Remember the ABA? You know, the league with the much-ridiculed red, white and blue ball, and a bunch of little guys running around shooting 3s? The latter weapon was introduced to help the little guy in a game dominated by big men. It also mostly was used to allow a team hopelessly behind a chance at getting back into a game.
Today, the dependence on the 3-pointer has weakened teamwork. It has resulted in less ball and player movement. It has especially devalued the mid-range game, not to mention the offensive games of big men. Not one post-up center ranks among the top 12 in scoring this season. DeMarcus Cousins aside, only Karl-Anthony Towns is among the top 28.
The average number of shots taken from “downtown” per game has risen to 26.9 from 24.1 last season. The result has been an overwhelming decrease in mid-range shots — from 38 percent in 2001 to under 25 percent this season. Also, it has almost eliminated three-on-two fast breaks – heretofore, and for three-quarters of a century, one of the game’s more exciting features.