Is protection again?

Through 12 days of regular-season motion, it positive appears so.

With a wholesome shove within the again from the refs (extra on that in a minute), league-wide scoring and effectivity are each means down from the place they have been a yr in the past. The median staff is averaging 105.3 factors per 100 possessions, in comparison with 108.0 on the identical time final season. Relative to the identical level in 2020-21, field-goal taking pictures is down almost a full level; specifically, no person could make a 3. Eighteen of the league’s 30 groups are taking pictures 34 p.c or much less from distance, with the league as an entire at 34 p.c. For the primary time in eons, you’re higher off giving up a 3 (1.02 anticipated factors) than a 2 (1.03).

And then we’ve the free throws — or quite, the shortage of them. Despite the very best efforts of Dwight Howard and Hassan Whiteside, league-wide free-throw makes an attempt are down by almost 10 p.c, from 21.8 per 100 possessions final yr to twenty.0. Players are additionally making those they get barely much less typically.

The drop in free throws doesn’t clarify the scoring decline by itself, however it could be having second- and third-order results that make it simpler to see what occurs.

As everybody is aware of by now, the NBA has cracked down on a number of the extra blatant types of foul grifting, together with specialties such because the Off-Arm Entangler (an imprint of Lou Williams and James Harden), the Rear Fender-Bender (a go-to for



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