Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz

A few weeks ago, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested that the NBA moves the 3-point line back a few feet to allow better spacing and make the game more interesting. The comment was considered by most people to be a ploy to limit the efficiency of Golden State Warriors star and league MVP Stephen Curry, who online betting predictions have winning the MVP award for a second consecutive year.


While most people believe Cuban’s statement had something to do with Curry, Cuban made a lot of valid points. According to Cuban, the current 3-point line is too close to the rim and since most players hit their 3-point shots way beyond the line, moving the line back won’t affect their ability to hit 3-point jumpers at the same rate they currently are.


Cuban was right about players taking shots beyond the 3-point line. According to statistics, a majority of NBA players attempt 3-pointers a foot behind the line, but only about 41 percent of those attempts were from 23-24 foot.


If the NBA decided to listen to Cuban and move the 3-point line back one foot, the league’s average 3-point percentage would go down because increasing the distance by one foot will lead to a reduction in 3-point attempts.


However, Mark Cuban doesn’t believe moving the 3-point line back will lead to a decline in attempts. Instead, Cuban believes that pushing the 3-pointy line back will reward skilled players and open the spacing on the floor more.


History has shown that moving the 3-point line back leads to a reduction in attempts and the last time the league moved the line back there was a significant decrease in the number of attempted 3-point field goals.


The last time the line was moved, the number of 3-point attempts dropped from 21 percent to 16 percent the following season, which was the first year the league started using the current dimensions.


After the decline, the percentage of attempts increased significantly every year since. This year, 28 percent of field goal attempts in the NBA have come from 3-point range.


While Cuban believes making the 3-point line farther than it is will lead to more players taking mid-range jump shots, statistics do not back up the claim.


Mid-range jumpers have been on the decline for years because they aren’t that much easier to make than 3-point shots. According to statistics, 25 percent of field goal attempts this season have been mid-range jumpers, which is significantly down from the 2000-2001 season in which 38 percent of all field goal attempts were mid-range jumpers.


Since the distance of the 3-point line is the same today as it was in the 2000-2001 season, and the number of mid-range jumpers attempted continue declining, it seems the problem has more to do with players not practicing mid-range jumpers like previous generations did. Instead, the players are relying on their athleticism and would rather dunk than attempt a mid-range shot.


If the NBA decided to listen to Cuban and move the 3-point line back, it will lead to more missed field goals, which will dilute the product they are trying to sell because fans don’t want to sit around and watch athletes miss jump shots all day.