Tristan Thompson... tallest man on the court!

  • I never thought I’d see the day. Tristan Thompson, at 6’9", was the tallest man on the court for most of the NBA Finals last night.

    Someone sent a memo to the coaches in the NBA Finals… “Play small, x-axis ball is what wins!”

    Blatt and Kerr must have started to realize that over 90% of the game of basketball is played at an altitude of 6’ or less. Kerr was the first to learn this lesson. After dropping two in a row to the Cavs, who were playing “tall ball” (and winning) with Mozgov dominating Bogut, Kerr realized he needed a different matchup in the post, so he went small. In Game 4, he dusted off David Lee, 6’9", to man the post. He wasn’t put in for his defense… Lee has offense, plenty of it. He can shoot from most of the floor, can drive the ball and create his own shot, and is an excellent passer, so he can draw in the defense and hit someone open for a 3. This move was brilliant. Even though Mozgov got his tournament high of 28 points, the Warriors ran away with Game 4, in Cleveland, in “LeBron land.”

    Having Lee on the floor not only gave the Warriors another scoring option, he helped speed up the game considerably, and by quickening the pace of the game, the Warriors were able to tire the Cavs and ran them out of their own building.

    Game 5 was more of the same. Even though Mozgov scored 28 points in the game before, he was largely benched for Game 5. Even though the Cavs are in desperate need of another scorer on the floor who isn’t named LeBron James.

    Kudos to Kerr for using size as a weapon. His own listed height is 6’3", but realistically, he is 6’1". Kerr understands that height in basketball is more a state of mind then a determining factor on its own. The outcome of this series is more likely going to be determined by the little guys, not the bigs, even if one of them is named LeBron.

    It feels like basketball is reaching its renaissance. Finally, the medieval thoughts of height being the dominant attribute of a player is being refocused away from point guard Magic Johnson’s legendary status and advancing to players like Steph Curry who uses his footwork and foot speed to create dominance.

    I can see the 2015 NBA Champion t-shirts now… the new slogan will be “Size doesn’t Matter!”

    I hope we can learn something from this. I can easily see our best lineup with Frank and Devonte on the floor at the same time. If it works in the NBA why can’t it work in college? Play small, play fast, win championships!

  • @drgnslayr

    You can go small, but only if you let your guards dominate the ball and the scoring. You have to shoot lots of threes with an all time great shooter like Golden State, or you have to have a dominant all around player like Cleveland.

    Either approach would require Self to change his coaching methods significantly. He would have to allow Frank and Devonte to drive and kick at will with no post ups to open up the lane for the drives. This move would also probably mean that our best lineup could be Mason, Graham, Shooter to be named later, Ellis and Bragg. That would be a very mobile lineup, each guy can handle the basketball and shoot from the perimeter, and, other than Ellis, none of those guys would be a traditional post up guy.

  • @justanotherfan

    I think it is a lot more than bombing 3s. What about penetration? Who can stop Curry on his drives? When he is able to blow by his man and gets to around the FT line he hardly ever misses those shots. So the defense has to try to challenge him and leave someone else open. Obviously, being able to hit 3s makes the offense a lot more “spacious” where it can attack.

    I think Kansas can “go small” with Cheick. He doesn’t have to hit the long ball… he just has to be able to finish well near the rim and be able to pass well. When he gets the ball inside he has to be capable of finding another open man with the pass.

    Cheick can also benefit with small ball by getting out quick on the break. Especially when we play a bigger team… run his man to death! And if the big opponents don’t keep up then burn them!

    I’m really anxious to see Kansas playing with a 30-second clock. I think this will be huge. Why? Because we typically have more depth than our opponents. We should be able to make this a game of attrition!

    I’ve been thinking for more than a decade now that Self needs to use his bench better and make most games about attrition. He should be running in lots of subs and keep the ball moving!

  • @drgnslayr At least there was Releford for a few years. Man was money on the break, the master of angles. He also looked good in the half court on slashes to the rim, the few times he tried.

  • The clock we’re using this summer at 24 seconds will change the way we play, and the early non-conference schedule results should be sparkling because of it.

