DENVER (AP) — The 3-point shot of Dallas forward Grant Williams felt slightly off all morning in practice on the new, brightly painted Denver Nuggets court.
Turns out, it wasn’t his shot at all. It was a wrongly measured 3-point line.
The line’s curvature was painted too far back on the blue-and-yellow floor that Denver will use for the NBA’s In-season Tournament that made its debut Friday night. In the time between shootaround and the game between the Mavericks and Nuggets, the line was repainted to the right distance.
“I’m like, ‘There’s no way this is supposed to be this far,’” Williams said of his morning shootaround. “Everything was short. Plus, I could just tell from the perception, either it was the blue court and it’s messing with my eyes in the empty arena, or this line is long.”
Indeed, it was too far back.
Williams went out in pregame warmups and he was back on target. He said there was still the faint remnant of the other 3-point mark.
“You could tell the line is still kind of marked on the court, so it’s going to be kind of weird,” Williams said. “But we’ll make it work. Sometimes, imperfections happen so you’ve got to adjust.”
The NBA 3-point line is 23 feet, 9 inches except from the corners where it’s slightly shorter. Williams said it was a tight squeeze between the out-of-bounds line and his sneakers in the morning session.
“I knew right away this wasn’t right,” Williams said.
The league orchestrated a leaguewide court design scheme to mark the inaugural In-Season Tournament. In a release, the league said the unified courts represent the first time it’s implemented an alternate court for all 30 teams and the first time that any NBA team has played on a fully painted court without wood-grain details.
Denver’s floor included the logo “5280” at midcourt, which is the elevation of the Mile High City.
“Hopefully it’s dry,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone cracked of the last-minute floor corrections, “and we won’t have blue footprints all over the court.”
The Nuggets and Mavericks are in a group with the Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans, Dallas and Houston. The six group winners make the quarterfinals, along with a pair of wild-card teams (the two best second-place finishers from the groups).
Quarterfinal games are Dec. 4 and 5 at higher seeds; the semifinals are Dec. 7 in Las Vegas and the title game is Dec. 9 in Las Vegas as teams compete for the NBA Cup.
“Anything that leads to a trip to Las Vegas, bunker mentality,” said Mavericks assistant coach Sean Sweeney, who was filling in Friday with Jason Kidd not making the trip due to a non-COVID illness.
As for the 3-point line, Sweeney said: “Hopefully it’s the correct one now. And if it isn’t, hopefully we make more and it doesn’t matter.”
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA