The impact of NBA Evolution: a 7-week numerical comparison

Adam Silver and the NBA owners, it seems, were trying to liven up this season’s product through legislative intervention – rule changes regarding freedom of movement and the re-set of the shot clock to 14 seconds following an offensive rebound. Through seven weeks and 354 games of the 2018-19 season, they spiced things up to the tune of about 10 points, five per team per game.

Here are the per-game “vital statistics” of the average NBA team through 49 playing dates for last season and for this season:

2017-18                    2018-19

39.0 – 85.2      FG      40.8 – 88.8
.458         FG%           .459
10.4 - 28.8      3FG      10.9 – 31.2
.363         3FG%           .351
.338         3PAr           .351
16.9 – 22.0      FT        17.9 – 23.5
.768         FT%           .764
9.6 – 43.4      OReb-TReb        10.4 – 44.9
.222         OR%           .231
15.2         TO’s           14.3
.138         TO%           .126
105.3        Points          110.4
98.2      Poss/Pace      100.6 


A squad takes about three-and-a-half more FG’s this year, two-and-a-half of them treys. Notice that the usage rate (3PAr) for three-point shots is the same as the connect rate – if that holds up for the rest of the season (and unless I’m quite mistaken), this would be the first time ever that 3PAr would equal or exceed 3FG%.

Here’s a good one – the one-and-a-half increase in Total Rebounds is split pretty evenly between O-boards and D-boards ... probably accounts for the boost in OR%.

Free-throw attempts have been up about one-and-a-half per team per game all season. (And, no, I don’t know what half a free throw looks like, maybe Markelle Fultz?)

In a couple of more possessions each game, teams are committing one fewer Turnover apiece.

Final Thought

When is a small sample size no longer a small sample size?