HoopIdea: Putting the 4-pointer into practice | Magic Basketball

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Feb 28

HoopIdea: Putting the 4-pointer into practice

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 12.04.55 PM

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The odd prospect of a 4-point shot in the NBA has many writers envisioning the scenario and wondering how teams would be affected.

The whole story is gaining more traction than it ought: it’s tough to watch this video and say the NBA president of basketball operations (Rod Thorn) isn’t smirking like a candy-covered kid during the whole thing.

But that won’t stop us from outlandish hypotheticals, will it? So how would the Magic fare if the rule changed tomorrow? Quite well, actually. I was genuinely surprised at the statistics I found for them at long, long range.

While I don’t know exactly where a 4-point line would be put in reality, I’ve been seeing a lot of people throw out 28 feet, almost five feet behind the 3-point line. A search for shots taken from 28-35 feet this season produces some interesting information in favor of Orlando.

Out of the whole NBA, Jameer Nelson is tied for fourth in field goals made. He has eight. The Magic are one of only two teams (Houston) with three players to make multiple shots: Nelson, Victor Oladipo (two) and Arron Afflalo (two). And they are shooting a solid 43.3 percent as a team (13-for-30). It’s obviously a tiny sample size, but 43.3 percent from that distance, even out of only 30 shots, is pretty impressive.

I can’t imagine many coaches drawing up plays for 4-point shots other than in late-game situations, but guess who would be the most prolific testers of the heave? Those young, experimenting teams looking to grow. Teams like Orlando. In such a scenario, they might even be the pioneers for a radical shift in the game.

You wouldn’t have Gregg Popovich letting the Spurs launch 4-point bombs whenever they wanted. Most teams would probably be very tentative incorporating it into their game plans.

But a team like the Magic, whose immediate goal is not necessarily to win every game, would be more willing to try it out. Essentially, they would test the worth of the shot for the rest of the league.

The only other question would be the exact range for the shot. Would there be a league-wide expansion of the court, as Thorn also alluded to, so another arc could fit neatly behind the 3-point one? Would shots be worth more in designated areas, like the Harlem Globetrotters have been trying out for a few years? Now that one would be fun: just imagine a team down four points at the end of the game going to the 4-point circle and facing a wall of five players in front of it!

Or would four points be awarded only for half-court shots? In that case, would the backcourt violation have to be reevaluated? And would big men become go-to players, since they’re stronger and can shoot that distance with less effort?

Who knows? You can (almost) never say never, but I would be absolutely shocked if we ever saw a shot like this cross into reality. There would be bricks flying all over the place, and the game would never be the same.

It could happen, but it won’t.

But it could.