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Thread: The Three Ain't For Me

  1. #1

    Default The Three Ain't For Me

    I think I brought this or something similar up before but with so much talk about the poor performance as of late and to be more specific Jim O'Brien I think this board needs some other things to discusss. This is not meant to turn into a Jim O'Brien thread.

    Sometimes when i'm watching games I start to wonder about things that are not related to that particular game. One thing I have wondered about is life without 3 pointers.

    Here is a great article I found about it.
    By Terry Battenberg
    Special to

    By Terry Battenberg

    Special to

    The recent performance by the USA Men's Basketball Team in the 2006 FIBA World Championships and the 2004 Olympic Games serves as a cold reminder of how the three-point shot has influenced modern basketball. While the NBA game seems to supply us with bigger and better athletes every year, there is a noticeable lack of good American shooters in the pro game. How does this happen when high school and college players have been cranking up a record number of "threes" in recent years?

    "Dunking and Threes" - that seems to be the essence of modern basketball in the United States today. If a team can't get a highlight-reel dunk on the fastbreak, then someone immediately throws up a 20-footer. The three-point shot was adopted about 20 years ago to open up the inside game, but now it seems to be the main culprit in the demise of good post play and good shooters.

    But wait, you say! How can the three-point shot be detrimental to shooting? That's easy. The reward is too big for something that seems to be relatively easy - three points for a 20-foot shot. Before the adoption of the three-point line, a shooter missing a couple of 20-footers would be discouraged from shooting that shot again. His coach would encourage him to use the post player or position himself in an area that would lead to a higher percentage shot. But not now! Today's coaches let weak shooters throw up long shots in hopes of the "big pay-off" - a quick three points.

    While a two-point shooter needs to make one of every two shots to average a point per attempt, a three point shooter only needs to make one of three shots. Most kids will tell you they certainly can make one of three, and most coaches are inclined to take that risk and let them shoot "the three." But there are just too many teams shooting under 30 percent from beyond the three-point arc today. Everyone seems to have the "green light" to fire it up, even if they haven't developed an outside shooting touch. Consequently, we have an abundance of "three-point shooters" but not very many "three-point makers."

    And how has the shot opened up the inside game and helped the post man? It hasn't! Take a look at the lack of big men in the NBA and in college basketball who can score inside. Now we have seven-footers who want to stand outside and shoot "the three" along with all the smaller players. Very few big men want to hang out in the low post and battle for a good inside shot anymore.

    So how can we develop better shooters again in this country? One way might be to eliminate the three-point shot and get back to the original game of basketball. After all, do the Giants get an extra run whenever Barry Bonds hits a 450-foot home run instead of a 340-foot one? Does a kicker in the NFL get four points for kicking a 40-yard field goal and only three points for a 20-yard one? Of course not. Drop the three-point shot and coaches will again reward the good shooters with more opportunities to shoot, they will encourage others to become better mid-range shooters, and they will again develop an inside game for their big men.

    And what about the rest of the world? I say let them keep widening the lane, throwing up "threes," and playing zone defenses. If we get back to playing basketball the way it was meant to be played, from the inside-out, we can again whip them every time.

    When it comes to scoring "three," personally, I like the old-fashioned way. Go to the basket, draw contact, hit the field goal, then walk to the free throw line and earn that third point. The Three Ain't for Me.

    Born and raised in the basketball hotbed of Indiana, Terry Battenberg moved with his family to Sacramento, Calif., when he was 16. While attending Cal State University at Sacramento, he began his coaching career at Jesuit High School where he eventually became California's youngest head coach at the age of 22.

    During his 30 year coaching career, Coach Battenberg has directed four different Sacramento area high schools to a league title (11 titles in all during 20 years as a high school coach). He has also been the head coach at Montana Tech College and American River College in Sacramento, as well as an assistant to Hall of Fame Coach Ralph Miller while at Oregon State University.

    Coach Battenberg is the author of the original book on Post Play, called The Complete Book of Basketball Post Play, published in 1978. He continues to speak at clinics and conduct camps all over the Western United States while serving as the Head Basketball Coach at Union Mine High School.
    The 3 point shot has brought some great memories for a lot of different moments. Pacer fans can go on forever with Reggie Miller moments alone!

    With that said I watch basketball on any level any day and I just have a hard time appreciating modern basketball today. I like what the above article says "there are a lot of 3 point shooters but not a lot of 3 point makers."

