Games change over the years all the time, regardless of the sport, there are often subtle changes that occur.
Most of the time, I would think, even for traditionalists of a specific sport that is going through a change, there are some changes that are often accepted. But then there are other things about a game that change over time, that definitely just don’t sit right. Sometimes there are changes that just start to make the sport very different. To the point that a sport actually has effectively changed.
We know in the NFL, physicality has been greatly adjusted. We know, quarterbacks barely need to be touched at times for a flag to be thrown, and CBs are at a great disadvantage on defense now. Although we understand the reasoning behind some of the changes. I think there needs to be a happy medium because it’s gotten a bit overboard.
Those were changes that were specifically made by the league.
We are going to discuss changes that have just “evolved” in the NBA game.
One of the biggest changes that has occurred in today’s NBA is bigs playing in the post. It’s very rare to see a big fella with his back to the basket and his hand up jockeying for position in the box. Players had a position over history, and they all had a duty that was assigned to that position that they played. The PG handled the ball, they were usually the best ball-handlers and kept the team’s flow and rhythm. Your SG’s were scorers. The frontcourt hit the glass and your bigs played inside out. Today’s game, not so much. There are pros and cons to that – it shows the great ability and skills this generation of talent has – but it has also lowered the position value. Where would Shaq play today? Would he still get the ball in the post with all of the 3-pt shooting today?
Hand-checking was great. It brought some physicality and the ability to feel out your defender. And it gave the defender a feel and flow playing defense, it made scorers have to play a little harder on offense. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the defense just throwing elbows and jacking people, but physical play was always part of basketball. Basketball is a physical sport. When you box out, you throw your rear end into the guy, you bodied guys up. Boxing out itself was a very physical part of the game, and there’s not nearly as much of that in today’s game.
There was a lot more pure competitiveness back in the day. The top teams battled, and it was warfare. It wasn’t all hugs and kisses with everybody friending each other on social media. They seemed to play with much more pride and loyalty to the team they played for. Teams really wanted to beat each other. When the Lakers and the Celtics played, they had respect for each other, when the Pistons and the Bulls played, they had respect for each other, but make no mistake about it, those organizations weren’t buddies. They weren’t pals, they wanted to destroy each other. The teams usually didn’t even like each other.
The best players truly wanted to compete against each other, they wanted to beat the other best players. Not join up with them to make a championship caliber team instantly. Players today, as we all know, now seem to be much more interested in the path of least resistance. It’s not necessarily about being the man to lead your team, it’s about who you can get together to win. I think for most people that’s the biggest and most disappointing change that we’ve seen in the NBA these last several years. The lack of leadership and heart that these players seem to have.
When a player was drafted by a team, his job was to make the team better, that player took it as a compliment that he was chosen to make the team better, and yes, that includes going to a crummy team without a lot of good players.
They drafted him to help them, not stick around for 3 years, complain about the team, and then fight to go somewhere else with other stars. They drafted you to help get the team championships. It was much more about the team, not as much about the individual player.
And of course, the flopping. I’m not quite sure when it became okay for players to give up and fold like a lawn chair anytime they get bumped, instead of wanting to stand their ground, and be a man. I get it, players have always exaggerated fouls a little bit to get to the line. But let’s be honest, again, these guys are not just exaggerating, they’re putting in work for an Academy Award.
Change is okay in increments. But when it starts to completely upend and change the way the game is even played it can be a little disconcerting. Realistically, for those who enjoy the game, we’re going to still watch it. We might complain a little bit more and we might want to see a different style of play a little more often. But, we’re still going to watch it, because it’s still a sport we enjoy and it’s still entertaining just the same. I’m just really hoping that someday we get a good throwback player who plays the game a little “differently” again.