By pulling team statistics from Basketball Reference and graphing them by category, stats guy Ed Küpfer has offered us a pleasantly concise picture of the NBA’s evolution over the last 36 years:
Many of these—look at the shift away from two-point field goals, and towards the three-pointer, in pursuit of higher effective field goal percentage—click together logically. Some, like the steady decline of offensive rebounding over time, reflect a shift in defensive priorities. And my favorites simply confirm emotional impressions of past eras—look at the bleak 2P% and PTS/100 possessions in the fecal early 2000s! Dang, we used to watch some really shitty basketball.