Is 3 Point Shooting Important?


 Yesterday I was speaking with a high school coach who informed me that the three point line was simply “entertainment” and that it had no bearing on if a team wins or loses. In other words, it’s a gimmick.Immediately, I laughed at such a belief, but as I sat down, I started to think. I have heard this before by other coaches. This was not the first time, nor will it probably be the last.

If this was 1980 (the first year of the three point line in the NBA) I could understand this thinking. But this is 2015 and the three point line has now been in existence for 35 years at the NBA level and nearing 30 years at the college and high school levels. Isn’t it truly time to accept the three point line?

Let’s focus on the importance of the three point line. There are four teams left in the NBA playoffs. All four teams were the top three point percentage shooting teams this year in the regular season. Coincidence? We believe not.

There have been numerous articles out recently if a three point shooting team like the Golden State Warriors can win an NBA Championship. How quickly these basketball experts forget. Didn’t the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs align their team with multiple shooters? Seems that the Mavericks used the same formula as well.

Let’s also focus on the college level and three point shooting. The 12 NCAA Mens teams with the poorest three point field goal percentage combined for a record of 88-276. Not one team posted a .500 record.

The three point line is huge and it is here to stay. We realize that there are many coaches that want the 70’s to return. Life before the three point line. When times were simpler and basketball was more pure.

Have you watched a game recently on Classic Sports that did not have the three point line? It’s simply not the same game. Teams and players rarely shot from past 15 feet. The pull-up was the main source for scoring.

I remember when the three point line came into existence and coaches had no idea what to do with this weird rule change. The first year that the NBA implemented the line, teams averaged 2 three pointers attempted PER GAME!!! A year later it was down to one three PER GAME!!

When the high school adopted the three point line, my team averaged one three pointer per game that first season. Most coaches and players would adapt to the line, however. Within five years, my high school teams were shooting 20 threes a game. A decade later we were at 25+ per game.

Being able to successfully use the three point shot can be crucial for a team’s overall success. We hear coaches say, “Look at Kentucky this year. They didn’t shoot a lot of threes.” Yes, but they had the biggest frontline in college basketball history.

Coaches will also look at the Memphis Grizzlies who take fewer three pointers as well and they win games. That is true, but they have easily the best 4/5 combo in the league. The more dominant you are inside, the less threes you need to take.

So what about the team that lacks height, muscle and athleticism? Should the three point line be an important component in their arsenal? YES! We have never truly understood why a team’s main offensive focus is to the pound the ball inside when they lack an inside game.

Great post play works when you have great posts. I coached for 17 years at the high school level and never had a huge front line. If our #1 offensive focus would have been to get the ball inside with my “Oompa Loompa” posts we would have finished last or near last every year.

Coaches need to understand the hand they been dealt with. If you have talented “bigs” or good size, then you will be an inside team. The majority of teams, however, lack size and bulk. Then these teams need to become a squad that is not afraid to shoot the three ball.

We really believe the three point line can be the great equalizer for basketball players and teams. It is not going away And it is NOT A GIMMICK.