Inevitably at some point this season and in seasons past, an NBA player will miss a wide open three. A good shooter will miss a wide open three. The broadcaster, fumbling for an excuse as to why such a great shooter and player would miss what amounts ot a relatively easy shot, will inevitably say the player was too wide open.
Perhaps there is some psychology to this. NBA players after all are used to quick closeouts in the midst of games and rarely have the luxury to line everything up just so. All of a sudden, the extra time from a truly wide open shot allows thoughts to creep in that can ultimately throw off a shot.
The goal for many teams remains to get players as many open shots as possible, but still open shots will be missed.
Miami Heat players may be taking it a little too far. After all, one of the reasons Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and Shane Battier signed in Miami was to take advantage of the attention that defenses would give to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's constant ability to drive to the basket. And the reason the Heat signed these players offensively was because of their ability to create those driving lanes by forcing teams to recognize their presence on the perimeter.
Through at least the first few preseason games, Miami's shooters are facing this new reality and admitting taking open shots is a challenge as Rashard Lewis told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Got to get used to it because that's the hardest shot in basketball. I may have to hold it for a couple of seconds, so I can get somebody closing out to me.
When you're playing a game, you're so used to playing instinctively. When you get a wide-, wide-open three, you're naked. You have time to think and rationalize, and that's counter-intuitive to how we normally play. We normally play instinctively — time to think and time to react only. But when you have time to think in basketball, calculation often leads to miscalculation.
And second-year player Norris Cole says:
Sometimes you're surprised that you're that wide open. Normally, when you shoot shots, you just shoot in repetition. But in a game, when you find yourself just wide open, it kinds of shocks you.
If this is the biggest problem the Heat have, there are 29 other teams that would like to trade. Several other players had similar thoughts about taking and making wide-open shots.
Miami returned from a two-game set against the Los Angeles Clippers in China this past week and have played three total preseason games. The Heat are shooting 40.0 percent from beyond the arc. They are doing this however with Ray Allen shooting 4 for 14 (28.6 percent) and Rashard Lewis shooting 2 for 6. However Norris Cole has hit four of his five 3-pointers and Shan Battier 6 of his 10 attempts.
Indeed, three preseason games is hardly enough of a sample size to say definitively that Miami will struggle to make 3-pointers with all those open shots.
Most NBA people would agree however that the Heat will have plenty of open shots. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade pretty much guarantee that. So Lewis and Allen better be prepared for their new, wide-open reality beyond the 3-point line.