Saturday 18th May 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Update: Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich Still Hates 3-Pointers


Gregg Popovich is still no fan of the NBA’s three-point shot.

The San Antonio Spurs head coach has gone on record in the past expressing disdain for triples, but his team has typically exploited their existence. Most of San Antonio’s championship teams, especially the one from 2014, have been expert assassin collectives.

Maybe, then, Popovich’s hate is only temporary. Maybe he will come around. Maybe he has come around.

He hasn’t come around.

From CBS Sports’ James Herbert:

“I still hate it,” Popovich said. “I’ll never embrace it. I don’t think it’s basketball. I think it’s kind of like a circus sort of thing. Why don’t we have a 5-point shot? A 7-point shot? You know, where does it stop, that sort of thing. But that’s just me, that’s just old-school. To a certain degree, you better embrace it or you’re going to lose. And every time we’ve won a championship, the 3-point shot was a big part of it. Because it is so powerful and you’ve gotta be able to do it. And nobody does it better than Golden State, and you know where they’re at. So it’s important. You can’t ignore it.”

Oh, Pop.

Many, like myself, and like Stephen Curry, don’t agree with him. Though there’s probably a deeper argument to be made against three-pointers, the “Why don’t we have a 5-point shot? A 7-point shot?” is flawed. (As a quick aside, the NBA has previously discussed adding a four-point shot. One day, it probably will. Luckily for Pop, it’s unlikely owners let it happen while Curry is still in the NBA, drilling 32-footers like free throws.)

What you have to admire is Popovich’s willingness to game plan against his beliefs. There are old-school coaches like himself who won’t adopt certain modern-day tenets because they don’t jibe with preexisting constructs. And that’s usually damaging.

Pop, however, is able to put bias aside and recognize the value of three-pointers. The Spurs rank in the top 10 of total three-point attempts over the last 10 seasons (since 2006-07), according to Basketball-Reference, and prior to this year, before they were trying to build around LaMarcus Aldridge’s mid-range and post game, their offense featured spacing and shooting combinations that were rivaled by only a handful of teams.

So it doesn’t matter that Pop hates three-pointers. He loves winning more. And because he loves winning more, he’ll do whatever it takes to, you know, win—the result of which is the Spurs as we’ve known them, three-point emphasis and all.

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