Talk about adding a 4 point line has been in the Association for a while. Adam Silver has voiced his desire to NOT add a 4 point line. Yet the talk has continued to appear. Last Friday Larry Bird weighed in with the New Yorker and advocated for a 4 point line. Bird compared the negative responses to the idea of a 4 point line with the NBA's adoption of the 3 point line in 1979.
"We didn't gravitate to the three at first," Bird, now the president of the Indiana Pacers, told me. "We weren't like, Oh boy, here it is! No, it takes time. When they first put it in, some team took five three-pointers a game and that was a lot." This season, teams averaged more than twenty-four attempts, many of them taken from well beyond the arc.
Indeed, our own Los Angeles Clippers averaged 26.7 three point attempts per game during the regular season. While Stephen Curry may be a freak of nature with his ability to hit three point shots in mass volume, he is more of an indicator of the future than an indicator of an abnormality.
Yet not everyone is on board with implementing a 4 point line. In the same New Yorker article, Reggie Miller put it bluntly:
"The league will be a laughingstock, and I will be in the front of the line laughing the loudest. Why are we always trying to change and adjust the game?"
Steve Kerr likewise voiced his sentiment the other day of not having a 4 point line by characterizing it as a gimmick.
"It sound like a circus - you win a stuffed animal if you make a four-pointer ... I think that sounds insane, honestly."
Inevitably the debate seems to come down to a question of how the Association should balance an ever evolving game while still upholding some core identity to its game. There's always going to be a portion of fans open to tinkering with the game to adapt to the new era of shooters and desires of fans. There's also going to be a portion of fans that dislike the idea of changing the game. Instead they would prefer players hone their skills around how the game is shaped currently. A prime example of this split in ideology is the raging debate about whether the NBA should do something about the hacking and is highlighted by our fearless leader.
In the case of the 4 point line, the issue is luckily not a pressing one. Adam Silver can take his time evaluating the benefits of introducing this feature. The game is not "suffering" from its absence. He could test it out during preseason games like he did with 44 minute games. Who knows, maybe a few more seasons and clones of 2015-2016 Curry will push him to do it.