  • If it works in the NBA why can’t it work in college? Play small, play fast, win championships!

    Its coaching and trusting your guards…other teams have tried it, but kerr’s using his players to their advantage. Self needs to pull a page from Kerr’s book and instead of trying to force players to play they way he thinks they should play, hone their abilities. We all know self get stubborn and falls in love with a player and will play him even after multiple bonehead plays.

    with our line up + depth + experience, anything less than a FF is major disappointment and puts self on the hot seat.

  • @elpoyo Sic-em, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…::rage1: 😡 💥 👿

  • @drgnslayr Yes! You know, I was just thinking about that concept while watching the game again. Im not sure if it would translate as well to the college game though because obviously the players are not as skilled in the OAD era. That whole hypothesis of @jaybate-1.0 rings pretty true in CBB. Although, UConn did do this very same thing when they won it. Small ball, play fast, wear out your opponent and shoot lights out from “fools gold land”

  • @justanotherfan That very same line up you just mentioned, they might actually get to experiment with in the WUGs! What if CS likes it and thinks it might help push him over the hump this season? Ohhh the possibilities, I tell ya.

  • @drgnslayr Again, I am betting that he gets to experiment with this during the WUGs. What if he likes it and it sticks?

  • @justanotherfan said:

    You have to shoot lots of threes with an all time great shooter like Golden State, or you have to have a dominant all around player like Cleveland.

    Yes, it’s more than shooting threes, but the ability to hit 3s is crucial. Golden State’s threat from outside is what opens up all kinds of opportunities. And it’s not just Curry that can hit, although he is the prodigious shooter in the league.

    Here’s my point: You can’t call 3-pointers “fools gold”.

    We had a team last year that hit from 3 like none in recent memory. And then they didn’t, like a spigot.

  • @drgnslayr

    Not a lot of teams can do what GS did and certainly not Kansas. The Warriors really do not have quality bigs but they do have plenty of artillery from the outside and good penetrators. GS did usually get one shot and no rebounding and had no one that could contain Thompson who scored 19 point from within 3 feet of the basket…that is twice as many as his season average; the majority of their 11 offensive rebounds were in one possession towards the end of the game when they got 3 or 4 in just that possession; a trade-off that paid off.

    To do what GS did you need extremely good outside shooters that can create their own shots and KU just does not have any of them; KU has good spot up 3 point shooters. Anyone that thinks KU has great 3 point shooters, take a look at Curry or Klay Thompson or Iguodalas or Barbosa…and tell me if any of them…even in their dreams…can come close to the GS shooters. GS plan worked because they were hitting from the outside; look at the two games they lost, it happened because even the best shooter(s) in the League can have a day or two off.

    After watching every NBA playoff game there is no question that LeBron is the best player in the world, period. However, he does get away with a lot and gets as many or more favorable calls that Michael Jordan, and that is saying a lot. When he lowers his shoulder, pushes off with his off arm and bowls over the defender, it should be an offensive foul but gets the gets the call just about every time. Having said that and even when I don’t really like him much, there is no question that without Lebron, this series would have been over in 4 games.

  • @JayHawkFanToo So to the point, did the three final four teams that shot high three point rates have better three point shooters than Kansas?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I never said that KU did not have good 3 point shooters, I said that KU does not have players that can really create their own 3 -point shots; Davonte is the only one that I have seen that seems capable of doing it.

    KU has great spot up 3 point shooters and thus its efficiency depends on the defense they face, if they are given room they can score, if they are guarded close they don’t. Look at Curry as an example, even when closely guarded, he can lose the defender or slip behind a tight screen and hit closely guarded shots and if necessary penetrate. I have not seen any KU player do that, have you? I just mention Curry because I have been watching him lately, but all the good shooters can do that.

    As far as your question, without knowing the teams and the actual numbers, time periods/games, specific players that you are referring, I am not sure if anyone can answer such an ambiguous question.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I never said you did say we didn’t have good three point shooters.

    The question is not ambiguous. Last season. You can look at the numbers. But if you did not watch these teams enough to know their composition, I understand. Did you watch Wisconsin, Duke, and Michigan State with any frequency?

