The three-point shot is all the rage in the NBA these days. With each passing year, the league sets another record for most threes taken in a single season.
One of the game’s greatest coaches isn’t sure that’s a good thing. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich isn’t a huge fan of the way the game is going. Popovich believes the over-reliance on the three is making basketball boring, according to Sam Smith of NBA.com.
“These days there’s such an emphasis on the three because it’s proven to be analytically correct,” Popovich Monday offered with what appeared to be a sneer. “Now you look at a stat sheet after a game and the first thing you look at is the threes. If you made threes and the other team didn’t, you win. You don’t even look at the rebounds or the turnovers or how much transition D was involved. You don’t even care. That’s how much an impact the three-point shot has and it’s evidenced by how everybody plays.”
“I hate it, but I always have,” Popovich said even as he’s adjusted over the years. “I’ve hated the three for 20 years. That’s why I make a joke all the time (and say) if we’re going to make it a different game, let’s have a four-point play. Because if everybody likes the three, they’ll really like the four. People will jump out of their seats if you have a five-point play. It will be great. There’s no basketball anymore, there’s no beauty in it. It’s pretty boring. But it is what it is and you need to work with it.”
Popovich’s Spurs haven’t hopped on board the three-point train just yet. The team ranks 28th in three-point attempts this season. As Smith points out, the Spurs actually shoot the three pretty well, but the team isn’t built with a lot of three-point shooters.
That may not change soon given Popovich’s distaste for the three. But if any coach is going to challenge the way the game is going right now, it might as well be Popovich. The 69-year-old has a long history of success in the league. He’s led the Spurs to five NBA championships in his 23 years as the team’s coach. The league has gone through numerous changes during that period.
Popovich may not enjoy the way the game is trending right now, but his track record suggests he’ll find a way to adapt.
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