The NBA has evolved with technology and players are becoming much more efficient.
There is an abundance of skilled players in the league that can shoot the ball better than ever, and thanks to analytics, NBA teams are attempting more 3-point shots than ever.
In 2022-23, NBA teams have shot an average of 34.3 3-point attempts per game, the third-highest rate in NBA history. The 2021-22 season ranked first in 3-point attempts (35.2) while the 2020-21 season came in at No. 2 on the list (34.6).
Increased frequency and accuracy from beyond the arc has also helped open up the floor on offense, allowing players easier access to get to the rim and the free throw line.
As a result, the NBA is watching teams put up some historic numbers in three major statistical categories.
This season, teams have posted the best offensive rating, free throw percentage, and effective field goal percentage in NBA history.
NBA Teams Posting Best Offensive Rating Ever
NBA teams have posted the best offensive rating in league history this season with 113.3 rating, a full point higher than the next-highest campaign (2020-21).
It’s no secret that analytics have improved efficiency over the past few seasons but teams seem to be progressing faster on offense than on the defensive end of the floor.
In fact, the top seven offensive ratings in NBA history all stem from the 2016-17 season or later.
In 2022-23, four NBA teams have an offensive rating of over 116.0.
Only five teams have an offensive rating under 110.0.
Two of those five teams are the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers, who have dealt with injuries to key players early in the year.
The Clippers have missed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for several games this season and Miami is a better offensive team than they have shown this year.
Both teams will improve over the course of the season, which will increase their offensive rating and the league’s average offensive rating.
This trend will continue for NBA teams to post impressive offensive ratings.
Current Free Throw Percentage Would Mark Highest in NBA History
Analytics hasn’t just incentivized teams to shoot more 3-pointers, but it has also helped develop better shooters, especially from the free throw line.
In 2022-23, NBA players have shot the highest free throw percentage in history at 78 percent.
Once a tier reserved for only the league’s best marksmen, 15 players are currently shooting 90 percent or better from the free throw line. 40 NBA players are shooting 85 percent or better from charity stripe.
This is another trend that has seen an uptick in recent years.
The 2020-21 NBA season was the second-highest and the 2021-22 season was the third-highest free throw percentage in NBA history.
Despite free throw percentage being at an all-time high, free throw attempts per game have been trending down in recent campaigns.
In the 2022-23 season, NBA teams are averaging just 23.5 free throw attempts per game, the 11th lowest mark in league history. The 2020-21 season is the second-fewest free throw attempts per game and the 2021-22 season is the third-fewest free throw attempts per game in history.
The number of free throw attempts seems to be inversely correlated to the number of 3-point shots taken by NBA teams.
While efficiency at the line is at an all-time high, teams are shooting more threes, which has decreased the number of free throw attempts per game.
This season ranks third in NBA history in three-point attempts per game. First is the 2021-22 season and second is the 2020-21 season.
Effective Field Goal Percentage Has Best Mark Ever
Another offensive stat set to break records this season is effective field goal percentage.
The metric provides a more complete picture of how successful a team is from the field by accounting for the difference between 2-point and 3-point shots.
In 2022-23, teams are posting the best effective field goal percentage in NBA history at 54 percent.
This is another trend that is on the rise in recent years. In fact, the top three marks have all been posted in the last three years.
The 2020-21 season saw the second-best effective field goal percentage and the 2021-22 season saw the third best.
This year, 10 teams have a 55.0 effective field goal percentage or higher.
The trend doesn’t appear to be stopping any time either.
Thanks to the recent uptick in 3-point attempts and improved efficiency from the charity stripe, the league average effective field goal percentage has risen in six of the past seven seasons.
Until opposing defenses can find a way to defend the 3-ball at a high level, look for the league’s effective field goal percentage to continue to rise in future seasons.
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