The reason why teams have been inserting smaller lineups lately is because of how much the three-point shot impacts the game. The three-point line was first introduced in the NBA during the 1979-80 season. But today in this modern era of basketball, the three-pointer is used more than ever. Players have been developing their skill of three-point shooting because nowadays to be a good player you need to have range. I see numerous reports from social media or from teams themselves about players working on improving their range. Some players such as Kyle Korver, JJ Redick, and Mike Miller, are known as spot up shooters. Players who are well known three-point shooters that move and cut around screens without the ball to spot up for a three. Spot up shooters are becoming more popular especially in college ball. So smaller lineups, they are used for increased three-point threats. By stretching the floor with four able three-point shooters and a big man, this increases the chances for a team to get a good three-point look. I’m not sure if this is the original name but I know this style of offense as the “Suns” offense. Four shooters and a man in the middle nicknamed “the parking lot”. The “Suns” offense, obviously from the Phoenix Suns, was used by the team during the early to mid 2000s. It was effectively executed when the team signed their 2-time MVP and future hall of famer Mr. Steve Nash. During this era of Suns basketball, they were known as the “Run and Gun Suns”. They got this name because their squad played an uptempo game, spacing the floor with shooters, and got a shot up within the first seven seconds of the shot clock. The offense was run through one of the best point guards of all time in Nash with his supporting cast over the years, for example, Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, Shawn Marion, Jared Dudley, Jason Richardson, Channing Frye (all three-point shooters) and of course Amare Stoudemire in the middle. Several NBA teams adopted this style of offense. Most notably and recently, the Miami Heat and New York Knicks. The Heat in the second year of the big three era moved Lebron James to the power forward spot and Chris Bosh to the center. The Knicks had Carmelo Anthony play the power forward spot due to injuries to Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargaini. In the Heat’s case though, they played without a natural center (Knicks had Tyson Chandler). This brings up another point. The center is a dying position. With smaller lineups being so common, natural power forwards are playing center. The center position was even taken off the NBA All-Star ballot. It is just guards and forwards now, centers being under the forward position. These changes are all due to teams trying to compete better and more efficiently by using a smaller lineup with an uptempo scoring offense dominated by three-point shooting.

  

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