During yesterday’s Knicks game, Jason Kidd threw up a wild shot from 3/4 court to end the third quarter. The shot landed nowhere near the hoop, but it was a nice effort.
Kidd is shooting a career-high 45% from three-point range this year, but the aforementioned miss counts against that percentage despite the 2% chance the shot connects.
In today’s stat-driven age, a few percentage points could be the difference between thousands of contract dollars. Logically, a vast majority of players hold the ball in the final seconds of a quarter despite zero risk to your team by chucking one up from 70 feet.
If players are collectively more worried about hurting their stats than helping their team (in this instance), then Commissioner David Stern and the NBA should cater to it.
Treat shots behind half court like shots after a foul – if it goes in, it counts as a three pointer made. If not, then it doesn’t count as a shot attempt.
The most exciting part of a basketball game is the buzzer beater. The cherry on top is a buzzer beater from far, far away. (Here’s a compilation of them). By giving players the freedom to hoist one up without personal risk, you’ll see more end of the quarter excitement. In turn, more fans will tune in to end a quarter and potentially add more advertising demand on the commercials following.
From the time I was little and until today, I’ll watch any basketball game if there’s under a minute to go in the quarter/half, just in case I see a fun buzzer beater connect.
Without proof, I know I am not the only basketball fan who does this.
In its current state, basketball is not in its truest form. Imagine this scenario: the Houston Rockets are up by 15 to the Cleveland Cavaliers with 10 seconds to go in the third quarter. As the clock winds down, the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving drives to the basket and misses a layup. With three seconds left, James Harden grabs the rebound and holds it – Rockets up 15 to end the third quarter. However, the Cavaliers make a great fourth-quarter push and eventually win by a point.
Now this: without worrying a half-court shot could potentially hurt him down the road financially, Harden takes one dribble, spins around a defender, and throws up a wild, off-balance 60-footer. Swish.
Down by 18, the Cavaliers walk back to the bench with new-found dejection, possibly with the added emotion “maybe this just isn’t our night.” Maybe Harden’s three is the difference in the game. Maybe it’s not, but maybe it is. Maybe the Rockets make the playoffs by a game.
In this instance, basketball punishes the team player.
Take Player A, a great shooter in his contract year. He won’t risk taking a wild shot at the buzzer because every miss means less money in his next deal. It’s not that he’s a bad person, just a human being. He doesn’t take any shots behind half court and ends the year 80-200 (40%) from three-point range.
Now Player B, an equally great shooter, but a team player. He doesn’t care about stats. If he has the ball in the backcourt with a second to go in the first quarter, he’ll throw up a prayer because maybe it’ll help his team. He took five half-court shots this year and missed all to make him 80-205 (39%) from three-point range.
At season’s end, the Clippers need a three-point specialist. According to stats, Player A is the better choice, even though their only difference was Player B’s stronger will to help his team.
Mr. Stern, don’t count shots beyond half-court as field goals. Add excitement to the game. Bring back its purity. If I’m tuning in to watch the end of the quarter, so are others, and that means more money in your pocket.
Because who doesn’t want to see more of this: