The San Antonio Spurs turned a lot of heads when their speedy, pass-happy offence hit an NBA-playoff-high 203 three-pointers in the postseason.
The Spurs used ball and player movement, constantly passing until they hit open shooters en route to a five-game Finals victory over the Miami Heat.
So, it’d be natural to think that the architect of their offence, Gregg Popovich, would be a huge proponent of the shot that made them one of the most dynamic offenses in the postseason. Instead, Popovich has a different feeling toward the three-pointer:
“I hate it. It’s changed the game,” Popovich said. “It makes it tougher to cover that much room defensively on the court, so you do have to pay attention to it defensively. It’s a heck of a weapon. … To me it’s not basketball but you’ve got to use it. If you don’t, you’re in big trouble.”
Popovich is right about the importance of the shot; three-pointers are becoming a staple of NBA offenses, and players are increasingly adding it to their offensive repetoire to help spread the floor. Last season, only four playoff teams attempted less than 1700 three-pointers during the regular season, and as Tim Reynolds notes in his article, 10 of the 14 teams who made less than 600 three-pointers didn’t even make the playoffs.
Popovich may dislike the three-pointer, but he’s smart enough to understand the direction of the league and make it part of his team’s offence. It obviously has paid off.
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