Written by Steven Vitte
Antoine Walker once joked about it, the Harlem Globetrotters regularly use it as one of their gimmicks, and the NBA actually discussed the possibility of it last year in 2014. Is it possible for professional basketball, and especially the NBA, to adopt a 4-point shot in their game? Many basketball fans and historians would say that there is no need for a 4-point shot to exist in serious, competitive play, and I am personally on the fence when it comes to this idea, but for the sake of argument, why don’t we examine the case that supports the 4-point shot?
Today’s NBA has changed in many ways. While the 3-point shot has been around since the 1980s, high octane offenses on the court haven’t really taken off until these past couple decades. You can credit teams like the Phoenix Suns teams of the 2000s when Steve Nash led the way, or you can even refer to some Dallas Mavericks teams of the same decade when Dirk Nowitzki was almost unstoppable pulling up for 3. Ray Allen’s sharpshooting abilities saved the Miami Heat from despair in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals with a game-tying 3-point basket with 5.2 seconds to go in the 4th quarter. Just this past season, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, known as the Splash Brothers, led the Golden State Warriors to their first NBA Championship victory in 45 years, blazing past the competition with their lethal 3-point shooting being a main contributor.
While power forwards and centers still have their place in the game by crashing the boards and playing under the rim in the paint, it is clear that the main focus of offensive attacks in basketball are revolving around the crafty 3-point shooters. More teams in the NBA are putting out smaller tandems of 5 players on the court, implementing more mobility, speed and opportunities for the 3-point shot. Perhaps it’s not totally out of the question that the 4-point shot could work in today’s NBA?
If a 4-point shot were to be accepted by the NBA, it wouldn’t necessarily be a new thing. The Harlem Globetrotters, as stated before, already use the 4-point shot as one of their gimmicks when they hit the floor and play their fun and exciting exhibition games. Once in a while the Globetrotters will bring out 4 circular pads that are known as “4-point zones” and everyone will just start shooting 4-point baskets from way downtown. The probability of a professional basketball player consistently making these kinds of 4-point shots is unclear because such an experiment hasn’t been tested yet, but I would be open to the idea of the NBA trying out the 4-point shot in upcoming exhibition games.