  • The problem that KU faced is that everyone knows Coach Self doesn’t want to shoot tons of threes. They know that if KU shoots 15 threes in the first half, chances are they will pound the ball inside to start the second half because Coach Self believes threes are fool’s gold.

    It goes against Coach Self’s natural basketball DNA to have his team fire up lots of threes, regardless of who his shooters are. With a different coach, I think last year’s team probably shoots more threes, and shoots at a higher clip because they know they have the green light. Put a coach like Rick Pitino with that team and I am almost sure they chuck 25+ threes a night. But that’s natural for a coach like Pitino. It goes against what Self does.

    Curry’s drives are opened up by the fact that you basically have to guard him as closely as possible because he is so dangerous from three. He doesn’t really need any space to get his shot off, so you have to concede that he may beat you off the dribble just by playing him so close. That opens it up for everyone else because the defense is bent to it’s breaking point by Curry. I couldn’t count how many times Curry was doubled off the pick and roll and Golden State just swung the ball until somebody was wide open. A lesser shooter doesn’t get that type of attention, which means his team isn’t benefiting from those wide open looks.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I can’t say that I watch the Big 10 much, just few games here and there and mostly if they involve Big 12 teams, although I did watch a few Wisconsin games towards the end of the season. I watched a few of the “big” Duke games throughout the season as well as other “big” college games in general, but not enough to know the team composition (outside of the main players) well. I have my hands full following KU, the conference and a few other teams in which I have a personal interest. and frankly, I don’t have the time to follow much more than that

  • My original post wasn’t really targeting the 3-pt shot. Obviously, GS is very gifted at hitting 3s… but even they go through highs and lows, even in this series.

    I still don’t think GS is hitting 3s like they are capable of.

    What caught me in the last two games, the real difference was a few of the offensive changes:

    First… by going small in the post, it opened up another scoring option so all 5 guys on the floor were a threat. Lee is an exceptional passer, too… so once he received the ball in the low post or he drove it into the low post, he would force the double-team and then kick to someone open.

    Second… perimeter GS players started penetrating more and then kicking it out (or in). They were great with pick and rolls. Especially Curry.

    Third… the most important factor was how much they picked up the pace. That was the deciding factor and what tired out the Cavs.

    How many teams can we run out of the gym? 98%? Shouldn’t we win 98% of our games merely through attrition?

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Haven’t looked at the numbers, but anecdotally, I would say UW had more and better trey shooters than KU, but the stacks did not. The stacks stack athleticism and size (the variables of ceiling) first and foremost, and skills (the variables of foundation) second. This is why the stacks have such a hard time winning the rings and require so much assistance from referees to do so.

    I strongly believe UW would have walked away easily with the national championship in a legitimately officiated Final Four. They would have beaten Duke by 15 easy, and probably by 20 with a 50/50 whistle. It appeared Duke was really not a very good “team” at all, and their OAD center appeared a flipping joke saved from total humiliation only by an apparently asymmetric whistle for the last 20 minutes.

    Trey balling will eventually be the way to win at all levels of basketball, once all the old think of coaches gives way to the reality of statistics and probability and the realization that shooters will get more efficient as offenses and player selection and skill development focus more and more on three point making.

    Basketball thinking is about as hidebound as boat design and that is really hidebound.

    IMHO, the ONLY thing that prevented UW from winning was the referees arbitrary bias. Period.

    Golden State is not an anomaly at all.

    Golden State is the statistically driven future of the game.

    Curry is not a freak, at all. He is just a great player that shows what other players can do, just as Luisetti once showed the way to the jump shot itself.

    Golden State proves that the three ball is mightier than the greatest athletic freak on the planet, when the refs have not yet intervened decisively in Lebron’s favor.

    There are always way more unstoppable trey ballers than there are Lebrons. Waaaaaaay more.

    There are always way more unstoppable trey ballers than there are superstar footers. Waaaaaaaaaaay more.

