The 3 point shot has revolutionized basketball and turned the NBA upside down. The smartphone has revolutionized health care and turned the doctor-patient relationship upside down.
Let’s examine those two statements.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Martin Johnson describes the dramatic changes that the creation of the 3 point shot has created. The prior era in was dominated by a dominating big man- Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlin, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. As Johnson writes, “This made intuitive sense: The better a team is at protecting its basket, the better its defense should be.”
Suddenly, the rules changed and the 3 point shot was created.
With new rules, new values.
With new rules, new math, new economics for the NBA.
What had been valuable- the dominant big center to defend the basket- is no longer as valuable.
What had not been as valuable- a small, quick, long distance shooting guard, and those best suited to defend against them- now are a valued resource.
The evidence of this ‘transformative innovation’ is everywhere; from Stephen Curry, a small nimble, excellent shooting guard, winning the NBA MVP award to the NBA finals between the Cavaliers and the Warriors- where the defense is as fierce at the 3 point line as it is right under the basket.
So the new rule establishing the 3 point line has turned the game inside out, shifting the focus from the ‘big man’ to a new type of player – as John Hollinger, the Memphis Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations, states in the Journal, “It has completely changed the way players are valued on the market. Now we put a premium on length and basketball IQ.”