A Strategy Taken From the 3-Point Shot in Basketball


Solving problems, finding solutions, and self-improvement through applied game theory tips, techniques, tools, life hacks  tactics, and strategies, 


Winning the Game of Life is all about rules, teams, referees, scoring, collaboration, skill, strategies, tactics, etc.


Before we get started, here is a short introduction (including a video)  to help you understand applied game theory. It is written for a child so anyone can understand it. Click below…



Q. Lewis, what can you learn as a strategist by observing team sports? Also, please give me a specific example or scenario?

A. Much of what I write about concerning HAGT (Harrison’s Applied Game Theory) is influenced by patterns and unique successes that I observe in the world of puzzles, games, and team sports.

Recently, I have noticed a number of media stories concerning the 3-point shot or field-goal in basketball.

The three-point field goal was created in the 1960s for professional basketball and in the 1980s for collegiate basketball. Today it is as popular as “the dunk.”



A three-point field goal is a successful scoring attempt worth three points that have been made from beyond a designated arc surrounding the basket. In men’s (NBA) basketball this arc is 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m). A successful attempt to score with a shot is worth three points, in contrast to the two points awarded for field goals achieved within the three-point line.

The distance from the basket to the three-point line varies by competition level.


What has been happening lately in the NBA is that teams are increasingly integrating strategies in their playbooks that promote increasingly shooting from deep points (behind the three-point arc). This is a pattern that is dominating play more than at any time in NBA history, and it’s causing problems.

This pattern caught my attention because this scenario is a great metaphor that needs to be studied by anyone interesting in becoming a skilled game theory strategist.



What is happening is that teams are filling their squads with highly skilled three-point shooters. This has completely changed the nature of the game concerning how defensive, and offensive strategies are developed and applied. In the past basketball “sharpshooting”, was limited to a few players on a squad. Over time this pattern has expanded to where now as many as four accurate and precise three-point shooters might be on the floor at the same time, and even centers have become capable of placing scoring shots from the outside, too.

When it comes to shooting there’s no doubt that NBA players are getting better, but now there are questions whether this shift is changing the game so dramatically that strategic skills that worked so well in the past will in time border on irrelevancy. These skills included mid-range jumpers and certain defensive tactics that were so dominant only a few decades ago.  Teams, using sports analytics have come to the conclusion that mathematically speaking,  the best tactic is to shoot as many three-pointers as possible during a game.

So what does all this have to do with how a person runs their business or strategizes any other aspect of their life? The life of a successful entrepreneur is filled with subtlety, nuance, and complexity, hidden behind what appears to be simplicity. For the ordinary thinker or the general video gamer just learning about gamer-thinking can be very entertaining and pleasurable on a surface level. For those willing to scratch the surface or dig a bit deeper previously unnoticed strategies, and tacts begin to appear.

Interestingly the quality of the work offered by many game theorists and problem solvers in the digital age is no better than in the past, and yet it definitely seems so on the surface. This is because the ability to gather, harvest, and use Big Data and what has come to be known as meta-heuristic algorithms, combined with Bayesian analysis seems to have no limits. In these conditions and with these resources even a basically competent or mediocre analyst can appear to be a genius.


The Takeaway

For the basic critical thinker, technology will often make up for the constraints of mediocrity. While individuals and collaborating groups of fixers may be taking on riskier projects today, the overall levels of success have remained fairly constant industry-wide.

Author: Lewis Harrison is a business futurist, author, speaker, seminar leader, and Results-Oriented Life Coach. He has a passion for helping individuals, and organizations, solve problems. He has a passion for personal growth, self-improvement, applied game theory, and Transmodern Zen.

Contact me at LewisCoaches@gmail.com (I promise to respond to you personally)

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