The three-point shot took over the NBA, and it’s been a huge difference. While it’s been this way for years, it wasn’t until the 2012 and 2013 NBA Finals that teams began to implement it in full force. The Golden State Warriors took the league by storm with their 3-point shooting and won the title, their third successive title. The Chicago Bulls on the other hand, were two years removed from winning the 2012 title and were trying to win a third, but it was not to be. For the first time, two teams went head to head in the finals in a series that went seven games and ended less than two feet from a series win.
The NBA has been a three-point shooting league since it adopted the three-point line for the 1979 season. But where did the three-point shot come from? How did the three-point shot spread throughout the NBA and become the dominant shot of today?
Young basketball fans growing up now no longer fantasize about performing a tomahawk dunk in front of thousands of screaming fans. Instead, they shoot from behind the bow. There’s a reason Stephen Curry’s jersey is the most popular in the entire league. It’s not just that he’s a great three-pointer. That’s because he’s a three-point shooter – . And the three-pointer was the ultimate outrage. How the three-pointer conquered the NBA Stephen Curry has changed basketball so dramatically that every team in the league is now adjusting their lineups to match (or at least match) the Golden State Warriors. Having multiple reliable shooters on your team is no longer an advantage, it’s practically an obligation. Let’s call it a new approach to maximizing your points. After all, three is certainly more than two.
From past to present
Surprisingly, the three-point shot wasn’t introduced in the NBA until 1979, when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird entered the league. Sure, there were long range shots back then, but it wasn’t very common (even with Byrd, who was a long range threat). It was almost a gimmick, as if the players felt he didn’t belong – especially when it was safer to go for a solid two. How the three-pointer conquered the NBA
In those days, people at home enjoyed watching a player throw the ball vigorously at a defenseless opponent. It was the age of flight, when aviators like Michael Jordan and Julius Erving thrilled fans with acrobatic moves at the plate. The three-point shot was still very new to the game, and while the players did not shy away from it, they were rarely up to the task. The NBA continued to evolve, and the ’90s saw players like Reggie Miller and Ray Allen shoot accurate three-pointers. In the new millennium, you had guys who were considered specialists in three-point shooting, like Peja Stojakovic and Kyle Korver, and you could count on them when you needed an important three-pointer. Lakers star Kobe Bryant was also known for his three-pointers in late games, as was teammate Robert Horry, better known as Rob’s Big Shot.
And yet… as popular as the three-pointer had become, it still wasn’t cool. Or at least it wasn’t as cool as it will be when Steph Curry comes into the league. When he was drafted by the Warriors in 2009, he was a promising player with a great three-point shot, but no one could have guessed how much of a game changer he would become. It didn’t happen right away, but after a few years in the NBA, the league couldn’t believe what they were seeing. How the three-pointer conquered the NBA
It wasn’t just what he did, it was how he did it. In his seventh NBA season, Steph averaged 30 points and five three-pointers per game – and he did it from the sidelines. He shot three-pointers like they were sprints, with remarkable ease and amazing speed. If the ball landed on his three-point line, you could blink and he would make a three-pointer before you even knew it. Eventually, people started calling him the best shooter of all time.
That’s what it comes down to. We could talk for hours here about the mind-boggling statistics of Steph Curry’s three-point trey. But at the end of the day, the NBA is entertainment. And from that standpoint, Curry changed the league in ways no one expected. Now the three-pointer has become more exciting than we could have imagined. Under Steph’s leadership, players throughout the league were encouraged to lift the long ball at will. And their coaches encouraged them, too.
Curry’s combination with another genius at three-point shooting, Golden State forward Clay Thompson, may have increased his impact. Although Steph is not an elite shooter like him, he has had a sensational career behind the bow and is breaking his share of records. Together, the two men were called the Splash Brothers, and if you’re wondering how the three-pointer became cool, it’s largely because of them. Against this wave, kids are working harder than ever on their three-point shooting at home. NBA players are trying to push the boundaries more than ever.
The league average for three-point shooting attempts per game has increased significantly from 13.7 in the 1999-2000 season to 31.4 in the 2018-19 season. Basketball is certainly evolving before our eyes, and it remains to be seen exactly where that path will take us. Will future players be so good at long-range shots that the NBA will invent a new, longer four-point shot? It may be a bit premature, but in the future, in the age of three-point shooting, there is no telling what may happen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How has the 3-point shot changed basketball?
The three-point line has been a part of the NBA for more than 30 years now, and it has had a profound effect on the game. The three-point shot is the most efficient shot in the modern game, so much so that statistics show that it is the primary reason that the league has been on a steady growth curve for the last decade. With the popularity of the three-point line, it is not surprising that the three-point shot has become a hot topic. It was a tragic accident that changed the course of basketball in a dramatic and unexpected way. It was a snowy night in the city of New York when the greatest player in the history of basketball tragically lost his life.
The NBA was devastated. His popularity and basketball legacy had been built on the three-point shot. A move towards the three-point shot had been going on for years, but it was Dr. Jordan’s legendary shot against the Celtics in the 1993 championship series that suddenly gave the shot more legitimacy and respect. As a result, the three-point shot became adopted as the dominant shot in basketball, and the rule makers of the NBA quickly followed suit. The three-point shot quickly
Why did the NBA move the 3-point line?
The NBA has long had a three-point line, but in 2016 the league moved the line from the current 23 feet to what is now 22 feet. Why? The three-point line has been a part of the NBA for over a decade now, but few people give it much thought. However, when the NBA moved the line back in the 2012-13 season, a major change was ushered into the game. The three-point shot has taken over the league, and it’s quite possible you’ve never even seen it.
What percentage of NBA shots are three pointers?
There is no denying the NBA’s recent popularity has a lot to do with the three-point shot. In the last three seasons, the league’s three-point percentage has increased a staggering 108%, almost double the 47% increase league-wide in the same time frame. In 2016-2017, there were 1,944 three-point attempts, the highest total in history. Of the fourteen NBA teams, only four did not make a three-point attempt during those games. For a few years now, the three-point shot has been taking over the NBA. In the 2013-2014 season, the NBA has already seen the introduction of a record-breaking 233 three-pointers made, which is a 13 percent increase from the previous season.