It’s incredible, isn’t it? Prior to this season, the all-time NBA record for most players averaging over 20 points was 31. There are currently 42 players who hold this statistic to their name.
Just 10 years ago in the 2012-13 season, only 9 players averaged over 20 points, an all-time low. Back then, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade were the only players good enough to make it to this select group of athletes. Currently, even the likes of Franz Wagner are averaging 20.2 points for the Orlando Magic this year.
Senior basketball journalist Kevin O’Connor has tweeted the entire record list of the last ten years.
There are currently 55 players averaging over 20 points per game. The all-time NBA record is 31.
Number of goalies eligible to record 20+ PPG in recent seasons:
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 11, 2023
What could be the reason for such a change in effect on the NBA scoring variable? Below, we examine the possible reasons for this drastic change in player and team offensive statistics.
1. New rules
This contest is the first since the NBA enacted a rule in favor of offensive plays in its ‘act of foul’ rule in July. The Basketball Association defines a transition foul as “an intentional foul committed by a defender to deny the offensive team a fast break opportunity.” The NBA excuses itself by saying that by enforcing this rule, it is destroying the chances of seeing the athletic finals.
Here is an example of ‘atrocity’:
So, yes, the truth is we’ve seen a lot of points, punts, and sports entertainment since the new rule went into effect. But, is the referee making it too easy for offensive plays to thrive? Nowadays, it seems impossible to defend without committing a crime. Should additional benefits be given to defense and defense strategy?
Even some players in our league have noticed the huge benefit these rules can help offensive plays. Not long ago, we wrote an article about how Dallas star Luka Doncic prefers to watch the EuroLeague over the NBA because he believes the rules in Europe require more team effort to win games than in the United States. “In Europe it’s more team basketball, it’s more of a basketball style,” he said in an interview. “I’d say it’s easier to score in the NBA because of the rules.”
2. Welcome to the 3-point era
As leagues become more professional and the industry becomes more profitable, basketball has been a sport that has constantly innovated over the years. The strategy has also been revolutionized as many teams develop players with incredible shooting skills and gradually shift to a 3-point offensive mentality and lack confidence in the creativity and depth of their offense through the center and backcourt.
Let’s take the 2015-16 season as an example. At that time, only 6 teams in the league made at least 1/3 of their shots from 3-point range. If we compare it to the 2021 championship, 28 teams were over 33.3 percent. Finishing 8th in the East, the only two teams that didn’t make the playoffs were the Washington Wizards (31.9%) and San Antonio Spurs (31.4%) that season.
The best way to describe this new era of the three-pointer is through players like Stephen Curry, who revolutionized the NBA, winning the league’s Most Valuable Player twice and leading the Warriors to four championships while much of the team’s strategy revolved around his ability as a shooter. Golden State’s dominance of professional basketball in the United States over the past decade is perhaps the greatest example we can find, and we can already see how its revolution has inspired every team to adapt to its philosophy.
3. More talent?
I believe it is fair to say that this high point spread in the current NBA season is due to improvements in quality, training and talent. why not? Today we find many versatile players and generally complete sportsmen. It has become common to see 7ft shooters dribble, pass, defend, etc. What better example than Nikola Jokic? The two-time MVP winner is as tall as Shaquille O’Neal and as smart as Steve Nash.
The industry around the league is growing at an unstoppable pace. Contract and salary numbers are shooting through the roof, and this is slowly affecting society. Not only is this a great motivation to play as a foreigner in the NBA, but many parents in the United States are also raising their children to be athletes as a solution to struggling in the modern world.
Basketball is definitely changing and hopefully for the best for the sport and its fans. Talented players, high-level shooting and strategy, and a more permissive rulebook to allow for more offensive plays are part of the root cause of this new era.