How the 3-point line is breaking basketball -

How the 3-point line is breaking basketball

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The game is at a turning point. Should the rules be changed?

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The NBA introduced the 3-point line in 1979, and not much changed right away. Players weren’t used to shooting from far out, so for the first few years, they mostly didn’t. It wasn’t until the 1986-1987 season that the league as a whole scored over 100 3s in one season.

The arc of the line was shortened for a few years in the ’90s, but besides that, it hasn’t changed much — and that’s given players and coaches an opportunity to strategize around it. In 2014, statistic-obsessed sports executive Daryl Morey led what many people call the 3-point revolution. He used the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers as a testing ground to see if volume shooting from the 3-point line netted better results than shooting 2s — and it worked.

The math states that scoring one-third of your shots from behind the 3-point line is as good as scoring half your shots from inside the line. In other words: Shooting as many 3s as possible will likely lead to a higher score.

The league took notice, and teams and players followed suit. 3s have become so prevalent in recent years that fans are criticizing the league for being oversaturated with them. Critics worry that the game is on the verge of becoming boring because everyone is trying to do the same thing. And that’s led some to wonder if the NBA should move the 3-point line back.

Additional reading:
Zak Geis compiled data of all the NBA shots since 1999 by scraping the NBA API. His work greatly informed our reporting, and you can find his original data here:

We were able to turn data into graph-able charts using this tutorial:

James Dator is a senior staff writer at SB Nation where he covers the 3-point line, plus lots of other sports — like baseball, soccer, and the NFL. For more of James’s reporting, check out his author page:

And here’s his article on the 3-point line:

Grantland: The Amazing Pace (about how Daryl Morey transformed the Vipers)

Grantland: Is it time to move the NBA 3-point line back?

Basketball Reference’s detailed stats:

FiveThirtyEight: Did Moving The Arc Bring The 3-Pointer To A Breaking Point?

CBS Sports: What the shortened NBA 3-point line of the mid-1990s says about the future of long-range shooting is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out .

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  1. There is something in the American sporting psyche that wants to fiddle with the game. How many time have I heard that Americans want to make the soccer goal bigger, to encourage more scoring shots, and because “players were smaller” when the goal dimensions established. So now, yeah, introduce 3 pointers, change the markings, change them back, change them again, smaller, larger, etc, etc. How about just leave things alone? It doesn’t matter, honestly.

  2. What they should do is incentivize the paint. Dunks should be 4 (since it's the hardest to do every time down the floor) anything under three point should be 3, and beyond the three point line, it should be 2. It would make the game way more physical and a fight.

  3. Curry coming back from ankle injury during 2013 change the game by hitting unbelievable 3s.
    this is like making documentary about WW2 without mentioning hitler. Vox better step up.

  4. If they wanted to disincentive 3 pointers and get closer to the rim, without making really gimmicky choices they can increase the worth of both shots IE make what's now 2 worth 3 and what's now 3 worth 4. This makes the benefit of longer shot less but keeps the current format, even moreso if its say 4 & 5 respectively. The game points will go higher but the benefit of the longer shot is less the higher they both go.

  5. In football, it doesn't matter where you shoot from. If it's post to post, still one goal, from a penalty, still a goal. Maybe, that's the reason why most of the world loves it

  6. They need a 4 pt line heheh… or the first 5 seconds past the half line is 4 pts lol… idk

  7. How about a minus point for every 3 point missed? That means that if you shoot 33% from the 3 point it becomes less efficient than shooting 2s since you would only get a total of 1point in 3 shots. You could also make it half a point meaning 33% is just as efficient as 50% inside. An extreme suggestion would be -2 for every 3point missed meaning 33% from the 3pt line takes away 1 point making the pressure greater leading to more shots missed and also making it a lot more entertaining. It would mean the end of a lot of 3pt shooters careers since their role would become way less valued and maybe even a burden for the team. IMO the 3 point meta just makes the game more skill based than before. You still need to be able to defend, dribble etc but just means that your dream of becoming a basketball player doesn’t have to be impossible just because you weren’t one of the 27ft giants

