Blame Steph Curry.
He single-handedly ruined the NBA.
It was Curry’s ridiculous, circus-like three-point shots that opened the floodgates that made everyone think that they could take threes at will, too.
Worse, that there wasn’t a bad three you could take, that any and all heaves were acceptable.
Now, the NBA is three-happy, drunk from the arc.
It’s downright comical.
Many have proclaimed that Curry changed the NBA. He did, but in a bad way.
“The thing that Steph Curry has done, and maybe it’s irreversible,” said ESPN sports analyst/college professor J.A. Adande Tuesday night on Fox Sports Radio’s The Odd Couple. “He changed the notion of a bad shot.
“I can show you on my iPad Steph Curry pulling up — one-on-three — with 20 seconds left on the shot clock. But for him it’s a good shot because he’s going to make it. Right.”
Curry had so much success early on in his career in making those kinds of Globetrotter shots that no one, not even his coach, Steve Kerr, would call it a bad attempt.
If some of those ill-advised shots didn’t go in and actually cost Golden State wins, Curry would have had to pull back, and wouldn’t have been able to push the envelope. But when he won two MVPs, one as the first unanimous selection in NBA history, it gave him the license to ill.
Worse, it made others believe that they could let it fly, too. The NBA is a copycat league.
The Warriors were winning with small ball and threes. Enter the mess we currently call the NBA.
“Now everyone thinks they are Steph Curry,” Adande said. “You’re not Steph Curry.
“You pulling up on a one-on-three is not the same as Steph Curry pulling up on a one-on-three.”
Yet we cringe every night watching The Association. Threes are being chucked up in record numbers. The average for an NBA game is now around 80. Yes, 8-0. Four teams currently averaged more than 40 threes per game.
The pen-protector analytics geeks have hijacked the sport. Coaches that once would take a player out of a game for taking a bad three-pointer now just turn away. Sadly, they have accepted it. It’s the new norm.
It shouldn’t be. It’s not good basketball.
And Exhibit A came a few weeks ago. On Feb. 26, the Denver Nuggets were down by two points in the final seconds of a game to the Washington Wizards.
After a missed layup by the Wizards and a kind bounce, the Nuggets had a chance to tie the game. Better yet, a great chance because they had a 3-on-1 fast break.
Jamal Murray, who was pushing the ball up court, picked up his dribble. Murray’s teammates all ran to the three-point. Did we mention that there was no Washington defender at the rim.
With time running out, Murray passed to teammate Facundo Campazzo.
Campazzo heaved a desperation three that didn’t get close to going in. The Nuggets lost when easily they could have tied the game and given themselves a chance to win in overtime.
That’s what’s wrong with the NBA right there.
Worse, the Nuggets didn’t even think they did anything wrong. They honestly thought it was sound, winning basketball. “I looked at the play afterwards,” said Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr. “One of us could have easily cut. …We were just thinking, one of us is going to get a three. And if that shot goes in, no one is talking about it.”
It’s the Curry factor.
According to an ESPN story on the league’s obsession with threes, it points out that prior to the 2015-2016 season, no player had made 300 three-pointers in a single season. Curry had 402 that season.
At age 29, James Harden is already the all-time leader in unassisted three-point makes.
In that story, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is spot on in talking about the demise of the NBA at the hands of the three.
“There’s no basketball anymore, there’s no beauty in it,” Pop told ESPN. “Now you look at the stat sheet after the game and the first thing you look at is the threes.”
Thanks, Curry — for nothing.