    And this is not at all driven decisively by Curry being freakishly able to “create shots,” which is just the latest rationalization for why the trey balling cannot really dominate the game, and why KU’s great shooters cannot dominate the game. Curry is a great shooter and a good creator. But there have been tons of guys that can do what Curry does. They come along much more frequently than MJ’s and Lebrons and super centers. At any given time in the history of the game since 1960, there have been several of them playing at the same time–easily enough to build a helluva three point shooting team out of. But the hide bound thinking of coaches has prevented the building of such teams coupled with the good defense that Golden State plays. People are way underestimating the quality of defense Golden State plays. They just have to make their commitment to defense in a different way given that they are organized around playing such defense with the abilities of their trey ballers.

    There is no law handed down from basketball heaven that says good defense can only be played by superior defenders, any more than that good offense can only be played by superior offenders. Self regularly chooses superior defenders playing great defense and gets by with good offenders. There is no reason he cannot flip this around and play superior offenders and get by with them playing good, but not great defense. All basketball is strategic tradeoffs seeking the best net benefit between offense and defense resource allocation.

    Curry is frankly not that unusual as a shooter. His coach is just the first NBA coach in quite some time with the vision necessary to build his offense around three balling, when he had a fine shooter like Curry.

    Only the refs, or a horrendous shooting slump, can deny Golden State. Considering Lebron is on Cleveland, I am betting on the refs allowing enough asymmetry of contact by the Cavs beyond the trey stripe to induce a three point shooting slump by Golden State and a Cav win.

    In the Age of the Shoe-Agent-Media-Gaming Complex regime, referees will always be used to “favor” the winner that stimulates the most revenues for the regime. There will be occasional referee failures, but they will be the exception and not the rule. And some of what seem “referee failures” will probably occur intentionally in service of Big Gaming.

    The sport appears fixed at college and pro levels and until the appearances change, I am going to remain a skeptic of its legitimacy.

    But if we leave the biases of fixing out of it, there is just no statistical way for teams tailored around good trey shooters shooting more threes and playing sound defense not to win most of the time against teams playing good defense and conventional offenses pissing away 3 point scoring opps taking 2 point shots. And the more threes you take, the greater your probability of outscoring a conventional offense, assuming both teams play not equal, but nearly equivalent defense. This is such no brainer that it is kind of pathetic to watch even the best coaches, like Self, but all of them really, wearing stochastic blinders. It must have felt somewhat like this, when Galileo looked at planets through his telescope, mastered the obvious, and told Christendom that the earth was not the center of the universe.

    3 >2

    This is as powerful a relational formula in basketball as E=mc^2 in physics.

    Its up there with compound interest in finance and V=I/R in valuation.

    The way to win big and often against any and all conventional offenses is to shoot the trey ball at a higher percentage and substantially more than an opponent, while playing nearly as good of defense.

    To paraphrase Frank Lloyd Wright, “Less is more, only if more is not good.”

    Three is better than two only if your three shooters are not good.

    And shot creation can always be accomplished a variety of ways. It NEVER has to rely on an individual creating his own shot, but it certainly can rely on that whenever you have such players.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    "Golden State is not an anomaly at all.

    Golden State is the statistically driven future of the game."


  • @jaybate-1.0

    I believe, and correct me if I amwrong, that the paragraph:

    "And this is not at all driven decisively by Curry being freakishly able to “create shots,” which is just the latest rationalization for why the trey balling cannot really dominate the game, and why KU’s great shooters cannot dominate the game. Curry is a great shooter and a good creator. But there have been tons of guys that can do what Curry does."

    Was related to my post where I used Curry as an example; however, if you look at my entire statement:

    "Look at Curry as an example, even when closely guarded, he can lose the defender or slip behind a tight screen and hit closely guarded shots and if necessary penetrate. I have not seen any KU player do that, have you? I just mention Curry because I have been watching him lately, but all the good shooters can do that."

    As you can see, I did not indicate at all that Curry is the only one that can do that; in fact, look at the last 8 words in that paragraph - but all the good shooters can do that- and you can see that I do agree with you that there are many players that can do it as well. Look at games 2 and 3 when GS was not hitting from the outside, they lost bot games, the third one big Live by the 3 die by the 3… 🙂 😞

    Also notice that Curry does not always shoot the ball. Often when he is guarded closely or doubled, he will crossover the defender and go for the easy layup or penetrate and dish the ball to the open man…this is what I mean by creating a shot.

