Throughout NBA history, we’ve seen various changes in the way game is played and the trends that have been in place all the way from the 50’s up until now. NBA teams and players nowadays are more skilled and athletic than ever before, and the emphasis is predominantly on shooting, more precisely shooting three-pointers. There is a notion among NBA coaches and executives that the three-point shot is more valuable than a regular two-point shot, which is one of the reasons we’re seeing numerous NBA teams using this strategy to win games.
In a recent interview with Kevin Arnovitz from ESPN, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who is known as a big fan of advanced analytics and three-point shooting, discussed the problem that type of strategy creates for the NBA. Morrey argues the NBA is unbalanced, and the main reason for that is that the three-point shot has a higher reward than a standard two-point shot.
“With all sports or competitive endeavors, you want there to be a strategic dynamic where there are multiple paths to victory. You want measures and countermeasures that are pretty well-balanced, so that you can go down any one of those paths and get a victory if the path is chosen well and executed well. But the NBA right now appears to be somewhat unbalanced, in large part because the reward given for the 3 being worth 50% more than a 2 is out of balance.”Daryl Morey, via ESPN
Numerous NBA fans are talking about how the NBA product is becoming almost unwatchable, and the excessive three-point shooting is a big part of the problem. If you watch NBA games, there are multiple occasions where teams are jacking up threes one possession after the other, sometimes completely unnecessary. They are no longer looking to bring the ball in the post and make plays from inside the paint unless you have someone like Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic on your team.
Arnovitz made a good observation how teams have no intention to bring back those old-school centers that would bang in the post and create plays for themselves and others from inside the paint. That leads to a big problem of the game losing diversity from an offensive standpoint.
There’s little desire across the league to return to Patrick Ewing vs. Alonzo Mourning, but there’s also a sense that the game is losing diversity of identity, at least offensively. This school of thought maintains that a stylistic conformity has overtaken the game. One of the more appealing characteristics of basketball is the number of ways a player can score, but a 3-pointer every 30 to 45 seconds introduces a repetition that isn’t so appealing.Kevin Arnovitz, via ESPN
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the NBA and how the game is played offensively. Maybe the paradigm will change if we’ll have more players that will operate dominantly inside the paint, which will force the teams to change their perspective on how the offensive schemes need to be executed. Warriors changed the trend with their dominant shooting; there is a chance that NBA teams bring back a more versatile offensive approach if a team wins a championship relying on points inside the paint.