The Effect of Depth Perception on the NBA Bubble
The NBA is back! Over the last two weeks, 22 of the top NBA Teams have been competing in the Orlando bubble.
There have been some thrilling games and some great performances from many surprising players.
T.J Warren had a career-high 53 points and is playing like an MVP candidate. Deandre Ayton drained the first three-pointer of his NBA Career. The Los Angeles Clippers hit a franchise record 25 three-pointers in a single game. But the most strange of all? Ben Simmons was knocking down shots from deep before his season-ending knee injury.
This isn’t just a few players getting lucky or riding a hot streak. It’s a trend going through the entire league. Corner threes have become especially more effective.
Before the bubble, NBA players were shooting 38.9 per cent from the corner. In the bubble, that mark has increased to 42.8 percent.
Free throw percentages have also increased inside the bubble, rising from 77.1 percent to 80.6 percent.
Why is this? Let’s take a deeper look.
Depth perception is a phrase that has been tossed around a lot recently.
The easy way to explain the effect of depth perception on increased shooting is light. Due to the lack of fans in the bubble, all of the light is focused on the court, leaving the stands in the dark.
This makes the net easier for the players to see, which helps with how they measure up their shot.
Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic and Bubble MVP candidate Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns are just a couple of the players who have said this makes a difference.
Although fans do make up a very important part of the game, especially during a playoff series, they do affect the performance of the players.
One reason why the NBA has seen a rise in free throw percentage is because of the lack of distractions from the crowd.
The lack of fans in the building makes a quieter environment which also helps players focus on their shot better.
Fans of the home teams will try their best to get into the opposing team’s heads while taking a free throw. Whether it’s waving their arms or yelling at the top of their lungs, it has proven to affect the focus of the player attempting the free throw. Without that, free throw percentages are seeing an uptick.
Three Point Line
From the corner, a three point attempt is actually around 2 feet shorter to the basket than anywhere else beyond the arc. This is normal however, so why the increase in corner three percentages in the bubble?
The answer is simple – more space. The distances from the three point line to the sideline and baseline are the same as any NBA court, however, there are no fans just a few feet behind the players or benches filled with opposing players trying to make the player miss his shot.
The extra space can help players feel more relaxed when they shoot which has helped their performance.
In the grand scheme of things, the increased shooting averages come from a small sample size and there could be some statistical randomness. Fans aren’t complaining though. So far, this has made NBA games being played in the bubble very entertaining.
Let’s see if this is a trend and the bubble does turn everyone into Steph Curry or if it’s all just a random, temporary hot streak.
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