The Rockets Shoot From Outer Space

Houston has changed the NBA by finding a way to take more 3-pointers: take longer 3-pointers.

James Harden wanted to shoot longer 3-pointers. The Houston Rockets followed his lead this season. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

By Ben Cohen
May 1, 2017

HOUSTON—The original idea to defy basketball doctrine came from James Harden. Not long after the Houston Rockets traded for him, they learned that Harden was an iconoclast. He liked shooting 3-pointers. Very long 3-pointers.

“What do you think?” he said to Houston general manager Daryl Morey.

He picked the right person to ask. Morey understood the importance of studying data before making decisions, and what he saw when he examined the numbers was surprising: Harden’s shooting percentage didn’t suffer on 3-pointers taken two feet or more behind the line. Most executives would’ve thought Harden was nuts. Morey thought he was onto something.

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