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Bird and the Three-Ball

I don't like hearing Bird say that he doesn't like too many threes.  There are all sorts of stats that point to the importance of the three point shot.  In particular, the stat geeks will tell you that the corner three (because it's a closer shot), is the most efficient shot in the game, except for a wide open layup.

I like Bird, but he needs to realize that the NBA game has changed a lot since he played.  Coaches and players in those days learned the game without the 3, and didn't realize its importance.  Now, coaches realize how crucial good 3-point shooting is, and JOB is ahead of the curve in that regard. 

This changes lots of the traditional wisdom of the game.  Shooting a three on the break is no longer taboo. A Murphy-like big who shoots threes used to be a curiosity at best, and a soft player who won't do his job down low at worst.  Now it's a potent weapon.  You used to live with late-arriving defense on the three, preferring to help down low.  Now coaches know that you HAVE to at least get a hand in the face, and you applaud the effort of the defender who fouls the jump shooter in an attempt to prevent a wide-open three.

I value the Bird's experience as a player, and I'm sure he's great at traditional player evaluation using his good old-fashioned basketball smarts.  But he has to keep up with the changes in the game, and the new statistical evaluations of strategies and players.

O'Brien seems to be kind of a stat geek, and of course he values the three-pointer.  Hopefully he can bring Bird around and inject some 21st century geekery into Bird's old-school basketball IQ.

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