The Golden State Warriors won’t be at the top of the NBA in perpetuity. Stephen Curry won’t be forever catapulting bombs poetically into the air while everyone watches in wonder as many of them splash into the net like a swimmer executing a successful cannonball into the water and avoiding the dreaded belly flop.
James Harden won’t be around forever. A normal stat like of 5-13 from the three-point line every night won’t always be the norm. Why? Well, it never has been.
The evolution and exploitation of the three-point shot has not only changed the game. For this moment in time, it’s redefined what the stereotypical successful NBA player’s skills need to be.
In the eleven seasons since Stephen Curry has entered the league, things have, well, changed. In 2007-08, Jason Richardson led the NBA in three-pointers made with 243 (out of 599 attempts). That’s a whopping seven attempts per game. Seems like a lot. This year, James Harden led the league with 378 made on 1,028 attempted. 1,028 divided by 82 equals almost 13 three-point attempts per game. It’s excessive. It takes arguably less skill to shoot three pointers over mid-range jumpers or contested shots around the basket. No, I didn’t say it takes less skill to make them. I said it takes less skill to attempt them.
Big men ran the NBA for decades. Stephen Curry changed that. James Harden is exploiting what Steph Curry trailblazed.
The NBA won’t be like this forever. It’s legitimately minimizing the stock of a 6-foot-8 small forward if he’s unable to shoot the three point shot or, at least, defend it.
When Hurricane Curry leaves the NBA in shambles for the future regarding the skeleton of it’s offensive output, what will be left? Players trying to replicate what Curry did? Is a four-point shot really something that should be on the table? There’s one thing I do know: One man hasn’t changed the NBA’s landscape like this since the NBA “Shaq-proofed” the rims and backboards.
I yearn for the day where actual offenses are run that end with a pick-and-roll instead of a pick-and-pop. As a basketball purist, I miss the Texas Tech/Virginia NCAA Championship game style of basketball. Three pointers are fun. Dunks are fun. What’s missing then? Everything in between.