NBA Scoring Has Gotten Out of Hand

Rule changes need to be implemented to even the playing field between defense and offense.
Photo by Ryan on Unsplash

So far, the 2023-24 NBA season has delivered some prodigious player performances, including nine 50 + point games, and six 60 + point games from players like Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic. Elite offensive teams have also consistently been averaging over 120 points per game which is the first time in history that figure has been eclipsed.

We’ve also seen an exponential increase in team points per game every season over the past 20 years. This pattern indicates that defense is lagging behind, and the league hasn’t done anything to slow it down.

The Game is Clearly Favoring Offense, It’s Time for a Change

With these scoring records being broken, it’s clear that the game is heavily favoring offense and I believe that it has gotten to the point where rule changes need to be implemented to even the playing field between defense and offense.

Before we delve into possible solutions for this, we first need to take a look at the trends that have contributed to it.

What is the Cause for This Boom in Scoring?

While it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly has caused the scoring boom, there are a couple trends that have certainly contributed to it.

Foul Calls – According to league data via statmuse, the number of fouls calls per game has steadily decreased over the past thirty years. You might be asking yourself “Wouldn’t this suggest a favoring of defense?” Basketball is a very pace and momentum-based game, so when less fouls are called, offenses are allowed to operate at a more efficient and effective pace, thus leading to more scoring.

Talent Level – The NBA has never had as much talent as is present in the league today and this is something that increases every season. The NBA players of today are bigger, faster, and stronger than the NBA players of previous generations. All of these characteristics ultimately lead to scoring becoming easier.

How Can the NBA Level the Playing Field?

Probably the easiest and most effective way to help out NBA defenses is to call more offensive fouls. According to Basketball Reference, we’ve seen a steady decrease in the calls of carrying, travelling and charge violations. If the NBA were to start calling these violations more frequently, there would be a decrease in scoring due to the disruption of the offense.

We likely won’t see a drastic change in NBA scoring, but it’s clear that something has to be done to slow down these offensive powerhouses to set a precedent. If the NBA were to start calling more carrying violations on the Celtics or the Warriors, other officials would likely follow.



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    SageApr 2, 2024 at 3:21 pm