76ers, Hawks Among Teams Practicing with 4-Point Line in Latest NBA Trend

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks dribbles against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at TD Garden on December 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It's not uncommon for Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry to pull up from the logo, but he's not the only one around the league trying to stretch the court.

According to ESPN.com's Malika Andrews, the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks are among the teams that have practiced with some variation of a "four-point line."

"We are all thieves," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said, per Andrews. "It is a copycat league. I look at it as a compliment that other people value that."

Atlanta has painted a four-point line five feet behind the three-point line on its practice court. Conveniently, that approach fits the style of 2018 fifth overall pick Trae Young, who stands 6'2" and 180 pounds.

"I would always try to extend my range farther and farther because I wasn't getting much taller," Young told Andrews. "The farther I shoot, people weren't expecting that."

Through his first 29 games, Young is shooting just 37.8 percent from the field and 24.1 percent from beyond the arc in his rookie season. But Atlanta's four-point line isn't only for shooting. For Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, today's NBA is all about spreading out the defense.

"Spacing changes the whole game," Lloyd said, per Andrews.

The four-point line has helped create space that might not have otherwise been available. Meanwhile, Young is averaging 7.2 assists this season.

Not every four-point line is the same, though. In Milwaukee, Mike Budenholzer has made five boxes out of tape around the arc to help the Bucks with their five-out offense. Having all five players on the perimeter opens up the paint.

As Andrews notes, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken advantage of these open lanes, leading the league with 55 unassisted dunks. The next-closest player, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, has 23.

These days, the four-point line is not just something you see from the Harlem Globetrotters.

It's becoming a phenomenon around the Association—in various forms.

Teams around the league are pulling up from deep with historically great frequency, and even big men are expected to be able to step out to the perimeter. As a result, spacing is more important than ever before.

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