Early opposition to the jump shot

But in March 1963, a month before his final game for the Celtics, [Bob] Cousy complained to the Associated Press, “I think the jump shot is the worst thing that has happened to basketball in ten years.”  Cousy’s objections?  “Any time you can do something on the ground, it’s better,” he said, sounding very much like a coach who would have enjoyed benching Kenny Sailors or Bud Palmer.  “Once you leave the ground, you’ve committed yourself.”  Jump shot critics discouraged players from flying into the air because they feared the indecision that came when someone left their feet.  They feared the bad passes from players who jumped with no clear plan of what they’d do in the air.  Staying grounded meant fewer mistakes.  It was simply a safer way to play the game, if not as exciting.

That is from Shawn Fury’s new and fun Rise and Fire: The Origins, Science, and Evolution of the Jump Shot — and How it Transformed Basketball Forever.  Keep this in mind the next time you hear someone criticize Stephen Curry for taking (and making) so many three point shots.  This is what I call “@pmarca bait.”


Who criticizes Steph Curry for taking so many 3-pointers? He's insanely efficient. He should take more.

Men of a certain age who grew up watching a more physical NBA, and would prefer to see tougher-looking players out-muscling each other closer to the basket, instead of a kinda goofy looking guy scoring from far away.

Bob Cousy was totally correct, it was a bad idea, and this sort of fan is why he was right.

I'm sixty-seven. The greatest difference between basketball when I was a kid and basketball today is the amount of physical contact that is permitted today versus then. Back then, even putting a hand on your opponent, something you see constantly today, would have drawn a penalty. Walking penalties were also called more often. I must not be of the mentioned certain age. Personally I prefer a basketball that does not remind me of a street fight.

Shaq standing like a tree under the basket is not fun to watch

this nutjob is one


All he does is catch touchdowns!

What is “@pmarca bait"? Where is an example of Andreesen doing this?

Remember Reggie Miller? I don't know what is the reason for his demise, but I predict that as the season progresses, teams are going to figure out how to reduce the effectiveness of Curry's 3-pointers.

The season is 85% complete (and last season, when a somewhat less dominant Curry was the MVP, is 100% complete). The league may adapt to him, but I think the time for doing so this season has run out.

The reason for Reggie Miller's "demise" is he's 50 years old.

Ty Cobb would have hit .270 in his seventies, so that sounds like a lame excuse.

Not in this era he wouldn't.

Reggie was money in the playoffs. He once scored 25 points in the fourth quarter in the conference finals against the Knicks. Earlier in that same series he scored eight points in 11 seconds at the very end of the game. They ended up winning in overtime. They lost to Olajuwon's Rockets in the finals.

I can see the Spurs beating the Warriors but no one else.

The four pointer will never succeed in basketball.

How about the laser pointer?

I've never seen it at a game, but I'm not saying it wouldn't be cool.

Now that's settled, who's going to tell ice hockey goalies to stop falling over and actually play hockey again?

I don't know much about the game. But jump shot utilizes additional power from the legs to shoot further and while in the air can see better on who is prepared to jump to intercept the ball. Strange that the comment came from the land that believe in 'air superiority'.

The jump shot does not utilize additional power from the legs relative to the set shot. Power from the hip drive is used to lift the player off the ground, allowing him to release the ball from a higher place.


"Long-range outside shots require more force from your legs, back, and shoulders."


"Curry releases the ball on the way up. Since he isn't release from the apex". Hence giving an initial velocity to the ball from the power of the legs.

Also shooting from the ground is roughly along the hypothenue of a triangle, shooting from the air is roughly along the side of a triangle. The side of a triangle is always shorter than the hypothenue.



Release the ball on the way up, just before the top of your jump.

Use your legs to generate upforce.

What do you get when you walk into the chess club and strike up a sports conversation?

"Chess is a recognized sport of the International Olympic Committee;" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess

Is this "@raylopez bait"?

As for the jump shot, it's just to get a height advantage. Having your feet firmly planted and two hands on the ball (two handed set shot) is indeed more accurate, but you don't have time to do that. Recall Curry can shoot and make 77 or so three-pointers in practice, if nobody is guarding him.

