Tucked into the most claustrophobic area on the hardwood 22 feet away from the rim lies the home of one of the most important shots in modern basketball.
The corner 3 is more than one of the most tactically important shots in the league, it has also come to symbolize the data-driven evolution in game play that has turned the sport inside out in the 21st century.
In 2023, corner 3s are a major part of virtually every NBA offense. Despite the fact that the corners represent just a tiny fraction of the jump-shooting real estate on an NBA court, they now account for a whopping 19.6% of the league's total jump shot attempts.
Aside from shots at the rim, the corner 3 is now the most common field goal attempt in the best basketball league in the world, and the best teams in the league know how to hunt out the shot's efficiency -- and exploit it to open up the rest of the court for the league's biggest stars.
Michael Jordan's final NBA championship represented the end of an era. In 1997-98, corner 3s represented just 3% of all field goal attempts leaguewide. An average game included just 4.7 total shots from the corner. The 1997-98 Utah Jazz, who lost to Jordan's Bulls in the Finals, attempted just 105 corner 3s all season.
By last season, corner 3s accounted for 10% of the league's shots, and an average game included 17.6 of them. The same Jazz who barely attempted one per game en route to the Finals took a whopping 852 in 2021-22, third most in the NBA.
Times have changed. So have strategies.