With gunners like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard leading the way, the advent of the three-point shot in modern NBA basketball has been among the worst-kept secrets in sports. Once upon a time kids on the playground dreamed of being “Like Mike”, straining to reach the rim on desperate dunk attempts than few could actually complete. Now they just back up to the halfcourt line and pretend they’re the latest big-league point guard in a display of equal opportunity glory.
With the Houston Rockets topping the standings (leading the league in three-point attempts) and Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell poised to break Lillard’s record for most long balls in a debut season, ESPN has announced that the NBA has set a new record for combined three-point shots made. Like geese flying north and swallows nestling at Capistrano, this has become an annual rite of spring. The previous record of 23,748 was set last season; this will mark the 6th straight year in which the league has smashed through the barrier.
Out of 30 teams, 19 are either on pace to set or already have set franchise records for made 3s this season, and a couple of others are within reasonable striking distance.
There are shooters now all over the league. Only four seasons ago, the total of NBA players who made at least 100 3s was 57. This year, that total is going to be close to doubled. Across the NBA this season, 91 percent of players have attempted at least one 3-pointer and 81 percent of players have made at least one.
Congratulations to the NBA for continued long-range success. No doubt the record will fall anew in the spring of 2019.
The only serious question—since we’ll live with this topic for the foreseeable future—is whether the announcement should read “record for made 3s this year” or “record for made threes this year”. Weigh in below.