Gregg Popovich's 3-point comments vs league averages vs the Warriors

Gregg Popovich's 3-point comments vs league averages vs the Warriors

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NBA teams are shooting 3-pointers at historic numbers -- but you already knew that. And you also probably know that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich isn't a fan of the increased volume.

“These days there’s such an emphasis on the 3 because it’s proven to be analytically correct,” Popovich said last week. “Now you look at a stat sheet after a game and the first thing you look at is the 3s. If you made 3s and the other team didn’t, you win. You don’t even look at the rebounds or the turnovers or how much transition (defense) was involved. You don’t even care. That’s how much an impact the 3 shot has and it’s evidenced by how everybody plays.

“I hate it, but I always have. I’ve hated the 3 for 20 years. That’s why I make a joke all the time (and say) if we’re going to make it a different game, let’s have a four-point play. Because if everybody likes the 3, they’ll really like the 4. People will jump out of their seats if you have a five-point play. It will be great. There’s no basketball anymore, there’s no beauty in it. It’s pretty boring. But it is what it is and you need to work with it.”

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The funny thing is -- Steve Kerr played for Popovich and the Warriors currently rank 19th in 3-point attempts (29.5), while the Spurs shoot the second fewest (24.4).

NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh decided to put Popovich's comments to the test, so he dove into the numbers. After analyzing the box score for every single game this season (through last Sunday), here is what he found when it comes to the win-loss record of teams that "won" each stat:

Here's the W-L record of teams that "won" the stat in the box score.

So basically, simply making more 3-pointers isn't the most important statistic that determines winning or losing. However, shooting better than your opponent from distance is pretty dang important.

Are these numbers representative of the Warriors? Let's take a look at 3-point shooting, with the important caveat of Steph Curry's availability:

-When Curry plays this season, the Warriors are 10-2 when they shoot better than their opponent from deep -- an 83.3 winning percentage, which is about nine points higher than the league average.
-When Curry plays this season, the Warriors are 8-2 when they make more 3-pointers than their opponent -- an 80.0 winning percentage, which is 16 points higher than the league average
-Without Curry this season, the Warriors are 3-1 when they shoot better than their opponent from deep -- a 75.0 winning percentage, which is essentially the league average.
-Without Curry this season, the Warriors are 1-1 when they make more 3-pointers than their opponent -- a 50.0 winning percentage, which is 14 points below league average.

(Another important caveat -- Draymond Green was out for nine of the 11 games Curry has missed this season, which obviously has a negative impact on the Warriors)

As you can see, the Warriors shot better than the opposition from distance only four times and made more triples only twice when Curry was not in uniform. Without him, they went just 5-6 and struggled to generate points from beyond the arc.

So how about this for a main takeaway: When Curry plays -- whether they're making 3-pointers or not -- the Warriors win a lot more than they lose, and Curry is really good at the sport we call "basketball." 

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Seven wings the Warriors could target with arrival of NBA trade season


Seven wings the Warriors could target with arrival of NBA trade season

Though coach Steve Kerr has said the Warriors are not likely to make a trade, general manager Bob Myers has shown more flexibility on the idea. That’s Myers’ MO. Like most personnel executives, he must be prepared to pivot at a moment’s notice.

The possibilities expanded Saturday, when the NBA trade window opened wide enough to include most players signed over the summer. All indications are the Warriors will observe rather than shop because they have a “trade” in the works.

They’ll be deeper and more formidable after DeMarcus Cousins is cleared for game activity. He is their in-season addition. Though the Warriors have been discreet about revealing a timeline, all hints imply it’s a matter of weeks, not months.

Kerr is not eager to make a move until Cousins has been evaluated. What can the team expect? How smooth is the transition? Why add a big man now if Cousins can play 20 minutes by the end of the month and 25 -- or more -- at some point in January?

So if the Warriors were to make a deal, it likely would involve a wing. They realize a tweak here or there might help. The fragile health of veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, both currently out, has the front office on alert. If either is out for an extended period, the Warriors have work to do.

Here are, alphabetically, seven wings/forwards on the market, with comment:

Carmelo Anthony (F)

Pros: A very available future Hall of Famer.
Cons: Shooting touch has abandoned him, and he can’t defend a barstool.
Verdict: He’s done.

Alec Burks (F/G)

Pros: Can play three positions, would love to leave Cleveland and he’s 27.
Cons: He’s making $11.54 million this season.
Verdict: He can help.

