How the NBA Has Changed Over the Past Decade

Other than the usual NBA team expansions and player turnover, new standards and rules are introduced from time to time. And much like how the three-point shot addition of the 1980s resulted in evolved team strategies, such periodic tweaks often lead to how each basketball game is played.

1) Centres no longer dominate the court

Big men dominated NBA seasons until 2010-2011 where there were only 13 giants on the court, from East and West. The majority of the players such as Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Love would spend most of their time on the perimeter if they were to play at all. While at it, they were the traditional centres. 

Indeed, the NBA is no longer the “big” man’s league it was 10 or so years ago. Nonetheless, the average height is at 6’7” and 220 lbs. And while there are still giants on the court these days, you can see more movements and actions including blocking shots and dunking from them than their counterparts a decade ago. 

2) Perimeter players are more crucial to a game

No position is more important than others. But the contributions of each are appreciated all the more today than in the 2000s or beyond. This is especially true today wherein each game is becoming more stringent than the last one. 

Nowadays, the rage revolves around being a guard or forward or assume the role whenever the need arises. Speaking of the perimeter, the handlers, jumpers, and shooters connive to dominate the court. This means centres can become shooters too, particularly those big men with the skills of a forward or guard.

Guards and forwards, of course, are expected to have decent defensive and offensive skills as well.

3) Three-point plays are taking over

The three-point shooting has come a long way since it was introduced. Today, a team recruit based on how a player makes plays and shoots balls. So stats such as field goal percentage and long-distance shooting accuracy and matter.

All 30 NBA teams have tremendously increased in their three-point attempts. In the 2017-2018 season, an average team has 28.98 attempts per game compared with that of in the 2007-2008 season with 18.04 attempts.

4) More possessions lead to bigger performances

The high volume of three-point attempts and makes result in two things: faster and more ball possessions and more triple-doubles league-wide.

Teams speed up their games deliberately to take advantage of three-point plays. Games are not only quicker; they have possessions 10x more on average. Furthermore, since a shot happens earlier in the shot clock compared with a close-to-the-basket shot, NBA teams and players alike had a higher chance of amping up their stats. 

More and more players–from Lebron James to Ben Simmons–accumulate more points, assists, rebounds, blocks and stills. As if the triple-doubles are not enough, they also break records – their own and that of the others. Milestones are reached on a nightly game basis. 

While it would be unfair for the NBA players to be compared by generations because of these changes, there is no denying how these tweaks have influenced all the teams’ game strategy. It all boils down to turning the tables and playing on what changed. Quite literally.

Have comments? Send us a message!