    Having said that, my point about KU 3 point shooters not being able to create their own shots still holds true. Unfortunately, KU’s great shooters are spot up shooter and depending on what defense they face they might or might not produce. The only player that I have seen that seems to have the capability of creating his own shot so far is Devonte. and at times Selden when he uses screens. I have mentioned before that if I were coaching at KU I would lock the 3 point shooters and let them watch video of Curry, Korver, Durant, Thompson, the “beard” and others so they can see how they are able to create their own and then I would have them practice until they drop…but I am sure they already do a fair amount of this already…some players are naturals, other learn to be and most just make do with what they have.

    BTW, I am in 100% agreement about the referees giving the game to Duke.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “Having said that, my point about KU 3 point shooters not being able to create their own shots still holds true.”

    I can’t think of many past Jayhawk perimeter guys that were great creating their own shots. What comes to mind is Langford. We’ve had several capable drivers. But how many were great at just shaking a man so he can get off a good perimeter or midrange jumper?

    Right… I can think of Langford.

    Our current perimeter guys are spot up shooters, like you said. Very limited offense. I don’t consider someone a great shooter just from being a spot up shooter. There are a zillion guys capable in a game of horse.

    Klay Thompson was just a spot up shooter in college. He is starting to learn how to create for himself. He still isn’t the caliber of Curry at creating… but great to see guys who expand their games. I really enjoy both of these guys play!

    “BTW, I am in 100% agreement about the referees giving the game to Duke.”

    Gosh… I think this is the first subject where we have a unanimous decision in here!

  • @elpoyo “Self needs to pull a page from Kerr’s book and instead of trying to force players to play they way he thinks they should play, hone their abilities.
    Then let them play the way “they” want to play?”

    So, winning in the Elite 8 and 12th Conference Championship would put Self on the hot seat? When did he turn into Ted Owens.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    No, it was not driven by your assertion alone, but I can see how you might have come to that conclusion. Instead, it was based on recall of several posters starting probably last season, and sometimes even including me, grappling with this whole three point making issue. For a time I bought into the idea that shot creators were essential to playing winning basketball with the trey ball. After thinking about it over the summer, and doodling a bit with pencil and paper with Xs and Os I have changed and come to think that there is sound reason to think open treys can be created by a combination of scripted action, interspersed with simply quick shooting from farther out, when teams lack “shot creators.” Regardless, thanks for expanding on your thoughts. It was helpful in better understanding your thinking. And your thinking seems sound to me. And though I enjoy agreeing with you, I wish we did not have to be in agreement on the refs giving Duke the game, I wish they had blown a fair whistle and that we could have agreed on that…for the good of the game.

    Rock Chalk!

  • @justanotherfan Bill Self doesn’t think 3 pointers are “fools gold”. What is “fools gold” is hitting a couple of 3s early and then clanking 3 or 4 more not necessarily good shots because the player thinks that they are “hot”.

    As an example, in the finals and in the semis Golden State has faced people who like to shoot 3s. When J. R. Smith hits an early 3 my response is “oh crap” because when he is hot he can kill you. On the other hand, against the Rockets if Josh Smith took an early 3 my response was “hope it goes in”. The reason being that when Josh hits one early he is going to keep cranking and in general the result is a long rebound. That early 3 by Josh is “fools gold”. It looks nice and shiny but it causes more problems than not. Of course Josh sometimes gets hot like in the sixth game against the Clippers but that is not generally the case.

  • @sfbahawk I do think you misinterpret Self’s “fool’s gold” comment. I don’t disagree that Self dislikes the scenario you painted, nor that it’s part of the distaste.

    Personally, I think it is mainly because of his bias towards offense that focuses on getting interior shots. I have to agree with him there. That’s my preferred offense, too. But he is just more strict in his approach. He believes that the further away the shot, the more risk involved, thus they are less reliable. He does give as much weight, as many of us do, to the fact that you get three points vs. two for certain shots. I think he also believes that kids/players get enamored with the long shot and that gets them away from “better” offense. He has seen teams go in the tank shooting threes, as we all have. I think he simply thinks that an offense predicated on shooting a high rate of threes equals more risk. That’s all.

