Over the past few seasons, NBA fans have had to calibrate themselves to higher offensive outputs. With records being broken left and right, we were watching a different version of basketball played in more open space than ever before.
This season, play styles haven’t changed dramatically. So, why are offensive numbers down so significantly?
Before the November 2nd slate of games, league-wide three point percentages were as low as 34.2%, which is pacing to be the lowest since the 1988-89 season.
We’re also witnessing a dip in free throw attempts due to the changes in officiating, but it’s likely that we’ll see some regression to the mean in that area as the refs adjust.
Clippers star Paul George had some thoughts about how the new Wilson ball may be affecting things:
The last time the league changed the basketball was an absolute nightmare. David Stern pushed for a new pleather ball in 2006, and many speculated that this was solely done to increase consumer sales. Players hated it, and the league swiftly reverted back to the classic Spaulding ball.
Just hours after Paul George’s comments went viral, news broke that the league is aware of this issue and will be working through it.
As jarring, and concerning, as these trends may be, slight tweaks to officiating and the Wilson ball should bring everything back to normal – or at least the normal we’ve come to understand in the 2020’s.