San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors

A four-point line in the NBA? Larger court? League not talking about it, just fans.

23 Comments

We’ve all seen guys like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Jamal Crawford launch three pointers from several feet beyond the arc and knock them down with enough regularity that defenses have to respect the shot.

What if those guys shooting from out there were rewarded with a four-point basket?

Henry Abbott (ESPN.com’s just promoted NBA editor best known as TrueHoop’s founder) and the guys at that site’s Hoop Ideas project have thrown the four-point idea out there — another line at the 28 foot mark from which beyond four points are awarded for a made shot.

They brought it up to Rod Thorn, the NBA’s President of Basketball Operations, and his answer was a bit of a surprise, as noted by the Tom Haberstroh at ESPN ($$).

Turns out, Thorn didn’t think the advent of a 4-pointer would be outlandish at all. Rather than reflexively squash the radical idea like you might expect from a 72-year-old NBA lifer who has worn just about every hat in the league, Thorn seemed genuinely intrigued at the notion and revealed that the 4-pointer has “come up” in league discussions.

“Oh man,” Thorn told Abbott, “Some of the players we have can shoot the ball 30 feet as easily as they can shoot 23, 24 feet.”

Another idea floated in that session was increasing the size of the court — that will be much, much harder to pull off because you are then cutting into the most expensive seats in he house and the owners will likely never sign off on that.

Those ideas are great talking points but we are nowhere near either of these ideas becoming a reality. The NBA emphasized that in a statement released by league spokesman Tim Frank.

“No one at the NBA,nor the competition committee, has had any serious conversations about increasing the size of the floor or adding a 4-point line. Rod Thorn and Kiki VanDeWeghe were entertaining a line of questioning about out of the box ideas and ESPN.com chose to make a story that doesn’t exist.”

Is the four-point line really a good idea? Haberstroh (whose opinion I very much respect) lays out the case for it — first and foremost it is exciting, but also it would space out the floor giving more room for players to attack off the dribble and for post up players, and some guys would be good at it. He also notes coaches would hate it. It throws a new variable in their schemes, and coaches are not fans of variables they can’t control.

My thought? This is exactly why the D-League exists.

The NBA has run other rules experiments at the level to see how they impact the game, this can be another one. We have no idea how it would play out, what the unintended consequences would be, so test it out in the D-League lab.

If it works there, then all you have to do is convince the owners that more change is good. Which is to say we are a long, long way away from reality here. But trying things is rarely a bad idea.

Watch it again: Epic dunk contest duel between Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon

Leave a comment

TORONTO — I am always hesitant to say a player/team/situation is one of the best of ever because the history of the NBA is filled with greats. We tend to overstate how good something current can be.  That said…

That was one of the best dunk contests ever.

Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a show for the ages. Gordon had the best dunks of the night (in my opinion), but LaVine is consistently amazing, every dunk he does is flat out ridiculous.

Officially, LaVine won. In reality, we all won. Enjoy watching it one more time.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

4 Comments

TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

9 Comments

TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

2 Comments

TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.