Sam Farmer usually writes about football for the Los Angeles Times, but on All-Star Sunday he had a marvelous look at the three-point shot in the NBA, with the graphic to tell the story:
The three-pointer, first used by the NBA on a trial basis in the 1979-80 season, has morphed from a lightly used gadget to a cornerstone of the game. In that first season, teams averaged fewer than one three-point basket per game. Thursday night, for example, the Clippers made 16 three-pointers in a romp over the Lakers.
It's worked so well that many of us, including long time Laker coach Bill Betka, think the time has come for a four-point shot:
Bertka has pitched his own idea. He thinks there should be a four-point shot just inside the halfcourt stripe, a heave that would give a team trailing by two baskets a flicker of hope at the end.
"You could put the line at 40 feet," Bertka said. "Can you imagine some of the scenarios with a four-point shot? Just look at the way the three-point shot has created a lot of excitement, opened the floor up, stretched the floor. That's the way I like to play the game."
These guys -- such as Dirk Nowitzki -- can make that shot.