Getting mad at the NBA's shift toward three-point shooting over around-the-rim action is a fruitless old man vs. cloud situation that's best avoided. But when that old man is San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, people tend to listen.
Pop spoke about his hatred for the three-point shot before a game on Nov. 26. “These days there’s such an emphasis on the three because it’s proven to be analytically correct,” Popovich said, according to NBA.com. “Now you look at a stat sheet after a game and the first thing you look at is the threes. If you made threes and the other team didn’t, you win. You don’t even look at the rebounds or the turnovers or how much transition D was involved. You don’t even care. That’s how much an impact the three-point shot has and it’s evidenced by how everybody plays.”
The coach's Spurs are under .500 in his 22nd season at the helm. And while it can't solely be blamed on Popovich's hatred of the beyond-the-arc shooting, San Antonio attempting the third-least amount of three-pointers in the entire league can't help things.
“I hate it, but I always have,” Popovich said of the shot. “I’ve hated the three for 20 years. That’s why I make a joke all the time [and say] if we’re going to make it a different game, let’s have a four-point play. Because if everybody likes the three, they’ll really like the four. People will jump out of their seats if you have a five-point play. It will be great. There’s no basketball anymore, there’s no beauty in it. It’s pretty boring. But it is what it is and you need to work with it.”
Popovich said that the three, coupled with emphasis on minor touch fouls, has killed any aspect of the game closer to the hoop. His feelings echoed those of Spurs forward Rudy Gay, who made it clear that he thinks that the league has "gone soft" in a recent interview.
"The inside game is kaputski," he said. "You've got to have downhill players, you've got to have people that can penetrate and kick, you've got to have people who can switch, you've got to have big guys who can play little guys."
The team probably could have used a few threes in their most-recent game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The TWolves cruised to a nearly 40 point victory, with 17 threes made to San Antonio's 7.