A few weeks ago, I mentioned how the three point shot has to be a vital component of your offense. If you can’t make enough threes, you will have a hard time scoring enough points in the modern NBA. I even said that the Washington Wizards need to find a way to take and make more threes next season. I am not necessarily against the high volume of threes being taken in the NBA right now. But this style of play does have a downside. Actually many downsides.
At times, a high volume of threes leads to repetitive basketball. Where you are watching two teams launch three after three. As repetitive as this can get, it is the way to go in the modern NBA. For some fans, this style of basketball is fun to watch. For other fans, it is not. But the aesthetic aspect of the high volume of threes is not the biggest downside of the three point shot. Far from from it. We are actually seeing the biggest downsides from this style of play during this year’s NBA playoffs.
Downside #1 More blowouts
If a team gets hot from beyond the arc, they can build double digit leads rather quickly. Basketball is a game of momentum, and double digit leads will give you that as a team. Once you have momentum especially at home during the playoffs, it is very difficult for your opponent to wrestle that momentum back. The crowd really gets into the game and the home team feeds off that energy.
On the road, you can take the crowd right out of the game by quickly building a double digit lead. In Game 2 of the eastern conference finals, the Boston Celtics were able to build a double digit lead at the end of the first quarter. The would then go on to lead by the score of 70-45 at halftime. The game was pretty much decided at halftime. This was also a game where Boston shot 20/40 from three, while Miami shot 10/34 from three.
If you go cold from three, you are essentially done. Especially if you are a team that relies heavily on the drive and kick game. We can list many examples from this year’s NBA playoffs. Milwaukee Game 7 vs Boston. Phoenix Game 6 vs Dallas. Dallas Game 5 vs Phoenix. Miami Game 5 vs Boston.
Downside #2 Really ugly Basketball
No one wants to watch a team miss three after three. It’s just hard to watch. As jump shooters, you never want to stop shooting. If you stop shooting, you basically told your opponent that you lost confidence in your abilities as a shooter. In the playoffs, you don’t want that. Plus passing up open shots can disrupt the rhythm your team is trying to reestablished. So therefore, you keep taking threes.
In the past, if your team isn’t hitting perimeter shots you respond by mixing things up. You try to feed the post. You try to get a few easy looks from mid range. Unfortunately, the mid range and post game are not featured to a great degree in modern NBA offenses. If it wasn’t a big part of your strategy during the year, it will most likely not be in your arsenal during the playoffs.
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