The evolution of the three-pointer in Basketball

Why has it become so popular in today's game?

BY Rob Fanning 13:48 Wednesday 8 March 2017, 13:48 8 Mar 2017

Picture by: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Press Association Images

In recent times the three point field goal or (the three pointer) has become increasingly popular within the sport.

When it was introduced in 1979 some people thought it was a publicity stunt and that it would never actually become such a popular part of the sport.

There had been a reaction between The National Basketball Association (NBA) and The American Basketball Association (ABA). The ABA were the first league to introduce the three point shot and it was a decision that seemed to please fans and players. On the other hand the NBA did not agree with this new way of scoring points. In 1977 the two leagues joined together and questions were raised regarding the three pointer, as it had been very popular in the ABA. When it was finally introduced in 1979 it had mixed reactions and a number of coaches were very against the idea.

A lot of good coaches felt that if their team could work the ball around for long periods of time and have enough offensive patterns, they could get a shot closer to the basket. As we know, the likelihood of making a score increases the closer you are to the basket.

George Mikan, the commissioner of the ABA at the time, said that the three pointer "would give the smaller player a chance to score and open up the defense to make the game more enjoyable for the fans.”

Speaking on Off The Ball on Tuesday night, author and former sports writer Jack McCallum spoke about another major reason as to why the three-pointer has become such a big part of today’s game. He said that "the facilities at the top level have improved drastically. Years ago a lot of teams didn’t have a designated place to practice and so they never had the time (like they do now) to stay back after training and do some extra work on the three pointer."

For example, Steph Curry, who is widely regarded as the best basketball player over the last number of years, is reported to take over 600 shots after practice each day. The 28-year-old is currently inside the top 10 three pointers of all time meaning he is hugely on course to break the all time record before the end of his career.

In the first year the three point shot was introduced, the average team took 2.8 three pointers per game and amazingly the average last season was 24 per game. Last weekend, the Cleveland Cavaliers shot 25 three pointers in a single game which is a regular season record.

There is a very fine line when players are attempting three pointers (which is 28 ft from the basket), but as the sport has developed and players are practicing more now than they ever have, the whole concept of three pointers makes the game a lot more exciting as it gives a real risk and reward factor to players who are attempting it during matches.

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week