    I think you can even compare this to the average way of thinking in America...the risk is worth the reward. We are risk takers by nature. Players want to shoot the 3 or get the highlight dunk.

    I'll add Coach Battenberg's website I enjoyed reading through some things on there.

    Here is an article that makes the case for the 3 point shot: By John Braiser

    When introduced 20 years ago, in time for the 1987 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the 3-point shot elicited more fear than excitement from college basketball coaches.

    The shot was considered by many a bad risk, a final option for a team trailing late in a game.

    “People did not shoot it. They were afraid of it,’’ said Clemson assistant coach Ron Bradley, then an assistant at Maryland. “I remember lecturing at clinics. Coaches had all these ideas about how you should be careful who shot the 3-pointer and when you shot it.

    “Now you see 7th graders shooting it and making it.’’

    The teams that overcame that fear took quick advantage of the new rule. Indiana, which led the nation in 3-point accuracy (50.8 percent), won the 1987 national title. The Hoosiers’ Steve Alford made seven 3-pointers in the title game. Providence, with Rick Pitino coaching and Billy Donovan shooting, rode the 3-pointer to a “Cinderella’’ trip to the Final Four.

    Twenty years ago, teams averaged only 9.2 3-point attempts per game. The frequency improved steadily over the next eight years. In 2006, teams averaged 18.4 attempts — twice as many as the first season — with only a slight drop (38.4 percent in 1987, 35.0 percent in 2006) in accuracy.

    The biggest rule change since the one-and-one bonus was instituted in the early 1970s seems here to stay.

    Play is more wide-open and exciting. Games are more competitive. There’s a new important role for players with outstanding shooting skills.

    “It allows the less athletic team to stay in the game easier,’’ said Jon Sundvold, who played at Missouri before the 3-point arc was established, but set the NBA record by making 52.2 percent of his 3-point attempts in 1988-89. “It helps the guys who are a little less athletic. Major Division I teams were looking for guys who could really run and jump. Now, there’s a place for guys who aren’t quite as athletic, but can really shoot it.’’

    It’s hard to find a coach who hasn’t embraced the 3-point rule and the strategy that comes with it. Though there is support for moving the arc back from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20-6, the international distance, such a change is not eminent.

    “Every year we take polls of coaches about changes they’d like to see,’’ said South Carolina coach Dave Odom, who just completed a five-year stint on the coaches’ rules committee. “The coaches like the 3-point shot. Coaches, for the most part, don’t like change. We’ll have a hard time moving it back.’’

    Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said the 3-point shot has kept games interesting that would have been destined for blowouts in past years. Purnell pointed to Kentucky’s rally from a 31-point, second-half deficit — the Wildcats made 11 consecutive 3-point shots — to beat LSU in 1994.

    “There have probably been hundreds of games made unbelievable by the 3-point shot,’’ Purnell said. “I think it’s definitely changed the game, changed the strategy and changed recruiting.’’

    Life without the 3-point arc is hard to imagine for today’s players, much like imagining life without cell phones, video games and MySpace pages.

    Playgrounds have 3-point arcs and kids grow up shooting behind them.

    “I started shooting it in the fifth grade,’’ said Clemson 3-point marksman K.C. Rivers. “I’d shoot as many as I could until my arm got tired.’’


    Experimentation with a 3-point arc dates back to 1945, but didn’t gain widespread attention until the American Basketball Association adopted it in 1968.

    The time became right for college basketball in the 1980s when 7-footers such as Ralph Sampson, Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon dominated inside the lane, making outside shots seem like folly.

    Combined with the slow-down style allowed without a shot clock, college basketball became an ugly, inside battle as teams held the ball waiting for layups and high-percentage shots.

    In 1982-83, the Atlantic Coast Conference experimented with a 3-point arc 17-9 from the basket. The arc was moved to 19-9 for the 1986-87 season when it became a national fixture.

    “The idea was big men were so dominant, we wanted to put the little guys back in the game,’’ said Odom, an assistant at Virginia in 1987.

    But the 3-point line also opened up the lane for the big players, who were often hindered by sagging zone defenses, happy to give opponents open long-range shots worth only two points.

    “You weren’t able to work the ball down low, either, before the 3-point shot,’’ Bradley said.

