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Allen Crabbe nearing Nets three-point record

Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe shoots for three

Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe shoots for three point against the Toronto Raptors during an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

If Allen Crabbe imagined Kenny Atkinson yelling at him every single time he went up for a three this season, he would have heard Atkinson bellowing at least 455 times.

Now, we’re not saying that happened, but given Crabbe’s progression this year — from a player struggling with his aggressiveness to one that is three away from the franchise record for most three-pointers made — it may not be all that far from the actual truth.

“Yell at him a lot,” Atkinson quipped Monday when asked how the Nets have managed to hone Crabbe’s assertiveness. “That’s half-joking. I do think you have to push those guys a little more. Now, I don’t think you can go overboard with negativity . . . you have to understand that too much of that can hurt a guy’s confidence. I would say that most of it is positive yelling, but I think a lot of one-on-one talking helps.

“A lot of it is the psychology of the player and how to motivate him to be more assertive.”

The Nets shooting guard has made 166 threes this season, by far the most in his career, and it would be remiss not to mention that part of the reason is because the Nets live and die by the three. They have the second-highest three-point frequency in the league, making up 42.9 percent of their shots, which works out to be 34.9 per game. They also make the second-highest number of treys, at 12.4. In short, Crabbe has been pivotal to whatever offensive success the Nets have had in this admittedly difficult season.

James Harden leads the NBA with 240 threes made this season (Crabbe is tied for 15th in the league). Deron Williams set the Nets record — 169 — in the 2012-2013 season.

“Closer to the All-Star break, I feel that’s when I finally hit my groove,” Crabbe said. “Just talking to coach Kenny, even in film sessions, he’s talking, ‘Get 15 threes up per game, I don’t care.’ So having that type of confidence from your coach, it just allows you to play freely.”

And though this season is pretty much over for the Nets, it doesn’t mean the record is for naught, Atkinson said. Crabbe added that he’d like to make 200 threes in a season. He’s only making 36.5 percent of his attempts, but he’s generally been closer to a 40-percent three-point shooter in his career.

“I think young players need things like that to boost their confidence,” Atkinson said. “Earlier in the season I felt that Allen, when he missed his shot, he would be shaking his head or the body language wasn’t great. I just think having more success is getting him to puff his chest up more — not in an ego, he has zero ego, but getting more assertive, more confident. That’s, to me, when players really can take off.”

New York Sports