The Golden State Warriors are utilizing a fast paced, wide open attack to destroy the NBA – and at least one owner is in favor of changing the rules to slow them down.
Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have been lighting up the league for the last couple of seasons. With a relentless attack that has produced a prodigious amount of scoring – and three point shots – the Warriors are a juggernaut on offense. And teams, perhaps tired of losing to them, are in favor of changing the rules of the game to slow them down.
Enter Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
In a recent interview with ESPN Dallas, Cuban lamented the fact that so many three point shots are being taken and that the line should be moved back to “reward skill.” As if draining a shot from long range doesn’t require skill on its own.
Of course, he masked his comments in the belief that moving the three point line back would improve the spacing in the game and bring back the mid-range jumper – something that is apparently in danger of going extinct?
Of the three point shot, Cuban said:
“It’s getting too close. Guys are shooting a foot behind it anyways… That’s something we should look at. It’s worth looking at.”
Of course, Cuban didn’t specifically name Curry and the Warriors as the reason for his belief that the three point line should be moved back, but with Golden State firing up — and making — three pointers at will, there can be little doubt about who his comments were directed at.
So far this season, the Houston Rockets lead the league in three pointers attempted with 1,837 – making 642 of them for a nearly thirty five percent success rate. The Warriors check in with the second most attempts at 1,779 – making 748 of them for a forty two percent rate of success on their three point shots.
The Warriors aren’t attempting that many more threes than some other teams – they just happen to be way more successful at them. Which apparently, Cuban takes issue with. Thought, it makes a certain amount of success given that his Mavericks are in the Western Conference and have to go through Golden State if they want to win a title.
Cuban – sounding much the same way those who are still bitter that baseball introduced the designated hitter sound – went on to say:
“I think it’d open it up more so guys with different skill sets could play. It would open up play for more drives. Guys with midrange games would be rewarded and that would stay in the game. There would be more diversity of offensive action in the game. You’d see a little bit of decline in the 3. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that we shoot so many 3s, but it’s worth it in the D-League to see what happens [with a deeper 3-point line].”
Except for the fact that the NBA is already a place where guys with different skill sets can play. There is already a diversity of offensive action in every game. You have your big men. You have your slashing point guards. You have your point guards who distribute well. You have your stretch fours. Around the NBA, you have guys who can do a variety of different things — and do them well.
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The way Cuban speaks, you’d think that every player on the floor is out there doing nothing more than running around and jacking up threes. Of course, purists will cling to the belief that the long ball is ruining the game and cite the fact that teams are likely going to establish a new record for three point attempts this season – according to ESPN Stats & Information, old record is 55,137 and teams are on pace to launch 58,477 this year – as proof of that and proof that the game of basketball is in decline.
But what Cuban and the purists don’t seem to grasp is the fact the three point shot has allowed a whole new generation of players, guys who – because they’re really good at draining the long ball and perhaps wouldn’t get a shot otherwise – can come into the league and have productive careers.
By being good at drilling the long ball, guys like Curry are able to carve out a niche for themselves. To denigrate the achievements of a Curry or a Klay Thompson by saying that moving the three point line back will “reward skill” is beyond ridiculous. It takes incredible skill to do what they do – as effectively as they do it.
The three point shot makes the game exciting. Curry’s heroics last night in draining a shot from beyond thirty feet to win a big game over the Thunder was an amazing sight to behold. The wide open style of play the Warriors bring to every game is often breathtaking to watch. They bring an excitement and energy that even the casual fan can get pumped about.
There will always be teams like the San Antonio Spurs or even the Mavericks who rely more on the traditional style of play. Move the ball all around the court, pass X amount of times, blah, blah, blah – it’s fundamentally sound, sure. And that style of play isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s not exactly sexy, but it can still be effective – as the Spurs have shown us time and time again.
But there is plenty of room in this league for a team like the Warriors who run and gun. Who bring excitement and energy. Who yes, throw up a lot of three point shots. But to claim that how they go about their business isn’t good for the game – which is essentially what Cuban said during the course of his interview – is as ignorant as it is insane.
If you don’t like how the Warriors play, stop them. Find a way to neutralize their up tempo, high octane offense. But to advocate changing the rules simply because the Warriors are better at something than every other team in the NBA – but couching it the way he did – is absolutely bush league. But then, this is Mark Cuban we’re talking about so…