NBA

Why Is the NBA Changing the 3-Point Contest?

While the Pro Bowl is generally a dud, most All-Star events are generally fun. Everyone loves home runs, trick shots, and slam dunks; these spectacles give you a chance to indulge. The NBA’s All-Star Weekend, however, will see some changes to both the game and the 3-Point Contest.

While the fundamental format of the 3-Point Contest will remain the same, the NBA is making one addition. The league believes that it will keep the shoot-out in line with modern basketball.

Changes to the All-Star game will honor Kobe Bryant

On January 26, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant tragically died in a helicopter crash. Tributes poured in from all around the sports world; the NBA will also honor the guard at All-Star Weekend.

When the players take the court for the NBA All-Star Game, they won’t be wearing their ordinary numbers; Giannis Antetokounmpo’s squad will wear Bryant’s 24, while LeBron James’ team will don Gianna Bryant’s 2. Beyond the jerseys, though, there will be a change to the game itself.

Rather than a standard, four-quarter game, this year’s All-Star Game will be divided into four segments. The first three quarters will essentially be discrete games, with each frame starting at 0-0. The fourth segment, however, will be a bit different. The leading team’s scores will be added up; that total, plus Bryant’s 24, will be the “final target score.” The two teams will then race to reach that amount.

The 3-Point Contest will also be changing

Those changes won’t be the only difference at All-Star Weekend, though. On Tuesday, news broke that the 3-Point contest would also be changing.

Traditionally, each player has had one minute to attempt 25 shots, with the basketballs being evenly divided among five racks around the perimeter. Each made basket was worth one point, with “money balls” counting as two points. This year, however, there will be two additional shots.

Come All-Star Weekend, though, 3-point shooters will be attempting two additional shots. In addition to the normal racks around the perimeter, competitors in the 3-Point Contest will take two shots from the “MTN DEW Zone,” sitting six feet beyond the arc. Those will be worth three points each, due to the extra challenge.

On a logistical level, those additional shots increase the contest’s maximum point total to 40; players will also get an extra 10 seconds, making each attempt 70 seconds long.

Why is the NBA changing the 3-Point Contest?

While the All-Star Game’s changes will pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, the 3-Point Contest’s shift is grounded in something different: modernity.

For better or worse, most modern basketball shots fall into two categories: dunks or 3-pointers. Players have also begun shooting from deeper on the court; if you’re capable of knocking down a shot from distance, it forces the opposing defense to extend even further out towards the perimeter.

That reality inspired the change to the 3-Point Contest. Since knocking down an uncontested jumper isn’t that much of a challenge anymore, the NBA decided to up the ante. A 30-foot shot is still fairly standard in today’s game, with nearly 300 converted this season alone, but the change should add an extra wrinkle to the event.