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High-arcing threes are not high-percentage shots

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Tuk88, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. Tuk88

    Tuk88 Contributing Member

    Jan 26, 2003
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    It's one of the dumbest things I hear, that because the rim fits two basketballs in it, that the more arc the ball is shot with, the more chances it has going in.

    That's like saying it's easier to shoot an arrow at a pancake by aiming straight up instead of right at it, since the arrow will have more area to hit if coming straight down. Or, like saying it's more accurate to throw a baseball high into the air to get it into a manhole (overhanded, to be a fair comparison) versus just having some arc on it.

    SOME arc is beneficial, as they say Chandler's shot needs. But Harden's arc is perfect, and if you look at the top shooters, they're not shooting rainbows.

    However, when IS shooting rainbow threes effective? When you're shooting them in practice after making a few, but only after making a few, because once you find that groove, knowing just the feeling when you're shooting the balls high up in the air, yes, that ball has a greater area to fall in.

    However, that situation NEVER presents itself in a game. Maybe just a tiny bit on the second free throw, and only if you make the first one.

    Put it another way, using physics, if you shoot the ball with a flatter trajectory and you shoot 4 inches off center (basketball is 9 inches in diameter, the hoop is 18 inches, which leaves 4.5 inches on each side of a perfect shot), that ball will barely make it in. BUT, add any amount of arc to that same shot, and it will hit the rim because the ball takes twice as long to get there.

    It's the same logic as when a player shoots a ball with enough arc to rise above the backboard when they're right at the basket (usually only to avoid an unexpected blocker at the last minute), you rarely expect that to go in, it's considered a wild shot. Well, that's pretty much what a rainbow three looks like, relatively speaking, and the results are pretty similar.

    The mindset of shooting with a flatter arc is also more deterministic, versus shooting with a lot of arc, like throwing a fastball versus lobbing a softball or even a bocce ball. You throw a fastball with confidence and determination, and you lob a softball with finesse and softness. That makes it difficult to shoot aggressively, especially after making an aggressive mood, if you then have to immediately change to finesse. Can you playing shortstop, diving for a ground ball stop, then throwing it high into the air to first? It's very difficult to go from aggressive to finesse in a split second, which is why people who shoot rainbow threes can't do it very well off the dribble.

    Just because a couple of players had success shooting rainbows, like World B Free, doesn't mean being the exception to the rule should be the rule.

    Also, if you're a player that thinks too much, not that it's always a bad thing, but in basketball it is), it's better to just reduce the number of variables and aim for the dang rim.

    This applies to any player, not just one (which would result in this thread being shut down).

    REEKO_HTOWN I'm Rich Biiiiaaatch!

    Jun 26, 2008
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    A high arcing shot is better for transition defense since a flat shot can cause a fast break.

    A high arcing miss gives the offense a chance to get back on defense faster.
  3. Dogtag

    Dogtag Member

    Jan 1, 2014
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    but low arch also give you better chance at offensive rebound
  4. TheRealist137

    TheRealist137 Member

    Jan 27, 2009
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    wrong because the ball spins and you are shooting into a BASKET
  5. delishman

    delishman Member

    Feb 17, 2010
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    Really want to talk about Lin's three point form huh..?
    1 person likes this.
  6. torocan

    torocan Member

    Oct 15, 2012
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    Fortunately for you, PHD Physicists have already analyzed the 3 point shot and ideal angles.


    He was even kind enough to include a video breakdown...


    Now, let's keep in mind that Creighton's analysis is devoid of context. There are times to flatten or increase the arc of the shot. For example, if your legs are going, flattening the shot will give you greater distance. And if a shot blocker is approaching, then increasing the arc will reduce the chance of being blocked. That said, adjusting your angle on a situational basis may not be the easiest thing to do, which is probably why players tend to shoot the shot the same way over and over again, whether there's it's being contested or not.

    And that of course doesn't take into account the Magnus effect (the effect of spin on the likelihood of a ball going into the hoop when it strikes the rim) which I suspect would have some impact upon the efficacy of various entry angles.

    That said, if you're going to have a non ideal release, you are probably better off shooting with too much arc vs too little simply due to the greater target area for the ball in terms of entering the hoop.

    Let's also keep in mind that changing a shot release isn't as easy as it sounds. Players develop long ingrained muscle memory when it comes to shooting. Changing form isn't unlike changing a golf swing... in the end you might get better results, but in the shorter term your performance declines and there's no assurance that the end result is sufficiently rewarding to justify the time investment versus improving other aspects of one's game.

