The NBA is Back and It’s Changing… Better or Worse?

The NBA is always evolving and here is an in-depth analysis on the latest rule changes and some that might come soon.

The NBA has fully embraced the idea of change heading into the 2019-20 season in many different forms. A number of rosters have gone through league rattling transformations this offseason. Adam Silver has decided to experiment this season with the addition of coaches’ ability to challenge a call or non-call. The commisioner also hasn’t ruled out the idea of possibly moving back the 3-point line in the future.

With all of this innovation coming at once, let’s take a look at what these changes could mean going forward.

Coaches Challenge

Raptors Coach, Nick Nurse was the first coach in NBA history to lose a challenge, also because he was the first coach to try out his new tool. The challenge was made on opening night when Raptors guard, Norman Powell fought his way to the basket but was called for an offensive foul after elbowing Pelicans guard, Josh Hart in the face.

This seemed like a fairly routine call to all but Coach Nurse who decided to use his only challenge early in the game. This strategy didn’t pay off this time but could ultimately prove to be a wise option if the particular play challenged gets overturned. The decision of when to use the only challenge given will be an interesting dynamic throughout this season.

This is an experiment this season, but the first challenge in league history was not overturned and the review did not take long thankfully. However, the replay did completely disturb the flow of the game and this venture could become quite distasteful as the season moves forward.

The 3-Point Shot is Now a Layup for Half of NBA Players

The 3-Point line was painted on an NBA court in 1979 and officials had no idea that this would revolutionize the game. That year, just 12 players attempted more than 100 3-point shots and only three players shot better than 40%. The 3-point line was an afterthought in coaches gameplans and many thought this new way of scoring would eventually fizzle out.

Last year, 22 players shot above 40% from outside the arc, and this thin painted line has become the model of how many GMs have built their rosters. Take a look at the Houston Rockets shot chart from 2015 where “Morreyball” has taken full effect and catapulted the Rockets into another tier for the past few seasons. Thanks to BabyS1othWithA1 on Reddit who posted this picture.

With more teams adapting to this type of playstyle and 129 players shooting better than 30% from downtown last year, it becomes an interesting conversation to move the 3-point line back by just a couple of feet. After all, the game has gone through a number of evolutions before and fans always seem to continue watching.

The number of elite shooters that can confidently pull the trigger from beyond 27 feet grows every year. Once sought after big men who could play “back to the basket” have now transformed into skilled shooters and ball handlers outside the paint that continue to revolutionize the game.

As the commissioner continues to ponder this idea, NBA teams will continue to become analytics nerds and fall into a “Moreyballgameplan as well, only reassuring this 3-point trend.

Credit to Basketball-Reference.com for the stats quoted in this article.

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