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The question of which shot to take - a 2-pointer or a 3-pointer - comes down mostly to basic math. A total of 100 2-pointers at 50% accuracy gets you 100 points. If a team shoots 100 3-pointers and nails 40% of them, it amounts to 120 points. But it's not that simple.


A quality two-pointer shot is an uncontested layup. A quality three-pointer would be an open, uncontested shot behind the arc by a reliable marksman. Here is how Brad Stevens views his team taking 3-point shots (per Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett):

“Of course,” said the coach. “It’s hard for me to argue that one. I mean, at the end of the day, nobody would choose it (3-pointer) over a layup. (But) if you’ve got a layup with three guys 7-foot jumping trying to block it and you’re trying to go through them, you should probably pass it.

“At the end of the day, if you can get fouled or get a layup, that’s the most efficient thing. And then the inside-out, kick-out 3 is what’s next.”

It’s the lack of the inside-out action that bothered Stevens in the first game. Too many of the treys were taken because a Celtic had the ball and room enough to shoot . . . and why the hell not?


Stevens is looking for quality rather than simple quantity when it comes down to taking treys. He is against the pull-up 3-pointer as a first option, unless of course the shot clock is about to go off. Here are Al Horford's thoughts via the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett:

“That’s some of the things that coach is talking to us about,” said Horford, who took just one 3 on Friday and made it. “He encourages us to shoot the ball when we’re open, and shoot them with confidence. But as a team we need to be better at recognizing when it’s a rotation or pass-pass-shot 3, as opposed to, you know, just a pull-up 3. Anybody can do that.

Kevin Durant is the exception to the rule. He is the King of Stop-and-Pop. You can see it in the video below and also hear about it in roughly 158 languages.



So it is obvious that Stevens likes the idea of 3-pointers if they are not taken as a first option. He likes layups, dunks and drives that result in foul shots. That is efficiency. So are inside-out passes that result in an uncontested 2-pointer or trey. Brad certainly has the crew to get it done, and it looks like we will be seeing a lot of long-range shots this season. But hopefully, not a lot of quick stop-and-pops from 3-point land.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Tom Lane 10/01/2018 12:54:00 PM Edit
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