    His first utterance of “fool’s gold” was after our outstanding first half vs. Utah, criticizing Perry Ellis. Given the circumstances there, as well as the timing after the spectacular Texas Tech effort, I think it’s mainly because of his bias towards his offensive approach.

  • @HighEliteMajor Sometimes you can be eloquent in your explanations. Even when we didn’t know that Greene was hurt last year and the percentages started dropping. I really think if Greene had not hurt his hip, Coach would have been more welcoming of your offensive suggestions. The sad news is that Greene didn’t tell anyone for a long time. The screens were there for him, but he couldn’t even get behind them to shoot. I wish coach hadn’t been vocal with his thoughts about the three. I wonder where our conversations would have gone had they just started missing three’s without blaming Bill Self for ruining their delicate ego’s. Too me, a good shot is any shot that is taken in rhythm. If a play is run properly and a rhythm shot is missed, Self doesn’t yank a player. I still think he pulled off last year’s success with smoke and mirrors. I respect you a lot, I’m just not on the bandwagon of all or nothing. I want to see progress made from game to game. I want each recruit to turn out as good as the Hype they came in with. Kelly, Yes - Cliff, No. Everyone on this site wants each player to be successful, and it can be upsetting when we see someone like Wayne hit 20 in his first conference game at Texas in his Freshman year and then realize that his knee bothered him for most of his first year. His reverse dunk in the scrimmage last week showed me that he has more hops than we ever saw last year. In all of your criticism of Self, I don’t ever remember you asking him for resignation like the other doubter’s who don’t appreciate how hard it can be to make it to the final four. I too remember when Bill collapsed on the floor when after so many Elite Eights he was finally a Final Four Coach. Then he did it again. Now we expect it. We expect it and we are now very unforgiving.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I strongly disagree with your statement that " tons of guys that can do what Curry does". If that is the case, please name three. Curry is generally compared with Reggie Miller and Ray Allen as the best of all time. Reggie has been out of the league for 10 years and Ray is as close to being out as you can get without retiring.

  • @sfbahawk

    I agree that I overstated the case. Let me restate it this way. The top ten three point shooters in the NBA could in any year give Golden State 85- 90% of what Curry gives, if given similar role and GS could compensate with trading for a slightly better Trey baller at another position. Great shooters are Not scarce.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Wouldn’t it be grand to see someone make a docu on all the great shooters? Perhaps a “30 for 30.” Have someone narrate that knows the mechanics of shooting and have him work through several of the greats… showing ultimate footage on their shots and some of their most divine moments.

    I’d pay “cinema money” for that one!

  • @sfbahawk

    I read his comment to mean that a lot of NBA can do it and they actually do it…obviously not quite as well or consistently as Curry; he is the League’s MVP after all.

  • @drgnslayr said:

    I can’t think of many past Jayhawk perimeter guys that were great creating their own shots. What comes to mind is Langford. We’ve had several capable drivers. But how many were great at just shaking a man so he can get off a good perimeter or midrange jumper?

    Yes. Langford is about the only one that comes to mind because that “create to get an open midrange jumper” does not exist in HCBS’s book of basketball. So even if we’ve had athletes capable, they have been discouraged to hone that skill.

    Now in his defense, the NBA and college games are different. Specifically, the NBA is set up with shorter shot clocks and longer halves to allow for more possessions and encourage more shot attempts (and theoretically more scoring). So a missed shot is in the NBA game is not as penalizing as a missed shot in college where there are fewer possessions.

    I think that partly explains why we see more circus shots and shake-n-bake moves… which are pretty entertaining and amazing when performed by top-tier athletes. And why success in the college game seems to favor a more conservative approach.

    This is how it is for now. Changes in the rules and officiating could change things in college as well, and HCBS will need to adapt.

  • @drgnslayr

    Agreed. So many come to mind. So many different forms! Just in my time.

