A nice piece by DeanO on 82games.com http://www.82games.com/comm54.htm
I was especially intrigued by this remark "Part of this is definitely
expansion. In years where the NBA has added two expansion teams,
individuality has gone up league-wide (it didn't go up with the single
addition of Dallas in 1980-81). It would make sense for offenses to
cluster a bit more around top individuals if their support is suddenly
downgraded, even if it is a small downgrade.". It seems to suggest
that the dilution of the talent pool through expansion may be a bigger
factor than we usually think.
I was also interested in this "Slowing the game, which has been a
steady trend for more than 25 years, may also have something to do
with individuality, though cause and effect are not clear." A way to
check this relationship would be to see if slower teams played more
individual basketball than their peers.