Right Field

Numerical Value of Point Guard Determined to Be 1.07, Not 1; Coaches, Players, Guy in the Seat Behind You Struggle to Adjust

Decades of basketball strategy were rendered useless today when researchers declared the numerical equivalent of a point guard to be 1.07, not 1. Standard basketball terminology has long used 1 to designate a point guard, 2 for a shooting guard, and so on up to 5 for a center. But as Shaquille Leibniz, Undistinguished Professor of Sports Mathematics at UCLA, explains: “Due to revised calculations of the speed of light, precise GPS measurement of the distance from Cleveland to Phoenix, and fluctuations in the Canadian currency exchange rate, we have determined the value of a point guard to be 1.0693, which for in-game purposes can be rounded off to 1.07. There’s still a chance that historic global-warming data, currently being collected, could alter the figure slightly up or down. But due to the momentous nature of this study, we felt it was important to get word out as quickly as possible.”

Coaches are struggling to comprehend the magnitude of the revelation. “We like to run a play where the 1 and 2 set a double screen for the 3, who circles to the elbow for a quick jump shot,” says Larry Drew, head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. “But will the play still work if the 3 is actually a 3.21? At this point, nobody knows.” Reports out of Los Angeles say Phil Jackson, head coach of the Lakers, has hired an assistant to point at a sign saying “approximately” whenever Jackson starts talking in numbers.

Other coaches, however, believe the new system may actually help avoid ambiguity. Tex Winter, formerly an assistant with the Chicago Bulls, recalls: “One night during Toni Kukoc’s first year in the league, we were trailing near the end of a game, and I told him, ‘Toni, we need you to knock down a three.’ Next thing you know, the other team’s small forward is on his butt and Toni gets called for a charge.” Kucoc’s mistake is understandable, since the small forward has always equaled 2.82 in metric units; this may explain why basketball was slower to catch on in Europe.

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