Monday, August 29, 2016

What if the NBA eliminated the short three-pointer in the corner?

Three-pointers are taking over the NBA.  Consider this: In 2014-15, Steph Curry set an all-time league record with 286.  A year later he hit 402, breaking his previous mark by over 40 percent.

There are those who think this sudden three-point barrage is ruining the game and that something must be done about it.  The obvious fix is to move back the three-point arc (suggested by Grantland in 2014 and again by FiveThirtyEight this year).  However, that'd be a drastic change which would forever alter the record books.

I'd like to propose an alternative idea:

Take away the closer line in the corner instead.  The NBA's three-point arc is 23'9" inches from the rim, except for by the sideline where it's is only 22 feet away.  I've never understood this.  Why did the league decide it was essential for players to be able shoot threes by the baseline in the first place?  What's wrong with having the arc continue at its regular distance until it hits the sideline?

There are many players who've become proficient at the corner three who can't hit from the normal distance.  Guys like Curry also make the shorter three at particularly absurd rates (sidebar--if the league had adopted my plan prior to the 2012-13 season Ray Allen never would've hit the shot that saved LeBron James' career).  Eliminating the 22-foot three-pointer could cut down on the skyrocketing number of threes made without fundamentally changing the rules of the game.

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