    This assessment of NBA trifectates is a good ranking system that lists some remarkable shooters:

    “…make at least 150 threes in a season three times make at least 200 threes in one season shoot greater than 45 percent from deep at least twice or have met special circumstances that warrant inclusion (he either played before the 3-point line existed or played when it wasn’t as big a part of the game). A few of the toughest cuts: Michael Jordan (never a great 3-point shooter, even though if you really needed one shot, he’s probably your guy) Kobe Bryant, Dana Barros, Ryan Anderson, and Mike Miller (only made more than 150 twice) Dirk Nowitzki (only made more than 150 once) Mark Price (injuries probably kept him off this list) Sam Perkins and Allan Houston (not quite as good as I remembered) Paul Pierce (always very very good but never great…only made more than 150 in a season once) Kevin Durant (has made at least 125 four straight seasons, and will probably break 150 eventually, but doesn’t yet meet any of the criteria). After browsing NBA history, I came up with five groups of guys that met the previous criteria. Group One – Wings that murdered you off the ball Reggie Miller – The greatest shooter coming off of two, three, or four screens in NBA history, he sometimes struggled to create his own shot. Ray Allen – Allen may have barely finished behind Reggie in terms of coming off screens, but he was also a much better creator for himself. Peja Stojakovic – Stojakovic was slower than both Miller and Allen, but his height and quick release made him equally deadly. Glen Rice – Rice was not quite as prolific as any of these guys overall, but he was probably scarier than all of them if he got hot. Group Two – Wings that could create their own shot Ben Gordon – The former UConn standout has averaged almost two threes per game for his entire career, while shooting better than 40 percent, even though he has only started just a third of his games. Mitch Richmond – Richmond was a thicker, west-coast version of Reggie Miller. But, unfortunately, he rarely played on great teams. Dale Ellis – You know Ellis as the long-time NBA leader in three-pointers made. Group Three – Point Guards Steve Kerr – Kerr shot better than 50 percent from deep four times and 90 percent from the free throw line six times. Jason Terry – The Jet is actually fourth all-time in three point shooting and has also made a living off of being “Mr. Clutch” for several teams. Chauncey Billups – Billups was a consistently great shooter for 11 years until injuring his Achilles tendon last season. Dell Curry – Stephen’s dad shot at least 40 percent from deep for eight-straight seasons. Steve Nash – Nash is one of the few guys in history to shoot 50/40/90 for a season…and he did it in five straight seasons. Stephen Curry – He’s only just entered the league, but this season alone should earn him a spot on the list. Tim Hardaway – The “creator of the crossover” was also one of the best shooters in the NBA from 1994-98. Group Four – “Bigs” Steve Novak – The career 43 percent shooter has actually shot better than 47 percent from deep in three separate seasons. Rashard Lewis – Lewis sits eighth on the all-time list, and his seven-year stretch from 2003-10 is one of the best shooting performances in history. Group Five – Legends that are hard to quantify but must be included Pete Maravich – The Pistol played most of his career before the 3-point line, but studies show that he would have averaged upwards of ten threes a game in his college years if there had been a line…so he has to be included. Jerry West – The Logo is a legendary shooter in NBA circles. Larry Bird – As mentioned before, Larry Legend went to work before the 3-point line became popular, but his resume speaks for itself. Rick Barry – Barry was one of the best 3-point shooters in ABA history, and actually carried his success over to the NBA unlike other ABA bombers.” –Jon Washburn, MSF

    Of course this list leaves off many more great shooters, as the author Washburn notes and does not even consider some of the great college shooters that did not translate to the NBA. My sentimental favorite in this vast group is Purdue’s Rick Mount.

    Regardless, the length of the great shooter list makes clear how many more great shooters there have been than great footers.

  • @wrwlumpy

    I forgive Bill every thing but not radically increasing 3ptas to 80% of all FGAs and winning 5 straight rings before opposing coaches copy him.


  • @drgnslayr

    Is Tristan dating someone named Isolde?

  • @jaybate-1.0 A bit more than “dating,” actually. But I think he’s at the verge of giving her up for a relationship with Iseult of the White Hands.

