NBA Insiders Concerned with Overabundance of Three-Point Shooting

NBA Insiders Concerned with Overabundance of Three-Point Shooting

by ORTAK CALISMA on Mar 22, 2021

For a growing number of NBA executives and coaches, the problem isn’t that NBA offenses are wrong for firing up an average of 35 attempts per game from long distance.The problem is that they’re right. It would be tactical malpractice for any team to swear off the 3-pointer. There are a handful of players whose midrange 2-point attempt represents a high-percentage shot, but for the vast majority of players, the best shot is one from behind the 3-point line or at the rim.

Recent conversations with multiple league insiders about the state of the game reveal a consistent theme: As the rate of 3-pointers has exploded, the NBA might finally be reaching a critical mass. Some raise concerns because they believe the 3-ball has created a monotonous rhythm to each game, while others believe it has distorted the scoring system that determines wins and losses.

There's also the compounding effect of all these deep looks. Just the consistent threat of a 3-pointer allows the spacing for creators to find the other hyperefficient way to score -- a shot at the basket. As offenses now field four or even five shooters on the floor, and dynamos such as Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard must be accounted for at 30 feet or beyond, defenses simply have too much ground to cover to properly challenge the barrage of long-range shots. Efficiency begets efficiency. "It often looks like no defense is being played," Casey said. "But when there are four shooters on the floor and a big man at the dunker [spot], spacing is inflated and a defense is stretched to its limit. Guys are working, but it's impossible to cover that much ground against NBA speed, quickness and power."

Changes to the way the NBA was officiated -- first with regard to illegal defense in the early 2000s, then by severely limiting contact between a defender and a ball handler -- liberated perimeter players and put a newfound premium on outside shooting. The result was a generation of players, irrespective of size, who had to expand their games if they wanted to achieve at the next level.

If it wanted to, the NBA could afford defenders more latitude in impeding penetration. At the beginning of the 2018 season, "freedom of movement" was a point of emphasis for game officials, with the intention of almost eliminating any hint of grabbing and arm wraps. The return of handchecking is a non-starter, but finding a happy medium between aggravated assault and a spa day could give NBA defenses a fighting chance to impede today's shot creators.Fans would still be treated to Luka Doncic's unconscionable crossover and step-back 3, but they would also be spared more than five breezy attempts per night from Darius Bazley.

NBA power broker suggested capping amount of three-pointers teams can take per game

A more radical proposal from a longtime league power broker who wishes to remain anonymous (unless the idea gains traction) would curb inflation by limiting supply: Cap the amount of 3-pointers a team can take over the course of a game.Over the first 42 minutes of the game, each team would have the chance to attempt 20 shots from beyond the arc that would count for three points. Once an offense runs out of those 20 attempts, it can keep shooting from behind the line, but each subsequent make would count for only two points -- until the 6:00 mark of the fourth quarter, when attempts would once again worth three points until the game is over. The 3-ball is still the most reliable and entertaining way for teams to mount comebacks at all levels of basketball, so it's smart to showcase them at the game's most dramatic moments.