Study Shows How NBA's Style of Play Has Changed Since 1980

via Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse
Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2014

The addition of the three-pointer changed the way the NBA was played and, thanks to a recent study, we finally know just how big of an impact it has had on the league.

The NBA came into existence back in 1946. It took until the 1979-80 season for the NBA to adopt the three-point shot.

Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse put together an array of infographics to show how the game has evolved since 1980.

During the early years of its existence, the three-pointer did not have much of an impact on games but has since played a huge role:

via Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse

When the NBA moved the three-point line closer to the basket for the 1994-95 season, teams began to shoot much better from downtown. However, the percentage predictably dropped when the line was moved back:

via Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse

Not surprisingly, teams have shot fewer and fewer two-pointers over the years:

via Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse

Teams had trouble making two-pointers when the three-point line was moved up. It took up until the last few years for the league's two-point percentage to get back up where it used to be:

via Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse

Let's take a look at the teams that have done well in the two-point department:

via Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse

No surprises here. The Los Angeles Lakers, who have had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Nealand the San Antonio Spurs, who have had Tim Duncan and David Robinson, have thrived on two-pointers.

It is surprising that scoring in the league has gone down since 1980. According to Powell-Morse, the current average of 100.46 points per game is nearly nine points lower than what teams scored before the inception of the three-point line.

How have teams handled free throws since the three-pointer was implemented?

via Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse

Nobody jumps out on that graphic. However, the Orlando Magic were certainly hurt by their struggles at the free-throw line in 2012. They missed 513 of their 1,508 attempts from the charity stripe that year, which made them the worst shooting team since 1980.

Thanks again to Best Tickets' Andrew Powell-Morse for all the infographics.

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