Is new NBA Wilson ball to blame for poor shooting? Paul George, CJ McCollum weigh-in on switch from Spalding – Sporting News - Techy Hunters

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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Is new NBA Wilson ball to blame for poor shooting? Paul George, CJ McCollum weigh-in on switch from Spalding – Sporting News

You may have missed it but after 37 years the NBA introduced a new ball this season.

Wilson has taken over as the official ball maker in the world’s best basketball league. To the naked eye not much has changed. I mean, the ball is still the same color, it’s still the same shape and size, but apparently, there are some differences — that’s of course according to those who have to use it.

We’re just a couple of weeks into the season and shooting percentages are down across the board. 

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Clippers star Paul George thinks the new ball may have something to do with that. 

“Not to make an excuse or anything, it’s just a different basketball,” George told reporters following a 99-94 Clippers victory over the Thunder. “It doesn’t have the same touch or softness as the Spalding ball had. 

“You’ll see this year, there’s going to be a lot of bad misses.”

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CJ McCollum, the president of the NBPA, has reportedly said the association will be discussing the new ball this week in an effort to get feedback. 

McCollum also took to Twitter to ensure he wasn’t putting any blame on the new ball for the poor shooting. 

So how bad how the shooting been this season? Let’s take a look.

Heading into Tuesday night’s games, the field goal percentage league average sits at 44.6. — one of the lowest marks in the last 10 years. The league average 3-point percentage is the lowest in 18 years sitting at 34.2 percent. 

League-Average Shooting Percentage in last 15 seasons
Season FG% 3P% FT% eFG% Off. Rating
2021-22 0.446 0.342 0.765 0.515 106.8
2020-21 0.466 0.367 0.778 0.538 112.3
2019-20 0.46 0.358 0.773 0.529 110.6
2018-19 0.461 0.355 0.766 0.524 110.4
2017-18 0.46 0.362 0.767 0.521 108.6
2016-17 0.457 0.358 0.772 0.514 108.8
2015-16 0.452 0.354 0.757 0.502 106.4
2014-15 0.449 0.35 0.75 0.496 105.6
2013-14 0.454 0.36 0.756 0.501 106.6
2012-13 0.453 0.359 0.753 0.496 105.8
2011-12 0.448 0.349 0.752 0.487 104.6
2010-11 0.459 0.358 0.763 0.498 107.3
2009-10 0.461 0.355 0.759 0.501 107.6
2008-09 0.459 0.367 0.771 0.5 108.3
2007-08 0.457 0.362 0.755 0.497 107.5

On any given night you can see wayward shots like this:

And this:

And it’s not just the shooting, turnovers are also alarmingly high with a league average of 15.1 per game. That’s the highest since the 2006-07 season — which is interesting because that’s the year the league tried to experiment with a new microfiber composite ball instead of the traditional leather ball that Spalding had been producing for eons.

“It’s changed a lot of what we are and who we are,” Hall of Famer Ray Allen said of the ball in 2006 according to Complex. “At the beginning of the year, I kept an open mind to it.

MORE: When will Steph Curry pass Ray Allen on all-time 3s list?

“Overall, you see the league, shots aren’t like they used to be. Every player I’ve talked to, to a man is in disagreement with the ball.”

The league eventually did away with the microfiber Spalding ball in December of 2006. The experiment ended up lasting only a couple of months and the player got their old leather rock back. 

This is different though, the Wilson ball isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The league announced a multi-year partnership with Wilson in June ahead of its 75th anniversary season. Wilson was the official ball manufacturer for the first 37 years of the NBA.

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The league and the team’s worked jointly with Wilson to develop the new game ball according to the NBA’s press release

Maybe there’s still work to be done and improvements can be made, or the players and fans are just going to have to get used to seeing a couple more airballs this season. 



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