As the NBA ages and becomes more advanced in terms of the data available, we as fans are beginning to see a revolution in how the game is played.
The three pointer was all the talk at The 2016 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference this year, with the general consensus being that the three pointer is good for the game.
In looking at the basic stats this is true. Comparing this year to the past 15 years, the three ball is shot at a higher rate, and there are more points, more assists, and a spike in the amount of overall possessions per game.
While the overall three point percentage since the early 2000’s has stayed roughly the same between 34.7%- 36%, the rate at which people are shooting threes has increased greatly. In the 2000-2001 season the average team took 13.7 three pointers and made 4.8 of them. The Boston Celtics that year attempted the most threes, shooting 1,633. This year, the average team has so far attempted 23.8 three pointers and made 8.4 per game.
As noted in a presentation by Kirk Goldsberry, a former Grantland writer and current back office man at the San Antonio Spurs, the most points per shot, besides those taken 2 feet from the basket, comes from the corner three. This means that besides a dunk or layup, the corner three is the most efficient shot in basketball as of today in terms of point maximization.
Since we all know that making 33% from three is the same as making 50% from two, so in todays NBA where the average three point percentage is 35% and the average two point field goal percentage is currently 49.8%, NBA teams should be shooting more threes.
Due to teams discovering how they can maximize their scoring, there was talk around the conference of moving the three point line back further. But speakers such as Brian Scalabrine, Zach Lowe, and Tom Thibodeau all agreed that todays game is fun to watch, and for the time being no changes should be made.
Using the three pointer is now a solid and legitimate way to win in the NBA.
By Ian Riaf