Back in 1998, Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux starred in a Nike commercial where they were training to revolutionize their game to be more like a home run hitter, à la Mark McGuire. They coined the term, "chicks dig the long ball."
And they were right; people love home runs. While the NBA doesn't have a true home run equivalent, the 3-pointer is a close second when it comes to eliciting a strong emotional response from the crowd in the middle of a game.
The 3-point line was adopted into the NBA in the 1979-1980 season and has seen an increase in popularity (at a staggering rate) with each passing season. What started as a gimmick to some, the 3-point shot has truly changed the way the game is played today.
Up next in our fantasy basketball category prediction is 3-pointers made. To begin, let's take a look at the top-3 players from last season in made three-pointers (3PM).
Last Season's Top-3 in 3PM
Finishing in the top spot was James Harden. This isn't going to be Harden's only top place finish in the nine categories we are looking at, either. Harden made 378 three's last season, on a 36.8% clip. Luckily for Harden, most fantasy basketball leagues do not value shooting percentages as much as they do threes made.
Coming in second: Stephen Curry. Curry will likely end his career as the greatest shooter of all time, and it'd be for good reason. Curry hit 354 threes last season on scorching hot 43.7% efficiency. Curry has also lead the league four different times in threes made.
In third, we had Paul George. PG13 dropped 292 threes last season on 38.6% accuracy. George's game has been steadily evolving since entering the league nine years ago. The past two seasons have seen him attempt a combined 536 threes, which is a significant jump from his days as an Indiana Pacer.
Overall, the past few NBA seasons have seen an increase in threes attempted, while mid-range shots have been sharply declining. Let's take a look at who could finish in the top-3 in threes made for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
Predicting the Top-3 in 3PM
1. Stephen Curry.
As stated above, Curry has finished in the top spot four different times. This season, Curry will no longer be playing alongside Kevin Durant, who has moved on to play for the Brooklyn Nets. Curry will also be without fellow sharpshooter and Splash Brother, Klay Thompson, for part of the season. This sets Curry up to shoulder the offensive burden for the Golden State Warriors, and in a lead role with his usual hyper-green light, he seems likely to lead the league in threes made.
2. James Harden.
Harden has finished in the top-3 for threes made over the past three seasons (enough threes for you?) and will undoubtedly look to continue that trend. Newly acquired point guard Russell Westbrook could command more offensive possessions, but opposing defenses will also have to strategize differently for his game than they did for Chris Paul, who previously held the PG spot for the Houston Rockets. Count on Harden landing in a familiar spot on this list, as the offense in H-Town will still be largely centred around his game.
3. Damian Lillard.
Dame cracks the top-3 for the first time this upcoming season after flirting with it for the past few years. The Portland Trailblazers will rely more than ever on their backcourt while center Jusuf Nurkic recovers from injury, which should bode well for Lillard, at least from a fantasy perspective. Lillard is averaging slightly over 215 threes made per season over his seven-year career, so don't be surprised to see him in this spot at the end of the year.
Dick Motta once said, "The three-point field goal will definitely make things interesting", and it surely has. The attractiveness of the three-point shot is likely to continue climbing this upcoming NBA season. Why? Because people love the long-ball.