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Ray Allen says when he came in league coaches told him not to settle for threes

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In 1996, when Ray Allen entered the NBA, the average team took 16.8 three pointers per game, and it made up 21.2 percent of their shots.

Last season, teams averaged 29 threes a game, 33.8 percent of their shot attempts. That’s 24 more threes a game total, on average, then when Allen entered the league. And more shots didn’t mean worse shots, teams averaged 36 percent from three in 1996, 36.2 percent last season.

Allen was part of that evolution in thinking, he left the game with 2,973 made threes, the most in NBA history. It’s part of the reason that in a week he will be a member of the basketball Hall of Fame. Speaking to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, Allen talked about the change and if the pendulum has swung too far.

“When George Karl came in, we played faster,” Allen said. “And if we had a good shot available, we’d always take it. But early in my career, a lot of my coaches – if you took the 3 – were like, ‘You don’t have to settle. You’re settling.’ Now that’s changed.

“I don’t want it to go completely in that direction – I like to see the big men in the game, to play in the post and play inside-out every now and then. It’s great to see so many shooters, but I don’t want to see bad percentages.”

Coaches don’t want to see bad percentages, either. And they’re not, because guys grew up watching and imitating Ray Allen and others.  Unlike when Allen was playing his high school ball in South Carolina, or his college ball at UConn, every player now grows up practicing threes — including big men. With that, the percentages have not fallen. The game has evolved away from posting bigs — more because of the rule change allowing zone, meaning instant doubles, rather than a love of the three — but teams still play inside-out, it’s just more about dribble penetration. It’s drive-and-kick now.

And taking a three is no longer seen as settling. It’s a good shot that gets you more points than a shot inside the arc, so if you can it it, take it.

Allen deservedly enters the HOF next weekend, nobody’s jumper will ever be purer than his. He is a legend.

But his record for most made threes will seem quaint in a few years. It’s how things are changing, and they are not going to swing back to grind-it-out, slow, methodical, tedious 1990s-style basketball again. Allen was part of that evolution.

Rudy Gobert says France’s bronze medal ‘means everything’

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Some countries, like the United States, don’t really care about the World Cup. The 2019 FIBA World Cup in China was perhaps evidence of that, with Team USA not even bothering to medal.

For countries like France and players like Rudy Gobert, the World Cup is a chance to show that their nation is one that is coming forth as a place to be reckoned with when it comes to basketball development.

France recently took home third place in the 2019 Cup, and for that the Utah Jazz center was grateful. Speaking to reporters after their win over Australia, Gobert said that grabbing the bronze “means everything” to him and to France.

Via Twitter:

That’s some pretty moving stuff from a guy in Gobert who we know is someone who wears his emotions on his sleeve.

Bernie Sanders says LeBron James is the GOAT over Michael Jordan (VIDEO)

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Everyone has an opinion about who is the greatest player of all time between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Most folks still seem to pick Jordan, although it’s been hard to argue with the type of player that James is in a vacuum outside of measurements like championship rings.

In any case, we now have one more person who has tossed their opinion into the ring of public consciousness. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has now said that he believes that LeBron is the GOAT thanks to his public service.

Via Twitter:

“I think LeBron has been willing to do what a lot of athletes are not and get involved in the political process, put money into education, and I respect that.”

James has certainly done a lot politically, socially, and as an activist. He’s supported things like entire schools, and he’s been on the bleeding edge of NBA activism against things like police brutality.

Jordan has also done his part, including a recent pledge for $1 million in funds to aid Bahamanian hurricane relief. Folks like to bag on MJ for his purported “Republicans buy sneakers, too” comment, but it’s unclear whether he actually ever said or felt that.

In either case, it appears that we know who Sanders thinks is the GOAT. Next someone should ask Elizabeth Warren if she would have taken Kobe or Shaq in 2004.

Watch Zion Williamson snap the head off a golf club (VIDEO)

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As any good golfer can tell you, the key to getting a pure ball flight is figuring out the idea of compression. Instead of scooping the ball off the ground, the idea is to hit the ball first and use the ground to compress the dimpled object between the earth and the clubface.

And while New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson probably isn’t concentrating on his golf game heading into his first NBA season, it looks like the idea of compression isn’t lost on him.

As the Pelicans held a golf event this week, Williamson was filmed snapping the head off of an iron while taking a shot off the tee box.

Via Twitter:

It’s hard to tell from this angle, but it looks like Williamson has a pretty solid swing. I’m extremely jealous of the amount of lag he has at the return parallel position on the downswing.

Someone get this guy a stiffer shaft or something. I can only imagine the kind of havoc Williamson is going to inflict on NBA rims this year if this is how the man golfs.

James Harden on Russell Westbrook pairing: ‘We’ll figure it out’

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There has been some doubt that James Harden and Russell Westbrook will be able to fit together with the Houston Rockets this season. Both players have matured quite a bit since their time together in Oklahoma City with the Thunder, and now there are real questions about Westbrook’s ability to fit next to just about anyone.

Like Westbrook, Harden is a ball-dominant guard, and we still don’t know the long-term plan for Coach Mike D’Antoni. Houston has real championship hopes, but they could also look much different in a year or two.

Still, Harden and Westbrook have known each other since they were 10 years old. They grew up together in Los Angeles, and are at least very good friends. To that end, Harden says that he believes they will be able to figure it out even if the first year together has bumps along the way.

Via GQ:

It’s like, yo, we’ll figure it out. Everything isn’t necessarily going to be smooth at first, there are going to be ups and downs, and that’s part of an 82-game season. Hopefully by the end of the season, we’ve caught a rhythm and everybody is on the same page going into the playoffs. That’s all you can ask for.

That’s a pretty reasonable outlook to have at this juncture. The NBA is constantly changing, and it’s possible that these two guys could have such a personal connection that their on-court conflicts end up being negligible.

It’s another new era in Houston as they try to capitalize on the Golden State Warriors’ injury issues.