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A number of commenters have astutely identified the change in shot distribution over Kobe's career, which is due to a combination of age (older wing players tend to drive less and shoot more as they get older or experience injuries) and league trends towards more 3-point shooting.

If you're interested in reading an excellent analysis of the 3-pointer in the modern NBA, I highly recommend Ben Morris's article on Stephen Curry, whose historic shooting ability is so absurd, one could argue he is underutilized despite his high field goal attempt numbers.


The 2016 Warriors have Curry who broke his own record for 3-pointers in a season (and now holds the #1, #2, #4, and #7 slots for that record), but they also have Klay Thompson whose season was good enough for #3 all-time in the books. Thompson is shooting .420 to Curry's .444 so it's not like Curry's being underutilized in favor of a poor outside shooter.

Great stat I saw today: the 95-96 Bulls made 544 3-pointers that year. The 2015-2016 Warriors, if you took away every 3-pointer that Curry made, would still have 675. The game has changed indeed!

I was brushing up on Zache Lowe yesterday and came across this (extremly HN-friendly) gem from a few years ago[0] about the Raptors' program for mapping ideal defensive positions, and I couldn't get over the part where the analytics team was begging the coaches to make players shoot more 3s. I guess all it took was a coach known for being a sniper in his playing days having two of the three best shooters in the league to make that analytical dream a reality.


The game has changed because defense is almost non-existent during the regular season. The NBA (outside of the playoffs) is basically street ball at this point. Quite frankly I'm surprised people are still willing to pay money to go to a game and watch it.

There were a ton of competitive and fun to watch warrior games this year that were extremely far from stream ball. You need a better local team.

Yes, and not only that - Curry probably wouldn't be as useful without the defensive spacing and assignments necessary to deal with not 1 but 2 incredible 3-point shooters.

I can't escape Curry even here.. the ubiquitous magical little bastard

My intuition is that 'underutilized' is probably not the reality of things.

One can take bad shots - and part of Steph's magic is knowing what is a good shot for him.

And for him, an incredible shooter, this means plenty of shots from anywhere on the court.

The author of the 538 piece makes an interesting case that he may actually be underutilized. The gist is that his efficiency has not gone down as his number of shots has gone up, and that a "bad shot" for Curry is still better than a "good shot" for most other players.

It's tough, basketball is truly a team game and that brings with it complexity. Defensive matchups, especially.

I feel like he may be "underutilized" on a 73-win Warriors squad that includes Klay Thompson, etc.

But if you asked him to put up 40 shots a game playing on a team with one of the NBA's worst offenses - it would be a whole different story.

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