We’re living in the new era of NBA basketball, which is much different from the one 10-15 years ago regarding how it’s played offensively. Analytics had a lot of impact on many teams’ playing style, and the majority of head-coaches heavily rely on it. According to Gilbert Arenas and former player and coach Earl Watson, teams play bad basketball because the shot selection is worse than ever before.
According to Arenas, a three-point shooting made the most significant impact on the way teams play basketball today and the fact they neglected other aspects of the game. The case Arenas makes is that only a handful of teams can emulate the same type of success as the Warriors did who had three great shooters in Curry, Thompson, and Durant. They imposed a trend on the NBA than other teams adopted, and it’s generally bad for the fans because most teams can’t play that way.
That is bad if you are going down this trend and what ends up happening is because there are so few Ray Allen’s, but they are all taking Ray Allen shoots. You have bad basketball.Gilbert Arenas, via Fubo Sports
Teams today are taking twice as many three-pointers than they did when Arenas was playing 15 years ago, while their scoring output didn’t increase accordingly. That is the same primary thing Arenas wants to point out when saying the quality of basketball has decreased because everyone is trying to do the same thing.
When you look, they score 214, and it’s 2020; that is horrible. You are shooting 20-30 more three-pointers, but you are scoring only four more points on average than in the early 2000s. I don’t know what your analytics say, but that is horrible. That is a horrible stat-line.Gilbert Arenas, via Fubo Sports
Interestingly enough, the numbers are different than the ones Arenas mentioned in the interview, but he didn’t miss by a lot. In the 2019/20 season, an average NBA team had 34 three-point attempts at the basket, shooting 36 percent from the field. Of course, some teams shot better, some worse, but that is the league average. Teams score 111.8 points per game, which is much higher than in the early 2000s when teams, on average, scored around 95 points per game. However, they did it with only 14 three-point attempts per game, 20 less than what teams are shooting today.
It would be interesting to see how long this trend will continue and whether we’ll see some changes in the near future on how the game will be played. Its evident players are more athletic than ever, and when it comes to shooting, more and more of them expanded their range, which moved the game away from the basket. You can see teams jack up threes several possessions in a row during the regular season, which became unwatchable, and there is a sense the creativity and natural flow within the game is lost.