James Harden has turned to become the most unstoppable scorer in the NBA.
Luka Doncic has gone up to fame on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 3-pointer recessed is the ideal weapon for the modern NBA, a necessity in a game where the ability to find space to shoot back from the bow is more valuable than ever.
"Things have changed and the game is so scattered," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. "Everywhere in the NBA and around the world, everyone extends the range by a few meters more. The 3-point line is much better covered than in the past, so guys are backing up and guys who can create space to shoot 3 without assistance have special skills. It will be a necessary skill more than the game continues to evolve. "
But before the guys who belong to the painting start to lift them from the perimeter, or remove the balls from the rack and take steps backwards during the All Star 3-point contest of the weekend, a few things have to be done into account.
Even Stephen Curry said it was a hard shot to take. It is fundamentally flawed and sometimes it looks like a violation.
"Do you mean when they jump back and travel and shoot a 3?", Joked the Spurs coach. "I guess it's been legalized. I do not know. It is very difficult to keep.
This is because the defender must be prepared for the player with the ball to go to the basket. But instead of continuing forward, the offensive player takes his feet and moves back to shoot, taking advantage of the extra space he has created.
Curry is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in history, but he's also a wizard with his dribble. So whoever defends it can never be sure of the direction in which he is going.
"It's obvious that you respect the athletes who can drive and use their first step, their explosiveness and all that stuff," said Curry. "It's a hard shot to make consistently, but the guys who do it are obviously a shot and a look you can always rely on to create space and make it fall."
There will be more than a few hoisted during the festivities of the stars.
But no-one is more than Harden, whose 151-point losses this week accounted for 15% of the 1,006 wins so far, according to NBA statistics. He dribbles patiently until he sees an opening, then trains for a lay-up or a foul, or backs up for the 3, sometimes a few steps beyond the bow.
Harden, a seven-time all-time star and league MVP and goalscorer last season, has scored 30 points or more in 30 consecutive games, making it the third longest streak of all time. With an average of 36.5 points, he is about to win another title in a race. He added that he had turned to step 3 back to evolve with a game that has already seen more than 2,500 steps back this season, having been only 584 for 2014-15, according to NBAsavant.com. .
"I mean, every year you have to come back better than the year before and for me, I had a good year last year. But we have to come back and come up with a new move or a new package to keep the defenders on their heels, "said Harden." So, whether it's a step backwards or a slide step, just create a split to get my shot. "
Harden has the green light in Houston, although that does not make a good shot – at least not for everyone.
There are times when Harden launches one where it looks like a terrible blow.
He willingly makes longer attempts without completely recovering, which goes against everything the coaches learned years ago. Critics who watched him move his feet often saw cases where he seemed to be moving away from the trip.
Due to the degree of difficulty, the back step 3 may only concern a few players.
Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni likens this result to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a shot that everyone could try, but few people could master.
"Some guys have some talent but it's a tough thing," D'Antoni said. "I do not know the statistics, but it's a low of 20% for most people and it's around 40."
In fact, the 41.5% of Harden on the three steps back was only slightly higher than the 39.5% average in the league, although that may be misleading because very few players are trying – and those who do it are often already good shooters.
D'Antoni thinks that someone will come to shoot well, and this player may have already arrived. Doncic is far ahead of Harden in attempts and efforts, and the Mavericks' rookie goodbye in Europe was a step backwards 3 which helped Real Madrid to put away ACB Championship Series match 4 .
Doncic smiled when asked about the step back 3 and said, "A lot of guys have special moves. It's my kind of movement. "
And even Popovich, who is not a big fan of the happy 3-point game that the NBA has become, gives credit to retired shooters.
"They are excellent, that's for sure," he said. "Do not take anything from them. It has been developed, it is used and nobody is more talented than them. It's almost impossible to keep, but they've perfected it. "
AP Sports Editor Janie McCauley in Oakland, California, contributed to this report.
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