New Wilson Basketballs Cause For Poor Shooting, Says Joel Embiid
For the first time since 1982, the NBA is not playing with the Spalding basketballs, this has caused controversy among players as they have been using with Spalding balls for most of their professional careers.
Everyone is having to adjust to the new Wilson balls on the fly, and it might not be going so well. Shooting is down across the board. Entering play on Thursday, the league is shooting a collective .343 percent from 3. That would rank as the lowest mark this century, and the league’s 44.8 overall shooting percentage would be the lowest mark since 2004.
Anthony Davis is shooting 15 percent from 3, Damian Lillard is shooting 23 percent, Bradley Beal is at 24 percent, Luka Doncic sits at 25 percent, Jayson Tatum 26 percent, Devin Booker 27 percent and Trae Young 28 percent.
The league worked closely with Wilson to get the new ball as close to a replica of the old one as possible, but it can’t be the same, and players are noticing.
“Not to make an excuse or anything about the ball but I said that it’s just a different basketball,” Los Angeles Clippers‘ Paul George said. “It don’t have the same touch and softness that the Spalding ball had. You’ll see this year. It’s going to be a lot of bad misses. You’ll see a lot of bad misses. I think you’ve seen a lot of airballs so far this season. Again, not to put any excuse or blame on the basketball. But it is different. There’s no secret. It’s a different basketball.”
Joel Embiid’s case is different, as he was shooting just 41 percent from the field entering the Sixers’ game against the Detroit Lions on Thursday with the lowest points per shot attempt of his career. Last season, Embiid shot 47 percent from the midrange, including 48 percent from the long midrange, which was a better conversion rate than Stephen Curry. This season, Embiid has fallen to 35 percent from the long midrange and 39 percent from midrange overall. He’s not outright blaming the ball.
Joel Embiid on cold shooting: “I'm always looking for excuses but the ball is different. Still don't feel comfortable with it… Last year, I was the best midrange shooter in the league. So some point it's gonna come back.”
Curry enters. “Obviously he's not struggling with it.” pic.twitter.com/bKe7Co4btJ
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) November 4, 2021
There is still some adjusting to be done and until the new balls are broken in around the league, there’s no question it’s an adjustment that some players are making easier than others.
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