  • @wrwlumpy Thanks … I am always interested when folks suggest that we replace coach Self – who would you rather have? That’s much different than who would we want as his replacement if he left. Is there a coach you’d rather have for, say, the next 10 years? I can’t think of one.

    I still am very sure that Self caused the team slump by word and deed. That is really not that surprising. Self attacked the three point in his verbiage, surely did so with the team, and instructed the team to take a completely new offensive approach which disdained the three point shot. I believe that 100%.

    Even if Self wouldn’t have vocalized the 'fool’s gold" thing in the media, his “deed” – the tactical offensive change – was a big deal all by itself and gave an insight into practice discussions.

    Now, some might suggest that I’m the delusional one. That’s fine. I just like how the evidence stacks up in this case. Greene’s hip injury explains a portion of Greene’s ills behind the line.

  • The “can’t create your shot like an NBA player”, by the way, is a red-herring when it comes to coaching college basketball.

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – scheme. It’s the primary way that shots are created in the college game, and is much more important as the relative skill level of players decreases. The college game’s defensive rules (lack of restrictions) make scheming even that much more important.

  • To bad this guy is gone!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    You are right. The college game is all about schemes. It is rare that a guy comes along who can always create his own shot in the college ranks. Even Steph Curry had some issues creating in college, though not many. We prevented him from getting his shot when it counted most. Today… he would be able to get that shot off, even under a double-team.

    It is just too much to ask of our perimeter guys to start creating their own shots when they have never had to before. It takes time to develop this valuable tool… so much so that not even many pros can do it.

    But what we can teach these guys is how to watch the defenders challenge and learn when to use a shot fake and draw fouls. This isn’t tough at all to learn and just having this one tiny tool in the tool chest means putting opponents in foul trouble and making them be more conservative on contesting shots.

    What really bothers me is we don’t teach this part of the game, and every season we have to deal with opponents who are throttled up because they are playing Kansas and they totally over-commit themselves trying to defend perimeter shots. We could be living at the FT line and putting opponents in deep foul trouble and then creating a safe barrier for our perimeter guys to get off their shots. All this from teaching one easy-to-learn tool.

    I’ll never forget our total beat down from UK last year and the sportscasters screaming at Kansas (at halftime) to use shot fakes. Even these guys could see it.

    It boggles my mind…

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Considering that zone defenses are no longer explicitly banned in the NBA and they are controlled via the 3 second rule inside 16 feet, what specific restrictions would you say are the biggest difference between college and the NBA, other than the 3 point line distance?

  • @jaybate-1.0 Is Curry not the best shooter in the league right now? I mean at the rate he is going, he will shatter the record for all time 3pta’s made and push it out so far that noone will break his record for a very very long time.

  • @drgnslayr when I think of you, I see shot fakes!

  • @JayHawkFanToo The defensive three second rule you mentioned which seems to create different offensive opportunities, particularly the two-man game all over the court. But also how the game is refereed. The application of the rules, as compared to college. In CBB, it is just a much more physical game – more is permitted to stop the guy with the ball and to impede offensive basketball. It the “freedom of movement” thing I’m so tired of hearing about. I prefer CBB.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    " In CBB, it is just a much more physical game…"

    Did you mean to say the NBA is a a more physical game?

    If you watch all the NBA series, one of the main complaint was how differently games were called; in this respect it is no different than CBB. IMHO, the main difference between the NBA and CBB is the speed of the game but this is true for all pro vs college sports. Jeff Withey recently commented on this:

    .“You don’t have to be big to be physical. Some of it definitely is that the game has slowed down for me now. I understand things a lot better.”

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    “when I think of you, I see shot fakes!”

    Thanks! It could be a lot worse… glad you don’t see empty beer cans and cigarette butts!

  • @JayHawkFanToo I watched a lot of the NBA playoffs. I felt they were refereed a bit different than the regular season. But no, I think in CBB there is more contact, more interference with drivers to the hoop, more defensive activity that doesn’t get called, and less space to drive. The constant talk over the last two seasons is trying to increase the “freedom of movement” thing.

    I know you fight this scheme thing at every turn, and you really don’t think it’s possible to get Brannen Greene open for three pointers.

  • @drgnslayr or the “P” word!

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