Just 24 games into the 2021-22 NBA season, the league average for 3-point shooting has reached its lowest mark in 18 seasons.
Currently league-wide, players are collectively shooting 34.7 percent, the lowest mark since the 2003-04 season.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr joined 95.7 The Game's Damon & Ratto Tuesday evening, where he was asked why he believes the league has had such a historic regression in 3-point shooting.
“I think what’s happened this year is that the rule change has meant that shooters aren’t being protected as much," Kerr said. "So what’s happening is that you’re getting a lot more missed 3-pointers this year that would have been called fouls in the last few years. That would be my best guess as to why the percentage is down.”
The rule change that Kerr is referring to, is the NBA's effort to discourage players from making "overt, abrupt or abnormal non-basketball moves." Simply put, referees are cracking down on foul-hunting, which has been rampant in recent years.
Kerr's theory makes sense. Many sharpshooters around the league had seemingly mastered the art of baiting fouls at or near the perimeter. With fewer penalties being called, more of those missed shots aren't being wiped away.
Warriors' superstar Steph Curry was known to foul-bait from time to time, but not nearly as frequently as others around the league. This season, Curry has shot 41.6 percent from 3-point range, his lowest mark (excluding the 2019-2020 season where he played five games) since the 2016-2017 season in which he shot 41.1 percent.
Even with Curry regressing in 3-point shooting percentage, Golden State remains the third-best team in the league shooting 37.6 percent as a team, behind only the Atlanta Hawks' 38.6 percent and the Charlotte Hornets' 38.4 percent.