THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 6
By John Krolik, @krolikjohn July 26, 2022
1 – Is the Four-Pointer the New Normal?
I am convinced that, as FIREBALL3 evolves, the four-point shot will become a part of teams’ offensive gameplans. If you look at the history of every other “gimmick” play from every other sport, the “gimmick” almost always becomes the strategy. In football, take the forward pass, or the shotgun formation. In baseball, take the home run.
In basketball, look at the three-point shot. Larry Bird made 649 3-pointers over the course of his career, and he led the league in three-pointers made in two consecutive seasons. Over 250 players have made more career 3s than him. Garrett Temple, who currently occupies the #250 spot, has made 691. Steph Curry is currently sitting on 3,117 made threes. You get the picture.
In any case, I think we got a step closer to the normalization of the four-point shot in the game between 3’s Company and the Ball Hogs this week. 3’s Company’s first four-pointer of the game came on this play. Michael Beasley is working patiently on the right side of the floor before Mario Chalmers comes around from the weak-side to spot up at the center four-point circles. Beasley hits him with the pass, and Chalmers swishes it. This was a set play, folks.
Later in the first half, on a “no-clear” situation following a Ball Hogs airball, the ball again came to Beasley. Normally in “no-clear” situations, teams try and go right back up for the layup or dunk. The Ball Hogs knew this. With all three of them packing the paint, Beasley tossed it out to Chalmers, who had sprinted straight to the four-point circle on the right side of the floor. Swish.
3’s Company only attempted one more four-pointer over the rest of the game, and they missed it. However, those two early baskets still made a difference. Every time either Beasley or Chalmers looked like they were considering launching one from four-point range, the Ball Hogs had to come all the way out to them, which gave them acres of space to work with when they pulled it down and attacked the close-out. Beasley does love the 4-point line, and is actually 4-11 from 4 and 2-15 from 3 this season. I might be jumping the gun just a hair, but I think Beasley and Chalmers gave us a glimpse at the future of FIREBALL3.
2 – Spin Into the Fire
Bring The Fire challenges have been defense-favored all season. This weekend, it looked a bit like offensive players are starting to turn the corner.
Over the weekend, offensive players went 7-11 in Bring the Fire Situations, and four of them used the same move to get the bucket: a spin-gather for a layup around the defender. In fact, offensive players would have been 8-11 on Bring The Fire Challenges with five successful spin layups if Jodie Meeks didn’t somehow miss this shot.
When you catch on fire, you’re supposed to stop, drop, and roll. When you get the Fire brought on you in the BIG3, it looks like the thing to do may be to keep the roll while keeping moving and staying upright.
3 – Okay, Kevin Murphy is That Dude
So, back in Week 4 I had a last-minute change of heart and named Jason Richardson the first-half MVP over Kevin Murphy. It would seem I have done smarter things than that throughout the course of my life. (To be fair, I have also done dumber things.)
The 3-Headed Monsters are at the top of the league with a 5-1 record, and Murphy has been the tip of the spear. He leads the league in scoring. Defenders have to play up on him because of how well he can shoot the ball, and when they do that he gets to the rim in the blink of an eye. If the defense can manage to contest him at the rim, he has that gift for drawing contact and getting himself to the line. If the rest of the league doesn’t figure out a way to deal with this guy, it sure looks like 3HM are finally going to get over the hump and win their first BIG3 Championship.