The Dallas Mavericks set the NBA record for offensive efficiency in 2019-20. By surrounding wunderkind lead ball handler Luka Doncic with 3-point shooting, they averaged 115.9 points per 100 possessions, a mark no one had come close to hitting before.
It turned out to be a short-lived record. This season, seven NBA teams eclipsed it.
Because of a combination of more and better outside shooting, physicality getting legislated out of the game, and the lack of pressure players felt in empty stadiums, offense in 2020-21 boomed like never before.
In hindsight, it was no wonder a team that bet on ruggedness and winning the rebounding battle struggled to keep up at a time when the game was becoming more and more perimeter oriented. The New Orleans Pelicans tried to be a throwback, and they failed. This offseason, their No. 1 priority should be adding skill.
After finishing seventh in 3-point attempts and seventh in 3-point percentage in 2019-20, the Pelicans fell to 25th and 26th in those categories this season. Their lack of outside shooting made life difficult for Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. As the season wore on, both seemed to face walls of defenders any time they tried to face up to make a move.
At his exit interview in May, executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin seemed to acknowledge this, citing three areas where his team needed to improve the most: basketball IQ, toughness and…