Old-school Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan believes the three-point shot distorts basketball, giving too much weight to outside shooting.
Golden State's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder displayed why Ryan dislikes the three-point shot. OKC outplayed Golden State inside and likely would have beaten Golden State if the three-pointer didn't exist.
Steph Curry and Klay Thompson's three-point barrage, as was even more the case in the Warrirors' game six win, gave the Warriors the victory in Monday night's Western Conference finals.
In a column a few months ago, Ryan imagined a game between today's Warriors and the 1986 Celtics, whose offense was built upon the traditional incise game of jump shots and layups. Ryan had the Celtics winning with their better inside game.
The Warriors' victory proved the fallacy of Ryan's conclusion. As Golden State showed Mondsy night, great three-point shooting will beat a good inside game most of the time. Upsetting old-line NBA insiders like Ryan and Charles Barkley, the defending champion Warriors' success comes from their reliance on the three-point shot.
Golden State's great shooting was the primary factor in Monday night's win, which completed the Warriors' comeback from a 3-1 series deficit, but the Thunder also missed too many inside shots, especially at the end of the first half, when they had the chance to build a double digit lead.
Hirsute OKC center Steven Adams, the target for Draymond Green's errant kicks earlier in the series, missed many inside shots. Adams' inability to stop Curry's three pointers on defensive rotations led to Thunder Coach Billy Donovan benching Adams for much of the game's fourth quarter.
Trying to match the Warriors' "small" lineup might have been a mistake. The Thunder's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook showed the weakness of dependence on outside shooting, missing a woeful number of three-pointers.
As the Warriors, following upon their record 73-win regular season, show the power of the three-pointer, some basketball followers want a four-point line outside of the current three-point zone.
Curry and Thompson's prowess from further and further away from the basket show that the four-pointer would distort the game even further. Long-distant shooters like them would dominate the game too much.
One league might benefit from the four-point shot, the struggling WNBA. The addition of a four-point line would bring much needed media attention for the struggling women's league and generate offensive excitement.
The NBA should resist. Rather than the four=pointer, the league should move the three-point line farther out to give more weight to traditional offensive maneuvers.