The jump shot is a precise mechanism that relies on a constantly duplicated motion working in coordination with the eyes and brain to, in the matter of about a second or so determine the proper strength, distance, and arc in order to make the ball follow the proper path into the center of the hoop. Slight variations in any of those things can be the difference between points on the board or a missed shot and a potential fast break opportunity for the other team.
The depth of field behind the backboard can, initially, play enough of a trick on some players' eyes that it throws a shot off if it's not what a player is used to. For Team USA, that was a bit of a problem in their opener against France.
A few feet separate fans from players in the NBA, but it's closer to 20 feet at the new Olympic Park basketball arena.
Team USA certainly had trouble Sunday without a close courtside backdrop.
The U.S. led France by one puny point in its Olympic opener and made only seven of 24 shots (29%) in the first quarter. The U.S. also missed its first seven three-point attempts.
Team USA rallied to win with ease, 98-71, but shot only 43% Sunday after shooting 52% over five exhibition games earlier this month, including 54% in an easy victory over medal contender Spain last week.
"None of us were allowed in here before the game for more than an hour. It may take a few games to get adjusted," U.S. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Or, as Kevin Love said: "It does help when the court is more condensed."
It's a legitimate reason for your shot to be off... for a little while. Eventually, though, your eyes adjusted and all you see is a rim that's 10 feet off the ground. Still, it's an adjustment for some people. But not everyone.
"I don't know. I'm not a shooter," [LeBron] said. "I drive and dunk the ball. It doesn't bother me."
Like I said. This is not an excuse that's going to fly for very long. I'm sure Coach K is giving his team a little leeway by saying it might take a few games. If this is used as an excuse beyond the impending destruction of Tunisia, then Team USA needs to look into a mirror, not how far the seats are behind the backboards.
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