What’s Behind the NBA’s Decreased Offensive Performance?

Basketball is one of the most sought-after sports globally, and the NBA is one of the most-watched leagues among sports lovers. Currently, the NBA is kicking off with a captivating start, the league dominators are continuing to strive while some upcoming teams improve, and most prominently, defense rules the game.

Many experts have come up with an opinion about the offensive dip most teams are encountering. Let’s dive into the primary matter to separate the truth from the theoretical invention and how sports bettors can use this to their advantage.

Offensives are Down

Yes, offences are actually down, given the statistics-driven analytical nature of the league, this is a rarity.

If you have seen a full NBA basketball game this season, then you might have noticed a slight difference from the past years. Plays where offensive players hurl themselves towards a defender, which is sometimes considered a defensive foul that results in a free throw, are now being ignored by officials or even count as offensive fouls.

Basketball field

Let's refresh your memory if you're new to the game.

The offensive efficiency percentage hasn't been this low since 2016, the free throw percentage hasn't been this low since 1999, the three-point rating hasn't been this low since 1999, and the EFG (effective field goal) rating hasn't been this low since 2016.

This information is shown in the table below.

Season Offensive Rating EFG % 3PT % Free Throw Rating
2016 108.8 51.4% 35.8% 20.9%
2017 108.6 52.1% 36.2% 19.3%
2018 110.4 52.4% 35.5% 19.8%
2019 110.6 52.9% 35.8% 20.1%
2020 112.3 53.9% 36.7% 19.2%
2021 106.2 51.3% 34.0% 17.0%

With this info, it’s clear that things aren’t going great for the offences, and under bettors are earning a lot of money within a short period.

How to bet on this trend?

The main point here is not to hammer under or try to get ahead of the unavoidable turn towards the under/over leveling off. Most bookies told Boardroom that they don’t intend to change course too much. However, we’re beginning to see totals dipping consistently into the 210s from the usual near 225.

However, when choosing a betting site to bet with, ensure the site is reliable and trustworthy. One of the best UK-licensed sports betting sites is BetOnline. The betting site offers generous sports bonuses and promotions to players. Ensure that you supply the BetOnline promo code to be eligible for the bonus.

The essential factor is to watch out for situations where offenses have started to relapse, and the totals still show the early season trend. You can also get a baseline to compare the numbers - this can be of great benefit.

Currently, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal have a poor effective field percentage compared to Russell Westbrook. However, this might not hold for too long. The conclusion is that betting on the under has been and always will be profitable. Nevertheless, basketball bettors should keep an eye on the sports market to overreact in the other direction.

The Ball

Spalding has been the ball manufacturer for the league for more than 30 years. However, the NBA has parted ways with Spalding, and Chicago-based Wilson makes the new ball. Wilson is the league's new ball manufacturer, and this is their inaugural season.

The NBA president of global partnerships, Salvatore LaRocca, said that the collaboration with the Wilson company will take them back to their roots as they prepare for the future.

The Crowds

While players were in the Disney bubble shooting increased by a significant percentage. After all, most players felt that their depth perception in the bubble allowed them to make shots easier, without the fans and the arena. Arenas were deserted during last season, but most are now open (or at least option to capacity viewing). So the cause of the recent dip might be either lousy fans or worse depth perception.

The Officiating

The officiating is the biggest debating point at the moment. The NBA did not only make new regulations to restrict offensive players “grifting” on trapping arms and pump-fake lean-ins on drives, but generally, the officials have provided the defenders with a lot more freedom.

In comparison, teams are drawing fouls 4.29 percent of the time on non-post-up shoots around the basket, compared to 5.08 percent last season. The foul rate differential is worth more than a point to the offensive rate dip this season, according to an analytic expert in the game.

Additionally, the transition foul rate has gone down by 1%, which is significant beyond all possessions. It’s no news that most star basketball players are unsettled over this physicality. Players like Trae Young have voiced their criticism, leading to a moderate regress on how fouls are called.

A Usual October?

It’s worth taking note of the overall shooting numbers (effective field goal percentage) over the last five seasons, the last five Octobers, and then this current season. The table below represents the info.

Area Last Five Seasons Last Five Octobers This Season’s October
Above the Break 3 52.54 51.8 49.11
Corner 3 57.5 54.81 56.92
Restricted Area 58.82 57.68 60.2
Mid-range 38.01 36.73 36.61

In the table above, it’s evident that the above break shots are down; however, the corner three percentage and restricted area have gone up. The mid-range has been the lowest while the attempts are increasing.

Our Final Note

Without a doubt, basketball is one of the most popular sports that’s loved all over the world. However, times are changing, and most players are thriving to adjust to the offensive rule changes. It has slowed down some of the top league scorers. However, we think it’s high time for the NBA to rule in favour of the defenders for a change.