Could 3-pt proliferation lead to 4-pt shot?

Recently, we heard that the NBA has loosely considered adding a 4-point shot, a notion that reportedly has been presented for discussion at the league level.

"The NBA adopted the 3-point shot from the old ABA starting in the 1979-80 season. As for the prospect of a 4-point shot, [NBA president of basketball operations Rod] Thorn said that, too, is 'something that's come up' as an informal proposal," wrote ESPN's Marc Stein.

In other words, it's something that has been discussed conceptually but currently has no traction. Yet, the 3-point shot has become so commonplace that at some point down the road, the NBA may need to give deeper consideration to a more difficult 4-point option.

Consider that, according to Elias Sports, since the NBA adopted the 3-point field goal in 1979, there have been exactly 200 months during which at least 100 NBA games were played. Of those 200 months, the four months with the most 3-point attempts are the four months this season, and the top 10 months are the 10 months from this season and last season:

December 2013: 43.47

February 2014: 42.42

January 2014: 42.29

November 2013: 41.76

December 2012: 41.03

April 2013: 40.92

March 2013: 40.82

January 2013: 39.59

November 2012: 39.17

February 2013: 38.29

Time will tell whether the NBA will see a 4-point shot as an inevitable advancement for the game. They could also extend the 3-point line further, though that may require widening the court, which also has been discussed conceptually. At this time, about all we know regarding Adam Silver in his role as commissioner is that he is open to discussing new concepts.