    With the 3-point shot, defenses that double-teamed down low were vulnerable when opponents started kicking the ball out to open perimeter shooters.

    Combined with a shot clock, the 3-point shot opened up a game languishing under delay offenses such as the “Four Corners.’’

    In an article in Science News Online, statistician Thomas P. Ryan argued for acceptance of a “composite field-goal percentage’’ formula he developed to more accurately reflect a team’s shooting efficiency.


    Though the 3-point concept is now firmly entrenched, the distance of the shot remains open to lively debate.

    Few, if any, coaches favor bringing the arc closer to the basket. But a sizable faction supports extending the arc back to international distance.

    Big men are no longer as important. Many teams have gone to small lineups with as many as four guards.

    “Coaches do not want the 3-point shot to become so enticing that it starts eliminating the big men,’’ Odom said.

    Odom would like to see college teams experiment with the arc at international distance in designated — not exhibition — games.

    The coach, who used a deep corps of 3-point shooters to protect Tim Duncan at Wake Forest, said he would support a change to the international distance.

    “If we moved it back to the international distance that’s not that much,’’ Odom said, who argued that the change also would help the United States in international play.

    For some players and coaches, a shot from 19-9 should not warrant an extra point. In the NBA, the arc stretches out to 23-9.

    “What we’ve seen is everybody wants to shoot it, non-shooters shoot it,’’ Sundvold said. “I think the college 3-point line is just what used to be a normal jump shot.’’

    But Sundvold, a former broadcaster for CBS on NCAA Tournament games, thinks the odds are against a distance change — at least in the near future.

    “It (the current 3-pointer) makes for exciting games,’’ he said. “I think most fans love it.’’


    Coaches admit the 3-point shot has come with a price. The biggest has been the deterioration of fundamental skills. Many young players have allowed 3-point shots and dunks to dominate their practice time.

    “It feels good going behind the 3 and shooting,’’ Rivers said.

    As Sundvold, who has a son playing high school basketball, notes, kids gravitate toward the arc when they practice shooting.

    “When they grab a ball, that’s the first place they go,’’ he said. “I’m glad we didn’t have it when I was in high school. Some kids are just developing as shooters. I had to develop my whole game.’’

    With shots from 19-9 worth an extra point, far fewer shots are taken between 15 feet and the arc. Players often pass up open 2-point shots. Stepping back behind the arc with the ball to take a 3-pointer has become commonplace.

    For some players, a contested 20-footer is the choice over an open 15-footer. And when players take a longer 2-point shot, they are taking a shot they rarely practice.

    “I think that the in-between game is not as good as it used to be,’’ Purnell said.

    Like Sundvold, Bradley, who played at Eastern Nazarene (Mass.) College, said he is glad he didn’t grow up with the 3-pointer.

    “The negative for me is it has reduced kids’ games,’’ Bradley said. “Many of the players now have an underdeveloped game.’’

    Odom said coaches should monitor the effects of the 3-pointer. The history of basketball is filled with changes that have improved the game.

    “It’s something we need to look at seriously,’’ he said. “It’s been a good rule. That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.’’
    The above article talks about a caculation to track shooting %. Here it is below.
    ScienceNews By Ivars Peterson

    Crediting Basketball's Three-Pointers
    By Ivars Peterson Web edition Text Size EnlargeThe adoption of the three-point field goal in basketball changed the game. Initially, its impact was limited, but in recent years, shooting three-point baskets has had a significant effect on game strategy and outcome.

    Many sports fans can't resist the lure of quantifying performance�ranking teams, rating players, and keeping various statistics. Now, statistician Thomas P. Ryan asks how best to credit three-point field goals so that the resulting numbers say something useful about how a game was played.

    In the current issue of Chance, Ryan offers a new, improved formula for calculating field-goal percentage�a statistical performance measure that he describes as a composite field-goal percentage. He claims that calculating this particular quantity generates numbers that would better capture what happened in a game than is now possible.

    Before 1987 in college basketball, box scores recapping a game simply gave the field-goal percentage, reflecting the proportion of two-point field-goal attempts that were successful. With the advent of the three-point shot, a new category was added to the box score: the three-point field-goal percentage.

    The trouble, says Ryan, is that the two field-goal percentages, taken together, don't always let you to "see" what happened in a game. It's often hard to tell which team had the better shooting performance.

