A Modest Proposal

One minor rule change that could make the NBA much more fun

In a recent discussion, I threw out a hypothetical rule change that I thought would be a boon for professional basketball: let home teams decide for themselves what distance to make the three-point line. Obviously this is much to radical for the Board of Governors to ever approve, but I think it’s a fairly simple way to breathe some new life into the game.

Now, you may be saying, “Ryan, the NBA is in the midst of a golden age. What are you even talking about?” True! But that doesn’t mean we can’t improve upon the product. We’ve all noticed that over the past decade, a level of uniformity has been creeping into how the game is played. Three-point shots now dominate, with efficiency taking a back seat to no man. And while a team like the Houston Rockets may be the logical end of such a play style, every team has on some level embraced the trend and altered both their roster makeup and their game plans accordingly.

And so, I see this as an easy way to allow teams to explore different ways of playing without punishing them for sticking to the most hyper-efficient playstyle out there. At the beginning of the season, teams decided where they want to place the three-point line, and it’s there for all 41 home games that season. It could be way out at half court. It could be where it is now. It could be the restricted area, or there could be no line at all!

Just think about how this would impact spacing and playstyle. You could move it out a few feet to eliminate the corner three, opening up the defense. Or bring it all the way in and stack your team with midrange shooters and post scorers. It would also make home court advantage something truly worth fighting for. The homogenization of the game would be reversed overnight.

Though it’s just a thought experiment, I think it’s an interesting one. A colleague of mine explored the implications of the rule a little deeper, so go read about it here: