Harden wanted to play with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But before shoving in all their chips to make it happen, the Nets spent time studying the landscape. What they saw was a cresting wave of offense in the NBA -- and they wanted to be the surfer on top.
For the past five years, offensive output has been on the rise. But this season is wiping out the record books. To put it in perspective, last season the Dallas Mavericks had the greatest offensive season in modern record (since 1973-74) when they averaged 116.7 points per 100 possessions.
That now ranks eighth all time as seven teams have blazed their way past that mark this season, led by Brooklyn's 118.3.
The 2020-21 season has been the greatest 2-point-shooting season on record (53%), the greatest 3-point-shooting season on record (36.7%), even the greatest foul-shooting season on record (77.8%).
There are many reasons for it: The emphasis on shooting over the past decade, the adaptation of offensive systems that stretch defenses, the lack of practice and prep time, the limitation of home-court advantage and, of course, COVID-19 restrictions that have taxed teams in various ways.
With the playoffs starting, coaching staffs have been discussing whether offenses will pull back in the playoffs in the usual ways. The answer is a mystery.