I can understand the frustration the 90s players have against the new look Warriors. The fact is, teams cannot play defense in the NBA anymore. There were quite a few players who had great shooting strokes back then but they would also get body checked by Charles Oakley when they tried to enter the lane. So i can understand the resentment these 90s players have - they had it much tougher to be effective offensively than these guys do. Can you imagine a flopping pusy like James Harden getting to the line 20 times a night in 1994 like he does now?

Excellent points. Indeed, 'defense' back then was hand checking and running picks. For the same reason 'defense' in NFL football, including chop blocks at the knees and 'clothesline' shots to the head with arms was considered legal, not to mention blocks on receivers downfield before they completed their routes, which resulted in more of a running game. Woody Hayes football, three yards of running and a cloud of dust.

...not 'running picks' but 'moving picks' is the term of art I believe.

I don't watch sports anymore, I play them, with the exception of chess which I occasionally watch live.

Agreed. The rules of the game should optimize over many dimensions: player safety, excitement for fans, cultivation of stars, etc. Getting rid of passing defense made the NFL a lot more exciting because running plays are more exciting than passing plays. But the three point game isn't as exciting as MJ's jumping or Iverson's ankle-breaking moves.

The thing is Steph Curry breaks plenty of ankles too (YouTube has plenty, Chris Paul getting pwned here https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=steph+curry+breaks+chris+paul+ankles&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001 is particularly amazing). He's the most exciting player to watch in decades.

Curry's not a flopper. In fact, fouls against him in the lane are probably under-reported. One of the reasons Oakley could mug guys in the lane was because so many people were packed into it or next to it and moving through slowly. As Coach Kerr points out, Curry (and Thompson) change the geometry of the game by forcing defenses to spread out so much to protect against the 3-point shot. (In Curry's case they actually have to guard against the half court shot.) That means bruisers in the middle have to guard against cutters coming at them with a head of speed not just post-up players. And slamming into a guy running 15 mph is much more likely to be called a foul then leaning on a guy who's trying to drop step you.

Aside from the fact that a countdown clock is needed in basketball to make the players actually play the game, most games are won by the team that shoots the most free throws. Nothing more exciting than watching guys shoot free throws.

I'd argue it's more susceptible to referee interference and manipulation than other popular sports (by a long shot), not unrelated to your point about who's shooting the most free throws. Also the spectacle and celebration of the slam dunk strikes me as archaic and vaguely racist (watch the black guy smash the ball through the hoop!); perhaps I'm just projecting insecurity in re: white men can't dunk.

Yeah I know I'm just a "get off my lawn" old man, but I think the point of basketball should be to create a game that cultivates athletes with quickness and jumping ability. Steph Curry can do both of these things, but not like Michael Jordan. The evolution of the three point shot has been a net loss for basketball.

Alternately, channeling my inner Sailor here, maybe the three point shot will make basketball more popular because white players, and Kobe Bryant's "light skinned brothers", can excel at three point shooting.

There have been five transcendent players in NBA history, the Mt. Rushmore if you will (5 because it's 5 on 5): Wilt, Magic, Michael, LeBron, Steph.
All need only their first names. All five TOTALLY different games, all amazing and sui generis. And we get to watch one just past his peak and one just entering his. Very lucky time to be a fan of the game, like the mid 90s

This season Stephen Curry has extended his shooting range out beyond 25 feet. Is this a permanent break-through, like Babe Ruth in 1919-1921 permanently demonstrating that swinging with an uppercut to hit homers was smart in baseball, or is it just a one time fluke of a great athlete at his peak?

"a one time fluke of a great athlete at his peak?"

Big deal. Stephen Curry probably can't hit a curve ball or even skate. Basketball players are very much overrated as athletes. When Michael Jordan played minor league baseball for the Birmingham Barons he wasn't the shortstop or catcher, he was the right fielder and a tall guy with a weak arm that couldn't hit.

On the other hand, I'm sure that baseball players switching to basketball would immediately become NBA stars!

Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield was drafted by four professional teams in three sports, football, basketball and baseball. When asked if he could have made it in the NBA, he replied, "No". The questioner alluded to the damage done by pounding up and down the court. Winfield said that wasn't an issue, at 6'6" tall he was too short to play in the NBA.

"I ain't an athlete, lady, I'm a ballplayer."

-John Kruk

Just to be clear, as someone who saw his whole career, I can assure you that Bob Cousy couldn't play in that league today.

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Steph Curry can't trade stocks like Michael Jordan

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