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3-Point FG Attempts Per Era: From 3.5 (80s) To 35.8 (2020s) Attempts Per Game

3-Point FG Attempts Per Era: From 3.5 (80s) To 35.8 (2020s) Attempts Per Game

In 75 years, the NBA has evolved until becoming the giant global brand they are now. The association is arguably the hardest competition in the world of sports, featuring the best athletes around the globe.

When the 3-point line was introduced in the 1979/80 season, plenty of people were skeptical about it. In the beginning, players didn't pay much attention to it, barely using the 3-point play to get wins. 40 years later, things are very different. The NBA lives and dies by the triple, attempting more long-range shots every season. 

Recently, a great sharpshooter shared a graphic showing how much things have changed since the inception of the three-point line to this day. Dennis Scott labeled the current NBA as 'shooters paradise' given the big number of attempts we're seeing right now compared to the 80s. 

In the first season with the three-point line, players attempted only 2.8 of these shots. This number wen bigger season after season until we got to this point. In three weeks of competition, the league already surpassed last season's numbers, posting 35.8 3PTA per game, 1.2 more than in the 2020/21 campaign. 

If we take a look at how this number has increased over the decades, it's crazy to see how many 3-pointers we see during games. 

3PTA per decade (via StatMuse):

1980s: 3.5

1990s: 11.4

2000s: 15.7

2010s: 23.1

2020s: 34.5 

Big names like Dennis Scott, Larry Bird, Drazen Petrovic, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen and more left their mark on the game. But, it wasn't until Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson arrived that the 3-pointers really took over the league. 

The 2010s saw the NBA muted into a league that prioritizes the triple over almost any other shot. Now logo shots are becoming a common thing in the association, and even big men are expanding their game, trying to become an external threat for rivals. 

Curry and Thompson will always carry the flag of this revolution, but it was just a matter of time before we saw the NBA transitioning into this frenetic competition with a lot of long-range shots.