    There are only so many hours in a day...
  7. Nanisteru

    Nanisteru Rookie

    Nov 11, 2013
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    So tell me, who on the Rockets takes these low percentage rainbow shots?
  8. bmd

    bmd Member

    Feb 16, 2012
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    We used to have one of these in high school and college. It's called "The Gun". I used to hate shooting on that damn thing. I felt like I was putting way too much arc on my shot.


  9. Sports2012

    Sports2012 Member

    Dec 11, 2012
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    Lin's arc as measured by ESPN Sport Science was 50 degrees vs the average of 48 of shooters like Ray Allen. They said it's good for Lin to shoot in front of tall defenders.

    I suspected however that it's more than 50 degrees now as compared with his shots in New York.
  10. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

    Apr 27, 2010
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    The main problem with Lin's high arc shot is that he tends to shoot short on occasion.
  11. cbk41

    cbk41 Member

    Dec 21, 2010
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    I believe you are grossly oversimplifying the problem space you wish to tackle, and are completely disregarding ceteris paribus in your argumentation.

    You have to analyze these things one little thing at a time, and hold everything else constant, and then have your presume conclusions be time invariant in order to refute that high arcing shots are bad in general. Yes, a high arcing shot will have a certain high degree of variance, pending severely on the situation at hand.

    But let me ask you this, how do you throw out the trash? Particularly really smelly trash that you really don't want strewn about your hands, floor, etc. and make sure it goes neatly in the dumpster? You align their centers, and gently drop it, making sure it is perpendicular and steady to the ground which holds yours bin.

    You don't want to drop it from way up high, but you want to make sure you are centered all the way from the top of the hold, to the bottom where it goes in for good. It is easier to center high arcing shots, at the cost of giving it more vertical energy and increasing the distance traveled by the shot. Conversely, line drive shots tends to have more horizontal velocity, and while they can be accurate, that energy tends to keep moving because the ball and the rim/board have an elastic collision that preserves that 'oomph' you created to make your shot.

    Have you seen how terrible Parsons' misses from 3 can be? But when his mental and physical game are on he can be insane from range with his laser-like calculate clothesline shot.

    Everything comes at a cost. At the end of the day, you don't want to change your shot motion because we humans are imperfect, and take very well to mechanical routine, so the I don't see the point of questioning this much further tbh.
  12. mclawson

    mclawson Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    I'm having deja-vu all over again.
  13. Nero

    Nero Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    If it goes in, it's a good shot.

    Signed, Purvis Short
    1 person likes this.
  14. langal

    langal Contributing Member

    Nov 13, 2004
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    It is easier to aim with a lower arc though so the correct angle can differ from person to person.
  15. Classic

    Classic Member

    Dec 21, 2007
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    What's Parson's angle? low 30's?
  16. yummyhawtsauce

    Oct 2, 2013
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    lol that's kind of sick. That would be good to have players practice their form. IMHO - arc is good also because you would be shooting over defenders that try to block you. I arc my shot and have to adjust when I shoot a contested shot - but would be easier mentally if I shot that way all the time since my chance of getting blocked would be much lower, and I would not have to 'adjust' or alter my shot each time - which requires concentration and increases chance of missing basket.
  17. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member

    Dec 16, 2007
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    Arc is higher percentage because of the reasons given above and less likely to be blocked. Arc gives shots that "soft touch" along with the right amount of backspin.

    But too much arc makes it hard to be accurate. Your body isn't as efficient in making subtle variations when the trigonometry is at weird angles. It's hard to shoot a basketball forward when you are throwing it up at a steep or low angle. One is the profile of the rim to the direction of the ball (low arc) the other is without much horizontal component, it's hard to gauge distance and direction.

    If you had a machine which shot 3 pointers who's power and trajectory you could perfectly control you'd find that the most tolerance in propulsion and trajectory for making the shot would be at 60 degrees and the least at 35 degrees. But the human body can't control power as well as a machine and that's why 45 degree is better.
  18. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

    Dec 4, 2011
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    It is pretty simple if you look at the SportsVu metrics. 13.4' - 13.8' shots have the best chance of connecting from beyond the arc.
  19. cjtaylorpt

    cjtaylorpt Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    What if you take the Brian Cook method and shoot with absolutely no arch at all?
  20. BDswangHTX

    BDswangHTX Member

    May 5, 2010
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    I always thought it was more about the rotation/spin of the ball, rather than the arch of the path?

    I shoot free-throws like Dirk and D-Fish, but I shoot my 3's like Parsons.

    Regardless of distance, those who play usually know if the ball is going in or not before it hits it's parabolic peak. I always attributed it to how it came of my hand, rather than the release point and/or how high or low the shot is.

    IMHO, that is.

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