Treat it like a “barbed wire fence.” That’s what Thaddeus Young said Doug Collins would tell him about the three-point line. “[Collins] would say, ‘I don’t want you taking any threes,’” Young said before the Sixers' dramatic double-overtime win against the Magic at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. “As opposed to Coach Brett [Brown] coming in and saying, ‘I want you to step back and take threes. It makes no sense to take a long two.’” If it was a barbed wire fence for Young and so many other Sixers last season, it’s become something far more welcoming this year – a demilitarized zone where players are invited to set up camp and get comfortable. That’s what’s happened all season. That’s what happened Tuesday evening, when the Sixers shot 29 three-pointers. Young – who went 3 for 6 from the three against the Magic -- is taking 2.1 three-pointers per game this season. That’s close to his output in 2008-09 season when he took a career-high 2.2 threes per outing. Young is hitting a career-best 41.2 percent from three. This season’s long-range numbers are a huge leap from what Young was asked to do over the last three years – or, rather, asked not to do. A year ago, he took just 0.1 threes per game. Two years ago, he took just 0.1 threes per game. And three years ago he took just 0.3 threes per game (that, after averaging 2.1 threes per game in 2009-10). The same is true for Spencer Hawes, who is taking 4.2 three-point attempts per game. (He fired eight against the Magic and made three.) That’s more than double what he attempted during the 2008-09 season when he took 1.5 threes per game, his previous career high. And his 4.2 three-point attempts per game are close to four times what he averaged last season (1.1). He’s making 45.1 percent from distance, by far a career-high. A year ago, he shot 35.6 percent, which represented his best career effort at that point. You’ll remember, of course, who coached the team the last three seasons. And you’ll notice who no longer does. Under Doug Collins, the Sixers attempted 17.5 three-pointers per game a year ago. Only five teams took fewer. Two seasons ago they attempted 14.6 three-pointers per game. Only five teams took fewer. And three years ago they attempted 15.2 three-pointers per game. Only six teams took fewer. Interestingly, the Sixers weren’t bad long-range shooters under Collins, despite – or perhaps because of - the limited attempts. They shot 35.5 percent from three-point range in 2010-11 (15th in the NBA), 36.2 percent in 2011-12 (eighth) and 36 percent in 2012-13 (13th). But it was clear from the beginning of Collins’ tenure that his teams wouldn’t launch threes with abandon. Only a few players had the clearance to bomb the ball from the outside with regularity. Almost everyone else (like Hawes and Young) was ostensibly asked to forget about the three and shoot from inside the arc.
Shooting more threes makes sense for Sixers
CSN Philly | Dec 4