    Ryan cites a game between North Carolina State and Clemson, which took place on Jan. 15, 2002. N.C. State defeated Clemson 80 to 79. Yet Clemson's overall field-goal percentage was 61.2 percent, and N.C. State shot just 49.1 percent. Moreover, Clemson had a sizeable rebounding advantage, 32 to 20, made five more free throws, and had five more turnovers. Why did Clemson lose?

    One important factor is reflected in the respective three-point field-goal percentages: 48.4 percent for N.C. State and 41.7 percent for Clemson. That's not enough, however. "We also need to know the relationship between the number of three-point field goals attempted and the number of two-point field goals attempted," Ryan contends. Indeed, N.C. State attempted more three-pointers than twos (31 versus 26), whereas Clemson settled for far more twos than threes (37 versus 12).

    "This helps us see why N.C. State won, but it would be easier to see that if we used a more appropriate field-goal percentage," Ryan says.

    Ryan proposes the following formula:

    C = (a + 1.5b)/N, where a is the number of two-point field goals made, b is the number of three-point field goals made, and N is the total number of field-goal attempts.

    Applying that formula to the Clemson-N.C. State game, N.C. State's composite percentage was 62.2 percent and Clemson's was 66.3 percent. That's much closer to what happened in the game than was indicated by the box score differences, Ryan remarks. "The proper statistics essentially show that it was an even game�which it was," he adds.

    The new statistic also corrects for the downward trend in team field-goal percentage calculated for a full season, evident after 1987. "Does this mean that the ability to shoot a basketball is in recession?" Ryan asks. "Obviously, that is not the case."

    For example, Missouri holds the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I record for team shooting: 57.2 percent. The record was set in 1980, before the advent of the three-point field goal. In 2002, a highly regarded Kansas team shot "only" 50.6 percent for the year yet was the best in the country. The team's composite field-goal percentage, 55.1 percent, would be a better reflection of its superior performance, Ryan argues.

    Ryan insists that the composite field-goal percentage is also important for properly rating individual shooting performance, not only at the high school and college level but also in professional basketball. "It would undoubtedly be easier to evaluate players and teams at all levels if the composite field-goal percentage were used," he concludes. "College recruiters and rating services would have an easier time rating high school players if they used the composite percentage to gain better insight into how well, for example, 'shooting guards' actually shoot."

    Ryan has proposed his new statistic to the NCAA, but so far the organization has taken no action. He hasn't given up, however. "Let's apply our statistical skills to try to improve our understanding [of] and insight into the game of basketball," he declares. "Surely there is much that can be done."
    Some interesting stuff there if you have the time to read through it.

    I don't think that taking away the 3 point shot is the answer...maybe on the high school level and below but it's really about what players are practicing. I think that now more then ever youth basketball coaches are important and good ones are needed for better players and teams.
    Last edited by Young; 11-30-2009 at 10:44 PM.

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  3. #2
    Member Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Three Ain't For Me

    The last article talks about eFG% (without calling it that).

    Does any site keep an eJS%? By that I mean, effective jump shot (2's and 3's combined and adjusted) percentage? That would be eFG minus all dunks and layups.

    *edit* kind of does, but not exactly. They break down eFG among jump shots, tip ins, dunks, "close shots" (whatever that means to them), and "inside".

    I'd like to see one that is exclusively 3's and any 2 that is not a layup, dunk, tip-in, or point awarded by opponent's inadvertent tip-in to his own basket.

  4. #3

    Default Re: The Three Ain't For Me

    I think three-pointers are tha bomb!
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

  5. #4
    Member BlueNGold's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    Default Re: The Three Ain't For Me

    I think the reason the NBA has struggled is because:

    1) Until recently, Olympic competition lost its lustre.

    2) The world has gotten a lot better. This is not 1970 anymore.

    3) The post-dream team squads were not even particularly good shooters. This hurt them when they attempted to physically dominate teams from overseas who have become more physical and better defensively.

    4) The NBA has changed from tremendous play-making to tremendous athleticism and live and die threes. So the first article is on target, but hardly the only reason.

    Once the NBA players seriously committed and better shooters were added to the team...things turned around. But for sure, it was the commitment to take it back that made the difference.

  6. #5

    Default Re: The Three Ain't For Me

    Quote Originally Posted by rommie View Post
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    The Three Ain't For Me.
    You wouldn't say that if you knew the Zigler sisters ....................

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