There are some interesting signs at the start of the season, especially in terms of ball losses.
With 30 “turnovers” against the Clippers, the Blazers have equaled a “record” in the field, for a total that had not been reached since 2004. Two days before, the Pelicans had lost 28 balls against Wolves. Such mismanagement (more than 28 stray balls per match) are however rare and there are only 46 since the year 2000.
And since 25 of these games took place before 2005, there were in fact only 19 games of the genre since 2006, which is generally one per season for 15 years. To see two in a few days is therefore quite astonishing …
A “fever” of bullet losses
Obviously, we must be wary of statistical aberrations at the start of the season, especially as the Blazers and Pelicans have new coaches, and are setting up new offensive systems. But overall, there is a “fever” in terms of ball losses at the start of the season, with a rate never seen in the 21st century!
One can imagine that the players will adapt but for Nick Nurse and Fred VanVleet, this “fever” is the symptom of the fact that the referees let much more play at the beginning of the season.
“I think he controlled the ball pretty well”, assured the coach of Toronto after the 8 ball losses of his player against Chicago. “He was especially pushed around everywhere. It was very, very physical. “
More difficult to score and get throws in penetration?
The players had thus been warned that the referees would no longer whistle when the attacker tries to trap his defender by changing his course or by trying to initiate contact, but the Raptors point guard assures that it is generally all the refereeing that has changed, especially on penetrations.
“They forgot to warn us about certain changes”, he cursed. “From a refereeing perspective, the league looks very different. It’s mostly in the racket and it’s hissed the same on both sides. And in all the games that I have played, all the teams are dissatisfied on an equal level. “
The impression of Fred VanVleet is also confirmed by the figures since at the start of the season, the success rate on penetrations has fallen sharply compared to the increase in recent seasons, and especially the rate of free throws. obtained on circle attacks has never been lower, since the NBA provides it.
The number of free throws attempted per game is also at a historically low rate (19.9 per team on average), having never previously fallen below 21.7 in 2017/18.
Has the NBA given general instructions to referees to allow defenses to play more “physical” in the regular season? Is this simply a corollary of the new rules on offensive “provocateurs”? Or more simply a simple aberration which will correct itself? Answer in the coming weeks …