Vince Carter (F/G)

Pros: Popular future Hall of Famer is still dunking at age 41 for the Hawks.
Cons: Is it ageism to point out he’ll turn 42 next month?
Verdict: He’s worth a listen.

Mario Hezonja (F)

Pros: He’s 23, has some talent and plays with joy with the Knicks.
Cons: His shooting is spotty, and his immaturity might be permanent.
Verdict: Probably not.

Rodney Hood (F/G)

Pros: Plays both ends, is just 27 and is on a one-year Cavs deal at $3.4 million.
Cons: His composure has been an issue.
Verdict: He can help.

Patrick McCaw (G/F)

Pros: Knows the team because he’s on it.
Cons: No indication he wants to be along for the ride.
Verdict: Sure, if he’s in shape and explains the past five months.

Jabari Parker (F)

Pros: Talented enough to be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Cons: Can’t make the Bulls’ rotation and is making $20 million.
Verdict: Nah, but hope he revives a once-promising career.

So, yes, there are players capable of helping. And the front office isn’t sleeping on them. The Warriors must decide whether they want to pursue them now, or wait until closer to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

Warriors Under Review: Defense leads the way in comeback win vs. Kings

Warriors Under Review: Defense leads the way in comeback win vs. Kings

There was not an empty seat inside Golden 1 Center at tipoff Friday night for a matchup between the Warriors and Kings. In the final minutes, most every seat was vacant.

All but a few among the 17,583 in attendance were off the edge of their seats, standing and cheering and enjoying -- or agonizing.

This carnival ride of a game deserved that acclaim. Over the last 12 minutes, the Warriors had it. The Kings took it back. The Warriors reclaimed it. The Kings snatched it yet again before, finally, the Warriors came back one final time for a 130-125 victory.

It was a win to savor and a loss to remember. We take a deeper look at the positives and negatives in Warriors Under Review:


Defense arrives on demand

With Draymond Green and Klay Thompson on the floor to open the fourth quarter, a six-point lead became a seven-point deficit in about three minutes. With the starters back -- Green left but returned -- for the final 5:11, the Warriors outscored the Kings 17-4 by forcing two turnovers (both Stephen Curry steals) and limiting them to 1-of-8 shooting from the field.

When the Warriors realized victory would require five brilliant minutes of defense, Green led the way as they dug in and found it.

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They owned the glass

The Warriors outrebounded Sacramento 60-42. All five starters attacked the glass and grabbed at least eight rebounds, topped by Green’s game-high 14. Thompson pulled a season-high nine. Alfonzo McKinnie came off the bench to snag eight, half of them on the offensive end to aid an 18-9 advantage in second-chance points.

On a night when they hurt themselves with damaging turnovers – 18, leading to 25 Sacramento points – the Warriors found the surest path to offset it.


Thompson’s shot selection

This was another of those nights when Thompson -- unquestionably a great shooter -- took too many quick or contested shots. Prior to draining a huge 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead with 39.6 seconds remaining, he was 0-5 in the quarter and 9-of-26 in the game. Finishing with 27 points on 10-of-27 shooting, he missed nearly as many shots as Kevin Durant (33 points on 9-of-20 shooting, 4-of-8 in the fourth) attempted.

With Thompson’s shooting percentages down across the board, in a contract year, he couldn’t pick a worse time to lead the NBA in field goal attempts.


Looney held up well

Given the sprinter’s pace the Kings prefer, there was legitimate concern about Kevon Looney’s ability to log heavy minutes. Speed is not among the undersized center’s assets. But he was effective over 28 minutes, one off his season-high, with 10 points (5-of-5 shooting), eight rebounds and three assists to finish plus-19.

Looney had a couple rough games against the top-tier centers of Toronto and Minnesota. He bounced back nicely.


A night for the bench to forget

With veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston both out, the bench was predictably unsteady and uneven. Quinn Cook, needed as a shooter and playmaker, was bad on offense and worse on defense. Jonas Jerebko, affected by questionable foul calls, was unusually passive and grabbed only one rebound in 24 minutes, his lowest total in a month. McKinnie offered rebounding and not much else. Jordan Bell, whose speed was desirable, played 10 minutes without positive impact.

The reserves will be better, certainly with Iguodala and/or Livingston returning, but this was a game they should throw into the trash bin.