Robert O’Connell for the Atlantic ponders basketball analytics and the rise of Stephen Curry.
Like every sport, basketball has recently undergone a statistical overhaul. A new generation of analysts has pored over the game and come to conclusions about the efficacy of certain players and techniques. Their findings have met mixed acceptance from the old guard of coaches and executives, but at least one of their takeaways is now visible every night in the NBA. The three-point shot, for much of its history a novelty or minor part of teams’ strategies, has become an essential component of almost every team’s offensive attack. As recently as 2012, the average team took about 1,200 threes over the course of a season; last year, that number ballooned to over 1,800.
The difference between the Golden State Warriors and most other teams is that the shots go in, often in spectacular fashion. For this 2015-16 season, the Warriors put up more threes than anyone, but they made 41.5 percent of them so far, whereas everyone else is below 40.