Basketball and the Tree Point Shot

Basketball and the Tree Point Shot Ver. 1.0.1

The Top Gun National Troubleshooter, Retired

“The Gun”



The Golden State Warriors are in the final playoffs for the championship.  This is the first time in forty years the Warriors have made it to the finals when they performed a four-game sweep.  The Warriors made it this far with superb Three-Point shooting from their guards one of which is Steph Curry the MVP of the League.  The Warriors missed their chance to make a four game sweep over the Cavaliers mostly because Mr. Curry was having and Off-Night.  His off-night was made up for somewhat by his teammate guard Mr. Klay Thompson but it was not enough to make up for Mr. Curry’s Off-Night.

One of the First Out-Side Shooters

I was a Three-Point shooter myself in high school when we only got two-points for the basket, which made it difficult to even get the ball to make the shot.  During one game my fellow guard and neighbor that I grew up with were playing against a team that was using a Zone-Defense.  When the defensive guard moved off me to guard against him, he gave me the ball and I turned and shot the “Two-Point” shot from “Three-Point” range.  We performed this tactic three times in a row for three shots and six points.  There was a shout from the opposing coach “Shut him down!!!” The next time I got the ball the defensive guard almost took my head off with a hay-maker swing and the other guard came over to double-team me.  Today, fifty-five years later I could have handled this situation as I had developed the required moves during my pick-up ball years at the local health club.

Shut Him Down!

This is exactly what happened to Mr. Curry, the Cavilers were on him like white-on-rice and his timing of his shots was way off.  They “Shut him down!!”  His guard partner Mr. Thompson, did a little better but they were really into “Shutting Down” the Three-Point shot.  All the Three-point shots appeared to be hurried shots.

The Workaround

Here is how I learned to handle this “Shut him down” tactic.  And when Mr. Curry is “On his game” his shot looks similar to the one I developed but not quite the same arc of the shot. I am 5’-8” tall so learning how to manage the big guys took some time.  Here was my solution and the simple physics about the shot.  The shot should be made from a solid and reproducible foundation. My opposition noted that “When he puts that left foot out he is going to shoot”.   That’s right; I put both feet tangent to the Three-Point arc so the basket was always straight ahead.  They knew when I was going to shoot and they would fly into the air to block the shot.  The next tactic I learned was to shoot with a very high arc that would go over their out-reached hands.  Since the basket was always straight ahead and always at the same distance, at the chosen spots to shoot the shot, all that was necessary was to put the ball up at the same launch angle high enough to clear the out-reached hands, I did not have to see the basket, I only needed to put the ball on the establish arc to the basket.  This is really simple physics and is used in artillery firing all the time.  Determine the correct arc to the target and put the ball on that arc.

The High Arc Shot

There is an additional benefit to this “High Arc” shot.  From the perspective of the ball the basket is bigger.  This again is simple physics.  With a high arc the ball is almost coming straight down at the basket.  A ball with a “Low Arc” will see more rim than empty space and the shot must be precise or it will hit the rim and bounce back into the court.  When the ball is coming straight down at the basket and nicks the rim, its momentum will carry the ball through the basket.  As a result of this downward momentum, there are larger error bars on this “High-Arcing” ball that will allow it to go through the basket.  Therefore, the shot does not have to be as precise as the ball shot on a “Low Arc”. The “High Arc” will go over the out-reached arms and hands of the defensive player, you do not have to see the basket and the ball will have a higher percentage of going through the basket.  I earned the reputation at this health club as “The Gun”.



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