Other Sports

Trendspotting in the NBA

Team-man: Coming off the bench, David West has done his bit this season for the Golden State Warriors. AFP  

Let’s talk about stretch

Three-point shooting has steadily become a bigger feature in offence, 2016-17 registering the most ever attempts taken overall. Last season also saw centers taking to the perimeter, introducing the stretch-5 – a behemoth who plays in the block on defence and shoots threes on offence. Expect this to continue and grow stronger

Slithery wings

Despite the stretch-5, the most effective three-point shooting was achieved by players who entered the paint, drew the defence in, and kicked to the open shooter (with his feet set). So expect slithery wings – point forwards such as Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons (76ers) – to take up more ball-handling duties.

Good things come in…

Small Ball – five wing and relatively short hoopsters playing at frenetic pace – revolutionised by the Warriors seems to be infecting other teams as well as a counter to the Warriors’ Death Lineup. Expect teams, especially in the upper echelons in the West, to employ Small Ball line-ups often in the regular season.

Snooze, don’t lose

Teams are increasingly employing ‘rest’ as a strategy, preserving star players for big battles. A trend associated with the San Antonio Spurs, it is being imitated by James’ Cavaliers among others. The early start to this season and fewer back-to-back games will allow the stars’ minutes to be better managed.

Last-tank saloon

Tanking – a strategy used by weak teams to field uncompetitive teams late in the season to position themselves with better odds to snag a high lottery pick in the Draft – will end next season with lottery reforms set to kick in. So expect the victims of the bloody Western battle for a playoff spot to make the most of the leeway this year.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 10:33:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/five-things-to-keep-an-eye-on-this-season-in-the-nba/article19856452.ece

Next Story