I enjoy the three-point shot. I don’t enjoy waiting in line at the DMV, nor do I enjoy drinking the medically recommended 34 eight-oz. glasses of water per day. I also don’t enjoy watching the Warriors take (and repeatedly nail) my beloved three-point shot. It’s not because they use it to crush my team or because I resent the individual players. It’s because they redefine the thing I love most about sports.
Basketball is about matchups and execution. It’s a statistically driven game. The three-pointer adds some uncertainty to execution – it makes it seems a little less attainable, and that’s why I like the three-point shot. The Warriors limit that uncertainty. They not only take the three-point risk away, but make the shot a focal point of their game plan.
Risk complements everyday situations, making the seemingly mundane tasks all-the-better. In some cases, uncertainty aids in our decision making process or adds intrigue to our everyday lives.
What is the rush we get out of flipping a coin to solve disputes? We have no idea where it will land.
Why do only winning bettors receive payoff? Risk.
In the case of the traditional three-pointer, an action which the majority of the time ends in a miss, there is a cost of taking the shot. That’s why it’s worth more points (genius moment). You’re supposed to miss it more often than a layup or a 16-footer.
That’s why the home run is so coveted too. When someone hits a dinger, it’s a game changer. But what if it happened at every other at bat or once per inning? Lame, expected, boring.
When Golden State guards inevitably run circles around their big men and kick the ball out to the perimeter, all the viewer can do is sigh and accept the three-point shift. If they really wanted to, they could make good use of their time and look away from the TV like Steph Curry – you really don’t need to watch it go in, do you?
While the three-point shot is receiving more attention around the league due to the success of the Warriors, they still do it more often and more effectively than anyone else. They do it fast, and they do it efficiently. Down eight:
Similar stretches happened more than once in versus the Thunder in Game 6, a contest in which Klay Thompson was ripping threes like they were thin sheets of tissue paper. In the game, the Warriors guard put up 30 shots, with 18 of them being from beyond the arc. He dropped 11 of those triples. Facing elimination against Oklahoma City, the Golden State three-pointer count eventually stopped at 44, over half of their shots in the game. The way they score points is so reliant on threes that they shot a higher percentage from deep (47.7%) than on other field goals (34.9%).
That means the Warriors shot 36.7 percent better from deep than from other areas of the court. Every time someone took a shot from three-point land, you could almost flip a coin to figure the outcome. Why even shoot the ball right?
Their season’s leading shooter, Steph Curry, took a backseat to Thompson on the night, taking only 13 threes (only thirteen…). Both guards were part of the Warriors’ jack-a-three strategy during the 2015-2016 regular season campaign, though. Curry led the NBA with 402 threes made, and Thompson was second with 276. Curry, contrary to Game 6, led the league in three-point attempts as well with 886 – 229 more than the next player (That’s 34.9%, more than a third, more).
Efficiency hasn’t been a problem for the Warriors, either. Of all the teams in the playoffs, Golden State averages the most offensive possessions per game with more than 102, showing their willingness to take shots whenever they get an open (or not-so-open) look.
The small chance of someone making the game-winning grab in the end zone is what makes us like the Hail Mary. We like kickoff returns to the house. We like the tension of waiting for the baserunner to try to snag second. We like three-pointers because of the uncertainty they bring to a game, but with the Warriors, that simply isn’t the case.
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