Well, this was quite unexpected, but apparently we’ve arrived in the summer of three love.
It started with the Heat dropping a championship-winning barrage of 3-pointers on the Thunder in the deciding game of the NBA Finals, Mike Miller somehow displaying anguish and rapture at the same time while hobbling from arc to arc on that late-June evening.
It has continued with a shoot-’til-you-drop approach from the U.S. Olympic team, which has been on a record-setting pace from beyond the shorter international circle.
And now, as the final coaching vacancy of the offseason is filled, Terry Stotts arrives in Portland with the proclamation that the 3-point line will stand among the lines of attack for his Trail Blazers.
And to think, only months ago, many, apparently including Dwight Howard, were deriding the Magic’s approach of loading up from beyond the circle.
Then again, among the offseason’s biggest moves was the Heat, already armed with the longball from Miller, Shane Battier, James Jones and Mario Chalmers, opting not to go for needed size, but instead for a pair of all-time 3-point marksmen in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
Nearly as surprising, at least in terms of dollars, was Ryan Anderson’s shift from the Magic to the Hornets in a sign-and-trade, a power forward coveted for his 3-point range.
This isn’t to say that coaches won’t continue to stew when the attempts from beyond the arc outnumber the attempts from the foul line.
But when the likes of Mike Krzyzewski, the somewhat stodgy Trail Blazers and the very stodgy Heat are approving of offense from distance, the Mike D’Antoni and Stan Van Gundy fad of recent years, even in their coaching absences, appears to have morphed into a full-fledged trend.
From an aesthetic standpoint, there is plenty to be said about the 3-pointer. Arguably, the most exciting plays in the game are the 3-pointer and the dunk. With the spacing provided by the 3-pointer, the dunks often follow, as witnessed by the Heat’s performance in the NBA Finals and much of USA Basketball’s play in the Olympics.
Inevitably, coaches will get back to talking about grinding and defense, because that’s what they always do, a controlled game perceived as a better-coached game.
But this offseason has presented possibilities for something really fun, something that should be given the opportunity to endure.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.