Associated PressAssociated Press2 Minute Read
DENVER — Grant Williams, forward for the Dallas Mavericks, had a perplexing morning during practice on the new and distinctive Denver Nuggets court. He couldn’t quite figure out why his 3-point shots were consistently off.
After some investigation, it was discovered that the 3-point line on the court had been incorrectly measured and painted. The curvature of the line had been placed too far back on the blue-and-yellow floor, which was specially designed for the NBA’s in-season tournament. Thankfully, the line was repositioned to the correct distance before the game between the Mavericks and Nuggets.
“I was convinced something was wrong. I mean, there’s no way it’s supposed to be that far,” Williams commented on his experience during the morning shootaround. “All my shots were falling short. Either the blue court was messing with my depth perception in the empty arena, or the line itself was too long.”
As it turns out, the line was indeed too far back.
During pregame warmups, Williams felt back in his element as his shots were now accurate. However, he could still see remnants of the original 3-point mark on the court.
“I could still see the faint markings of the incorrect line on the court, so it’s going to be a bit strange,” remarked Williams. “But we’ll adapt. Sometimes you have to adjust to imperfections.”
The NBA 3-point line stretches 23 feet and 9 inches, except for the corners where it’s slightly shorter. Williams mentioned that there was very little room between the out-of-bounds line and his sneakers during the morning session.
“I immediately knew something was off,” Williams admitted.
The NBA orchestrated a league-wide court design for the inaugural in-season tournament. In a statement, they highlighted that this was the first time all 30 teams had implemented an alternate court design and the first time any NBA team had played on a fully painted court without wood-grain details.
The Nuggets’ court featured the logo “5280” at midcourt, representing the elevation of the Mile High City.
“Hopefully, the floor is dry,” joked Nuggets coach Michael Malone about the last-minute corrections to the court. “We wouldn’t want to have blue footprints all over.”
The Nuggets and Mavericks are part of a group that includes the LA Clippers, New Orleans, Dallas, and Houston. The group winners, along with the two best second-place finishers from the groups, will advance to the quarterfinals. Quarterfinal games will be held on December 4th and 5th at the higher seed’s home court. The semifinals will take place on December 7th in Las Vegas, and the championship game is scheduled for December 9th, also in Las Vegas, where teams will compete for the NBA Cup.
“Anything that leads us to a trip to Las Vegas, we have a bunker mentality,” said Mavericks assistant coach Sean Sweeney, who was filling in for Jason Kidd, who couldn’t make the trip due to a non-COVID illness.
Regarding the 3-point line, Sweeney added, “Hopefully, it’s the correct one now. And if not, hopefully, we make enough shots that it won’t matter.”
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