Dan D’Antoni had a great explanation for why 3-pointers are the best shots in basketball
When asked if Marshall didn’t score in the paint enough, D’Antoni asked a reporter if he’s ever watched the NBA. He then broke down the math behind why threes are so popular (via Craig Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
“You see those top three teams. Golden State — do they work it [inside]? My brother in Houston, the biggest turnaround in the league — do they work it in? You can go get any computer and run what the best shots are and it will tell you the post-up is the worst shot in basketball. If you want to run down and try to get it [in the paint] to shoot over somebody, then you’re beating analytics. The best shot in basketball is that corner three. The next-best shot in basketball is any other three. Other than free throws, which we try to do, when you get to the foul line, you score 1.5 points every time you go to the foul line in the pros. It just trickles down. It’s the same thing for college kids…”
When a reporter began to ask a question, D’Antoni cut him off, saying, “I haven’t finished my damn analytics story yet.” He continued:
“If you can get a layup and it’s clean — it’s not one that’s highly contested — it’s [worth] 1.8 points [per attempt]. It’s 1.3 from that corner, 1.27. Do you know what a post-up is, with a guy standing over top of you? It’s 0.78. So you run your team down there and we’ll see how long you can stay with teams that can play the other way. You’ve seen it in the NBA. The last two championships have been Cleveland and Golden State. What do they do? You don’t see anybody post up. They just spread that thing out and go.”
D’Antoni said he changed his coaching philosophy years ago, saying he used to coach like a “dummy” by trying to force post-ups.