17 from 3-point range, tying the league’s single-game record for most misses from beyond the arc. And somehow, he still managed to get 38 in that game.

As we can see, a lot of records have been broken this past 3 years, and this is the best evidence you can get to validate the issue. As of the people who are directly involved, there are some who have nothing against this kind of play, and they use that in their full advantage, while others don’t really like it, but has to adapt in order to live as a team.

Andrei Dilean,

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