Let’s face it. The NBA isn’t going to get better or more exciting close to the rim. Sure it’s fun to watch highlight dunks, but come on, are size and jumping ability really such amazing ball skills? Watching enormous players score from point blank range doesn’t leave me in awe. It leaves me thinking I’m watching grown men play Nerf Hoops. And have you noticed that even from just a few feet further out many of these guys just aren’t that good? Sorry, but not all 40-percent shooters are equal. Missing 6-of-10 from inside 5 feet (including dunks) in the words of Shania Twain – that don’t impress me much.
It’s like offensive lineman in football. Yeah, they play a valuable role and have a skill set – but mainly these are just giant humans. Highlight material is rare. Outside of pie-eating contests.
See, the further away from the bucket you go, the more talent is required to put the ball through the hoop. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. Shoot a few from near the rim and then try some from 30 feet away. It’s the whole reason this old commercial with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan (maybe you’ve heard of them) is funny. And true.
Yeah, the better you are at making difficult shots, the bigger the legend you become. Who’d have thunk it?
THE GAME HAS CHANGED…
And in case you hadn’t noticed, the current generation of players is getting better and better from range. Like the court isn’t big enough kind of range. They can shoot from the bleachers like Bird and MJ. I first noticed it years ago with players like Dan Majerle launching bombs from well beyond the arc. Now we have Steph Curry and Damian Lillard routinely hitting from the half-court logo. That’s insane. And they aren’t the only ones. Up-and-comers like Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, even Payton Pritchard are fearless heavers from the deep.
The game is changing. And it’s for the better. Here’s 5 reasons the NBA needs a 4-point shot:
THE EXCITEMENT FACTOR
The game got much more interesting and exciting when they added the 3-point line. Things like opening up the floor spacing, how teams had to strategize defense, the thrilling buzzer-beaters. No longer was a 2 point lead at the end of a game safe. Plus, with the bonus points, teams who fell way behind had a better chance to make big comebacks. But they had to earn it. Distance shooting is a real skill. Bully ball for 2 points can suck it.
And just imagine the balls you gotta have to be down 3 at the end of a game and go for 4. You know it will happen. And with defenders terrified of that it might open up more looks from 3 to force overtime. Really, only good things can come of this. Like paying for fifteen different streaming services.
THE FREE THROW FACTOR
Four free throws?? Even good free throw shooters can struggle to knock down four in a row. Now add the pressure of an end-of-game situation. Down four and fouled on a 4-point attempt. Look how often guys blow it when it’s only THREE (or even two). Good luck!
This could even make free throw shooting an exciting part of the game (at least at the very end). Historically it’s been the most boring part of games, ESPECIALLY when that’s how games are decided at the end. Not anymore. Maybe some guys are actually worth fouling in that situation? The pressure to make four in a row with the game on the line. I can’t wait!
THE COMEBACK FACTOR
No lead is safe! Down ten with a minute left? Nail a couple 4’s and it’s a two point game! We’ll have 4-point specialists the same way we have 3-point snipers now. It just keeps getting better!
You’re literally never out of the game now if you have a couple real sharp-shooters. And for the bully ball lovers who cry foul – yeah, one shot from 35 feet out SHOULD be worth the same as TWO of your dunks. It’s MORE than twice as hard. Also, you just hate fun.
THE CURRY FACTOR
We need to reward guys like Curry for being that good. Give them more reasons (and rewards) for that sick talent level. And it will challenge them to keep raising their games. We want MORE Currys in the league, not less. And Seth doesn’t count. That’s like asking for more Star Wars and getting Jar Jar.
Look, if you’re worried everyone will just chuck it up from half-court all the time it won’t happen. If you aren’t really good at it you’re just gonna kill your team. Like when you pick Kyle Kuzma to shoot a technical foul shot.
THE EVOLUTION FACTOR
This is how the NBA can grow the game. Big guys now have to adapt. They have to be able to shoot 3’s too. We want more Joel Embiids, not more Tristan Thompsons. Please. And I can’t stress the Thompson part strongly enough.
Again, fewer Embiids I can live with. But more Thompsons…
Did I mention less Tristan Thompsons would be good? Okay, wasn’t sure.
The bottom line is this – to be a basketball star, you really should have to be skilled enough that you can shoot the rock. No one should be playing in the NBA just because they have the body for it. Do we pay people to be airline pilots just because they look like one? I mean, besides that guy Leonardo DiCaprio played in Catch Me If You Can. But in fairness, he was pretty convincing.
Bring on the 4-pointer. It’s time.
As always, thanks for playing!
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