The NBA Four-Point Line That Isn’t Meant To Be

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Rumor has it that some people way up in the dictatorial hierarchy of the NBA have been toying with the idea of adding a 4-point line to professional basketball, along with expanding the court dimensions, which have stayed the same since Stalin was running the USSR and “swing” was fashionable.


The key word here, however, is rumor.  The NBA released a statement through their spokesman, Tim Frank, proclaiming that “no one at the NBA, nor the competition committee, has had any serious conversations about increasing the size of the floor or adding a 4-point line.”  But both prospects are extremely interesting and somewhat divisive, especially the issue of the four-point shot.

However unlikely the addition of a four-point line is, it certainly is an interesting prospect. Undoubtedly, the new line would change the game. A lot.


Think – what if every time Steph Curry pulled up for some ridiculous bomb that made everyone say, “Oh why is he shooting that? There’s no way he could mak … OH WOW!!  HE SPLASHED IT!” he scored four points instead of three? Scoring would explode for some teams equipped for long shots, while for other teams that rely on big men, the new line would have little to no offensive impact, at least in the immediate future.


Think how a four-point line would change defense, too. With three or four extra feet of arc to guard, big men down low would have more space. Dwight Howard and Kevin Love, with just that little bit of extra space, could raise their already-dominant levels of play.  And the spacing effects would be magnified even more if the court was extended, though it could also make seven footers who can’t make shots outside of layup range somewhat obsolete.  Athleticism would be even more important in the modified game of basketball.


Despite the possible positive impacts of the addition of a four-point line, I don’t completely like the idea. In a league already full of players who just get the ball, chuck it towards the rim, and hope for the best (Rudy Gay and Carmelo), the four-point line would only serve to exacerbate this problem. Watching inefficient players who take long shots far too often (Josh Smith comes to mind) is extremely frustrating; it breaks up the flow of the game, and is not at all exciting.  Watching Smith pull up thirty feet from the basket and launch a soon-to-be-rebound for someone else is not nearly as interesting as watching a post battle between Blake Griffin and Tim Duncan, or seeing Lance Stephenson drive hard to the basket and sink some impossibly ridiculous layup.  Sometimes, high-scoring and powerhouse offenses are not rewarding. If they always were, we would all watch the Arena Football League and Slamball a whole lot more.


But if the four-point line happens, no one can deny that it would immediately be impactful, meaningful, and electric.

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