  8. youtube_myspace_and_i_will_google_your_yahoo says:

    of course vox does not talk about perimeter defense since that is harder to measure and they only want measurable statistics

  9. They do vertical leaps of about 3 feet from a running forward or standstill now that are making it very hard to guard these players and they can do standstill jumps of at 3 feet or more. Also you see that teams no longer use even one big player, in fact they are wanting all to be that 6 foot to 6 foot 6 inch guy who is still built like a basketball player or has built the muscles like a but can jump the way a volleyball player can on standstill. Also getting players that can do defense or are willing to try and guard other players is a thing that could be brought back as well if the NBA refs were not concerned on the safety as much by calling fouls during games when a foul is not going to happen. Also the ally oop needs to comeback as a useable thing for the missed 3 pointers.

  10. Not surprised a bunch of random sports commentators say the 3-Pointer is breaking the game when literally no fan or players say that ever.

  11. This feels like the first half of a video :/

  12. I think they should add a 4 point line, because it just isn’t challenging enough to actually be worth that many points. So adding a 4 point line would get action away from the 3 point and get them to get better at that line. In my opinion they would never be able to get it that consistent as it would be very far away. Only the top people in leagues would be able to get them in games, and even then, it would be very risky and very inconsistent.

  13. Live them how they are, i like 3 point attemps

  14. The 3pt line should be pushed back until no average player can shoot over 33% from behind the line.

  15. Imagine perfecting your skills in any game to the level of god but they change the rules just because you're too good.

  16. I thought its jxmyhighroller video🤣

  17. Not to brag. I searched for a video like this after watching a basketball game after 20 years and noticed that there was a ton of three-point shots.

  18. The game of Basketball has evolved. Even Centers are shooting 3-pointers nowadays

  19. How about you guys start playing some actual defence like a zone defence?

  20. give the players shotguns so they can defend against 3-pointers a little easier.

  21. Teams can still shoot 3's and make the game interesting, but they do infact still play inside. Tall centre players can go to work inside whilst the shorter players can have a chance in the game, shooting from outside scoring big points for their teams…

  22. Yall talking about the Houston rockets. The reason why 3 points is so popular is because of Steph Curry and GS

  23. Three point shooting makes basketball more watchable. It spreads the floor out and makes the action a lot more dynamic.

  24. The Spurs were the game changers, let's not forget

  25. Let the players be more in control of how they play. I'm sure they don't want to shoot a bunch of 3s and go home; it's boring for them too. A lot of them got into the game from warching the tight play of their heros. Coaches need to let the players do their own thing and keep the game fun. Motivate, not micro manage.

  26. 3 pointers add beauty to the game. Without it, the game will just evolve into a more brute forcing baskets.

  27. 0:50 so he forgot about Pete Maravich. Yes by 79 he wasn’t the score he once was in his prime he could shoot the three easily

  28. The one who made this video is certified GSW haters no doubt

  29. In the last line of the video, Vox stated a thesis that pretty much invalidated the entire case they were building.

  30. Next video : How the ball is breaking basketball

  31. How about getting rid of the 3 point line in the playoffs, that would be interesting.

  32. I mean back in the day it was more like whoever had the taller player had the biggest advantage, so it's really just people whining. The game will evolve to counter teams that only focus on three point shots.

  33. Really shows how much went into this video when they didn’t mention how the 3 point craze went into effect after the warriors proved this was a winning method, the reason why the 3 pointer is so focused on now is because of curry.

  34. It‘s 3 instead of 2 points. If you can do it. Go for it.

  35. You can't base stats off of gate revenues. Most of your money comes from viewership online and on television, and that's down. Make the game more exciting or you'll sink the ship.

  36. For more sports content from Vox, check out our HBO show Level Playing Field, which explores the surprising ways sports have shaped policy in America. Watch the full season here:

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