Tag Archives: 90s

90s NBA: Players who shot worse from the shortened three-point line

During last night’s barn/dome burner at Syracuse, I noticed Derrick Coleman getting some love from the broadcasters. Looking at his NBA stats from Basketball-Reference, I noticed two odd things:

  1. Coleman shot threes, but like Charles Barkley and Josh Smith he bricked many.
  2. Coleman shot worse from the shortened three-point line, the one that went from 23’9″ around the arc to a uniform 22 feet from 1995 to 1997, than he did from the modern-day line. From 1995 to 1997, he shot 67-for-260 (25.8 percent) from three. His other seasons combined: 259-for-845 (30.7 percent).

Some searching on Basketball-Reference showed that quite a few other players had the same, weird drop-off in three-point percentage from a shortened line. Others shot better when the arc went back to the normal 23’9″ (with the 22-foot corners staying) in 1998 while some experienced both the drop off from 1994 to 1995-1997 and the uptick the following season.

Whatever the case, below is a table to show those players who met the criteria previously listed with an additional two requirements:

  1. Play at least 50 games in a season.
  2. Average at least one three-point attempt per game.

Seasons with the shortened three-point line are highlighted in blue and regular three-point lines highlighted in red. It’s a decent-sized list, so just use the bar on the right side to scroll up or down.

Some reasons off the top of my head on why players would struggle with a shorter three-point line:

  1. With a shorter arc, defenders had less distance to cover when running a shooter off it. Shooters who took an extra tenth of a second to get their shot off would be affected the most.
  2. Three-point specialists might not have been used to shooting a foot or two closer to the hoop, though in time they would adjust.
  3. Some players are asked to create with the shot clock winding down. A closer three-point line may have led to more contested shots from beyond the arc versus 22-foot twos. That’s not a problem when three points are worth more than two, but the three-point percentage took a dip nonetheless.
  4. It was just variance running it’s course, though more often than not it reared its ugly head at the players listed in the table.

Other thoughts are certainly welcome.

Just for fun, I’ll end this post with a table featuring notable players who benefited from the shorter three-point line and then saw their three-point percentage (and possibly three-point attempts) decline after the 1997 season.

Opposite from the previous table, the shortened three-point line is highlighted in red and the modern-day line in blue:

Any excuses I made about players shooting worse from the shortened line might be crushed thanks to that second table. There’s a lot of what-ifs after looking at it, such as Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan, among others, having even more ridiculous point totals had the arc remained shortened. Clyde Drexler‘s another shooting guard who would’ve benefited.

Big men like Terry Mills and Arvydas Sabonis would’ve had all sorts of fun, and if a time machine could take LaMarcus Aldridge to 1995 to 1997, he too would feast. LUNCH MEAT.

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What was the NBA like when Golden State last won in San Antonio?

As a basketball fan in Minnesota, I hear a lot about the Lakers’ 22-game winning streak against the local  Timberwolves. There’s hope next year, but I’ve been saying that since 2006.

It’s been even longer for Golden State and their struggles at San Antonio. Their last win came on Valentine’s Day in 1997.

What were those teams like 16 years ago?

  • Three coaches in 2013 played for the Spurs in ’97: Vinny Del Negro, Monty Williams, and Avery Johnson. Avery Johnson was fired from the Brooklyn Nets this year and replaced by P.J. Carlesimo, who was the head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 1997.
  • Dominique Wilkins was also a Spur.
  • The game was played at the Alamodome.
  • Latrell Sprewell was a member of the Warriors. We were still nine months away from his choking incident with Carlesimo.
  • Other notable Warriors: Chris Mullin, Mark Price, and Felton Spencer.
  • San Antonio was in the tank for some dude named Tim Duncan. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves were about to make their first playoff appearance in franchise history. Hmm.

Here were the logos of each team back then:

Golden State's logo back in 1997. It would change a year later.

Golden State’s logo back in 1997. It would change a year later. They still sucked.

The Spurs' logo from 1989 to 2002.

San Antonio Spurs’ logo from 1989 to 2002. Green, pink and orange. Let that sink in.

Since the last Warriors victory in San Antonio, four teams have relocated (Vancouver, Charlotte, Seattle, and New Jersey). One team has been added (Charlotte Bobcats), and there’s been about a kagillion uniform changes.

Here were some notable jerseys that made their debut during the ’97 season:

real97    jazz98         97

What else was the NBA like back in 1997?

  • Tom Gugliotta and Stephon Marbury were Minnesota Timberwolves, Chris Webber was a Washington Bullet, Damon Stoudemire was a Toronto Raptor, and Jalen Rose was playing his first season as an Indiana Pacer.
  • The rookie class consisted of Allen Iverson, Jermaine O’Neal, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, and Kobe Bryant.
  • Kevin Garnett wasn’t even old enough to drink yet, but made his first All-Star Game. Anthony Davis was only three years old and Dikembe Mutombo was only 56.
  • The awesomeness of NBA Live 97 was born.
  • The Clippers (36-46) won more games in 1997 than the Celtics and the Spurs combined.

Other notables in late ’96, early ’97:

  • Bill Clinton was inaugurated for his second term on January 20.
  • Filling up gas didn’t feel like as much of a chore.
  • The Green Bay Packers beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. I was rooting for the Packers.
  • The Yankees won the ’96 World Series with youngsters Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte.
  • Roger Clemens was a Red Sock, Curt Schilling was a Philly, and Alex Rodriguez enjoyed his first full season as a Seattle Mariner. It’s also worth noting that A-Rod wasn’t really that hated back then.

I would go into a novel about how awesome life was back in the ’90s, but there’s some basketball to watch. Speaking of television, here are some quick hits on some TV shows back in ’97:

  • King of the Hill premiered on January 12. Recess premiered on ABC nearly eight months later.
  • Fox’s first Super Bowl telecast. Still five years from dealing with Joe Buck.
  • We were still six months from South Park airing on Comedy Central.

Notable films in ’97:

  • Titanic
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Men in Black
  • Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Liar Liar

Unfortunately, all of them debuted after the Warriors’ last victory in San Antonio.

And now, a potential 30 for 30 about the Warriors’ 16-year drought at San Antonio. Will it continue to 17?

Grant Hill: Ageless wonder

He looks the same now…

…as he did back in 1994. 1994!

For the sake of Hill, I hope the Clippers win a title in the next two years. He was an incredible player in his prime (a better version of Scottie Pippen) and still a key piece to any contender. Also, if Ralph Sampson can get into the Hall of Fame, so can he.

Now if Christian Laettner gets in, we got a problem.

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