New 3-point line is far from cosmetic change

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“I’ve definitely noticed the added space,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Most teams are still going to guard that line like crazy, so that pulls the whole perimeter defense out another step. To me, unclogging the floor a little is a major benefit.”

Perhaps the ultimate benefit of the new arc could be the return of basketball’s largely lost midrange game. In the past decade, guards who took few shots inside the arc and outside the paint became the norm.

The 18-foot jump shot was routinely labeled “the worst shot in basketball” by analysts and coaches alike. Midrange masters like Juan Dixon, who built a career at Maryland on the pull-up 14-footer, began disappearing. To some degree, basketball was becoming a game of layups, dunks and 3s.

Perhaps the new 3-point line, and potentially deeper incarnations, will welcome back these dynamic players.

“There’s usually a nice hole now between the 3-point arc and the paint,” said Georgetown freshman Jason Clark, a throwback, pull-up proponent. “People are going to fly at 3-point shooters and deny the post, but some of the best shots in the game are available in between.”

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