Stop Denying the Truth

In today’s NBA, firepower from beyond the 3-point line has become pivotal to success. This wasn’t always the case; however, as the skill level of players has improved, it was clear the game needed to change. The Warriors, and more generally, the entire league has become so proficient with the 3-point shot, it was foolish to maintain the same approach that was used in the past. Even legendary shooters that had historically amazing careers couldn’t match up to the talents players in today’s league possess.

To provide context, the legendary Larry Bird played in the NBA from 1979 to 1992. Bird was known for being an incredible 3-point shooter. Competitors would cringe at the sight of him pulling up from behind the 3-point line, knowing that it would inevitably find the bottom of the net. Some experts still argue that he is the best 3-point shooter of all time.

Yet for as talented as Bird was, looking exclusively at the numbers, he is only the 147th most accurate 3-point shooter in league history (as of the start of the 2020-2021 season). Further, every player who has a higher career 3-point percentage than Bird has played in the NBA after he ended his career, with the vast majority playing since the turn of the millennia. Bird’s 37.6% 3-point shooting was impressive in his day, but it pales in comparison to the success current players are having.2

Similarly, Magic Johnson, arguably the greatest point guard of all time, made only 325 3-pointers in his illustrious 13-year career, while hitting just over 30% of his attempts. And in the 1982-1983 season, Magic played 79 of 82 regular season games, yet made zero 3-pointers, missing all 21 of his attempts.3 Conversely, in the first 10 years of Stephen Curry’s career, he made almost 2,500 3-pointers and averaged 43.6%. And in the 2015-2016

season, Curry made 402 3-point shots. In one season, Curry made more 3-pointers than Magic did in his entire career.4

This is hard for many people to accept, especially with the folklore that surrounds these legendary athletes. But the truth remains, the game has changed and the players in the NBA are more talented shooting long range than players who played in the league in the past.

The Warriors were ahead of the curve with this and recognized they could transform the way they approached the game in order to build a champion. Rather than conforming to what had always been done, they discovered they could be more efficient by pulling their center and power forward out of the lane and having an offense that relied more on spacing, motion, and long-range shooting than grit, power, and low-post play. This led to an extraordinary surge in scoring (and success).

The same concept is true in business today. In order to succeed, you must stop denying the truth. Regardless of what you have done in the past, what your business model looked like, and where you placed your time, talents, and resources, you must recalibrate. The business world has transformed, so while the success you had previously may have been good, it will not generate the same results in this day and age.

Your products and services, tools and techniques, and approaches toward attracting and retaining customers must change. Every industry and market has transformed. This requires every business to make pivotal changes as well. The ability to rest on the laurels of past successes and opportunity to deny the truth is gone. To continue winning, you must embrace the new, dynamic business environment that is present throughout the world.

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