Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lakers should "opt out" of trey
Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott should act on his disdain for three-point shots by eliminating them from his team’s home court. He can do so by announcing to the world that, in 2015-16, teams arriving in L.A. to play the Lakers will discover a court devoid of a three-point line.

Scott and the Lakers won’t have to resort to civil disobedience if NBA owners, acting through the league’s Board of Governors, approve my “Trey Opt-Out Clause": “Any team that prefers all outside shots to be worth two points, as was the case until the 1979-80 season, may play by that rule in all its home games, playoffs included.”

A team wouldn’t be able to pick and choose. Either it plays all home games on a court without an arc or all with an arc.

Imagine the fun of watching opposing robo-shooters search in vain for their security-blanket trey line and the ensuing hilarity as they’re forced to play by feel for the first time in their lives.

NBA teams played at a much faster pace in the pre-trey 1960s and 1970s than at any point in this increasingly trey-crazy century, where per-game per-team attempts have risen from 13.7 in 1999-2000 to 22.4 in 2014-15.

Some folks who associate the trey's introduction as ushering in a Golden Age might be overlooking another major event of October 1979: the arrival of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Throughout their first seven seasons — the last three of which coincided with the first three of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon — NBA fans were treated to some remarkable basketball. Just don't credit the trey. The typical team attempted 89 field goals, with just 2.5 of those coming from behind the arc. And that includes end-of-quarter heaves. Field goal attempts in the current century have ranged between 79.0 and 83.6.

Magic's first two titles with the Lakers, in 1980 and 1982, saw his team play 30 playoff games, during which the Lakers attempted a grand total of 30 treys. That's one per game. Those Laker teams would have played exactly the same if the Fabulous Forum court did not have an arc.

If Byron Scott wants to bring back that style of play, good for him. The results won't be the same, at least for a while. But the tempo can be, and that's good for fans and good for multi-skilled players, regardless of position. Forwards and centers won't have to pass up good mid-range shots because a one-dimensional shooting specialist is open for a lower percentage but higher yield three-pointer.