Bloomberg News is reporting today that the NBA is considering banning three pointers until the final five minutes of a game and will experiment with the idea this season in the NBDL. This is the response to the atrocious Olympic three-point shooting display? Ban three pointers?

Destroying Basketball

Let's see, what have some of our finest players been up to this summer? Oh yes, they were busy losing the gold in Athens partly because they couldn't hit the three-point shots very well. What should we, as the directors of the world's premier professional basketball league, do? Hey, I know! How about we eliminate the three-point shot altogether? That way, we'll have a solid excuse for not being able to hit the broad side of an Athenian barn. We'll say three pointers are hokum and we'll pressure the international community to change their rules too! In fact, maybe we could make the rules such that they benefit the type of player we like to see -- athletic leapers and slashers -- instead of the type of player that wins ball games.

Hey, great idea, guys! But wait. The three-pointer is good at the end of games. Maybe we could make it for just the first three quarters there will be no three-pointers? No? Okay, how about the last five minutes?

Deal. Sweet. Book the 2008 gold down now. It is ours.

Bloomberg News is reporting today that the NBA is considering banning three pointers until the final five minutes of a game. They will experiment with the idea this season in the NBDL.

This would be the worst rule change ever. They think it will result in more fast breaks and higher percentage shots, and that therefore those things in turn will lead to more eyeballs and interest.

They are way wrong.

One of the most exciting things about basketball is that there are no designated positions. It is a sport where versatility is highly valued. You have players playing typical positions but there is no rule that a center can't dribble the ball or that a point guard can't post up down low or that a power forward can't launch threes. There are no "goalies" who can use their hands or "pitchers" who focus on doing just one thing well or even "defensive" or "offensive" players who can't go outside of certain zones on the court.

Everybody is equal on the floor. Versatility is key. Watching your favorite player do the same thing over and over is fine but watching him beat his defender with a variety of unexpected moves is finer still. Even better is when a two-on-two situation results in an easy basket simply because the two play together so well. A pick-and-roll is far more effective when the picking player can also pop out for an open jump shot instead of only rolling to the basket. It increases the options and makes everything more interesting.

Remove the three-point shot? Are they crazy? Even the inventor of basketball James Naismith suggested giving more points to shots taken far enough away from the basket to discourage clogging in the middle.

This would be a travesty if such a rule took place. Not that any rule changes are bad. There are plenty of things that need to be changed. Perhaps part of the problem they are seeking to solve is too many shots taken from the corners where many fans can't see the players as well. The solution to that is to make the court wider and make the three-point arc a consistent length all the way around. It would also minimize the constant stepping out of bounds that players do in the corners.

Widen the court but don't short-change the fans by removing the three-point shot. If nothing else, such a change would necessitate having essentially two teams, one to play the first 43 minutes, and one to shoot and defend three pointers in the last five minutes. What's the point in that? Why not just play soccer for 43 minutes and then basketball for the final five minutes? Makes as much sense, if not more.

This proposed rule change, in case you can't tell, makes me really angry. I love this sport. This proposal is like a punch in the stomach from a close friend: it leaves you doubled-over, clutching your stomach, coughing up blood, and looking for vengeance.

Don't ban the three-point line, powers-that-be. Widen the court instead.