Throws can be devastating.
Because we learn how to fall properly--on mats--it is easy to forget how powerful a well executed throw can be.
On a hard surface such as concrete, it could mean broken bones, concussions or even fatal/damaging injuries.
This last result is why we have to be aware of the threat level, for both legal and moral reasons. Remember, we study defense tactics that are not to be used lightly. This is easy to forget. Ultimately, we must remember that possessing discipline, and not using one's skills unnecessarily is always the best outcome for everybody involved.
But back to throws.
It is my thinking that in any close quarter system, throws can prove to be more valuable than one might think. Along with the impact of the throw itself, the thrower (tori) also achieves a huge advantage in position following the technique.
Many of the arguments against throws that I have heard are based from fans of sport-fighting, such as the UFC, where throws aren't so common (albeit effective when used). Often, the judo guys don't get the throwing opportunities without a gi (shirt) to grab onto, and that is a big disadvantage for them. However, what no one points out is that on the street we don't normally go around without a shirt on (true, streakers can be hard to get hold of and subdue). Nor are we abnormally sweaty and slippery (again, this applies to most of us).
And another thing that is overlooked is the fact that many judo throws are cleaned up or banned in competition, and many traditional jiu-jitsu throws occur following a joint lock and/or bone break.
These differences are, in my opinion, game changers.