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Friday, April 13, 2021

without authority
Among the potpourri of pet peeves and proposed fixes in sports offered up by Tom Jones, one suggestion for the NBA stands out:

There is a 3-point shot in the NBA. And, of course, the traditional 2-pointer. So how about a 1-pointer (other than free throws)? We have the perfect shot to be worth one measly point: the dunk. We’re so sick of dunks dominating the highlights on SportsCenter that we’re proposing changing the shot to be worth one point. Then, maybe, we can see some ankle-breaking crossovers, some behind-the-back passes and someone knocking down 25-footers on the highlights instead of one dunk after another.

Within the point-scoring framework of the basketball court, this makes sense. If a long-distance lob earns you the maximum number of points (three), then the shortest distance to the hoop should get you the least number of points (one). So I like that logic behind it.

That implies that getting slamdunks is easy, which it isn’t. You do pay the price for getting in that low, in the form of more physical jostling. And you have to actually succeed in stuffing the ball through the basket, which isn’t automatic.

Still, the principle is sound. It’d be interesting to see how it would affect gameplay strategy. Naturally, it would reduce the overall number of dunks per game, in the interest of getting more points via outside shots. I could see plenty of coach-player friction resulting, with the old “showboating” debate rearing up. Such is the dramatic fuel on which the NBA thrives.

I wouldn’t start looking for a rule change from David Stern’s office, though. For one, it’d be a nightmare to police: How high does a player have to get for it to be an “official” slamdunk? Echoes of the NHL’s “distinct kicking motion” on goals comes to mind. And of course, the dunk remains a big crowd-pleaser, even a defining move for the sport; so the league would be foolish to diminish it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/13/2007 09:16:06 AM
Category: Basketball | Permalink |

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  1. I suspect this objection would melt away if SportsCenter were actually capable of recognizing highlights. At least in baseball they show you an occasional double play.

    Comment by CGHill — 04/13/2007 @ 11:24:37 PM

  2. Of course, in that case there might be the inverse effect: If ESPN gave the move less air time, then players might not go for it as much. (But there’s still the arena crowd to play to, as well as the actual gameplay.)

    Comment by CT — 04/15/2007 @ 11:22:09 AM

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