With the Warriors trailing the Spurs by three and 8.7 seconds left, Draymond Green received an inbound pass barely inside the halfcourt line.
He then immediately launched a 3-pointer.
Green’s shot ricocheted off the backboard. Golden State lost, 105-100.
But his heave wasn’t as wild as it appeared at first glance. San Antonio guard Derrick White was running at Green arms extended as if ready to foul. Green was trying to make that a shooting foul and draw three free throws.
It was the “smartest dumb play in history.” At least, that’s what Draymond Green called it.
“I know most people will see that and put two and two together and see what was going on there,” Green said. “Very smart play that ended up being dumb as hell.”
The most important thing to remember when evaluating this play: The Warriors were down three with 8.7 seconds left. They were probably going to lose anyway.
Among underdog strategies, Green’s was… one of them.
If Green had a 71% chance of making each free throw (his career mark from the line, slightly up from this season’s 70%)… there was a 36% chance of him making all three.
It’s tempting to compare that 36% to Stephen Curry‘s career 3-point percentage of 43%. But teams defend the arc much more effectively when they know the opponent needs a 3.
So, Golden State faced long odds, regardless.
Green is starting to specialize in dumb-looking but actually clever plays when his team is nearly bound to lose, anyway.